The Definitive Indian Peaks Flyweight Ski Touring Exposé

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Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Topic Author's Original Post - Dec 12, 2009 - 12:33am PT
Of course I meant to say: “Lightweight Ski Touring Sexposé ”....

But darnit’ all, you can’t never go back with an edit button on those titles…
So it is what it is…… deal with it kiddos!
I promise to make it up to you on the backside, er, follow through.



Standin' tall in EKat's hat!



So here’s the plan:

Today I went up to Left Hand Reservoir, in the Indian Peaks above Boulder Colorado, to take the opening shots for this beefy, wordy, info packed, super stylin’, color book style, slow-build-juggernaut thread. You know the drill: maps, drawings, pictures, detailed specs… lies, deceit, intrigue, thrills and chills!

As time permits, I’ll ladle in all the tours I did in the 2008/2009 season.
Probably feather in stuff as I do it this year as well. Why not.

All total this will be a pretty thorough look at what there is in the Indian Peaks for fitness style, non-avalanche terrain, light weight ski touring. 12 tours are already “in the can” from '08/'09, as far as pictures go, with some essential write up to be done in the weeks to come.

I’ll be sure to cover the what, where, when, why, who, and how of the whole shebang.
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 12, 2009 - 12:33am PT
What you’ll get tonight: the opener, from what I shot today, starting with, after this first picture, the views from left-hand reservoir, followed up with snapshots of some folks I ran into on today’s tour.

First view of the peaks upon leaving the house, including things like Deshawa Pk Arikaree Pk, Mt. Albion and Mt. Kiowa.
They sit proudly up above the infamous Caribou Ranch, home of the recording studio were many famous 1970s rock groups laid their particular style of tracks:



The fabulous overlook from left-hand reservoir,
Taking in Kiowa on the left and Mt. Audubon on the right, and everything in between, which includes, left to right, the Isabelle Glacier Cirque and the Blue Lake Cirque:

(It happens that I have, during the summer and fall, traversed the entire skyline, which is exactly the Continental Divide south of Rocky Mount National Park. Various threads exist here on the forum which chronicle these exploits quite well)



A bit tighter on the same shot, Navajo peeping up on the far left and Audubon hulking in from the right:



Isabelle Glacier Cirque, comprising left to right,
Navajo Pk, Apache Pk, and Shoshone Pk, the last of which features an awesome rock prow first climbed by Jeff Lowe:



The Blue Lake Cirque, comprising left to right,
Pawnee Pk, Mt Toll, Paiute Pk, and Mt Audubon:

(That darkly shadowed ridge on Pawnee was climbed solo by Jeff Lowe, and the nice right hand arête on Mount Toll goes at 5.6)



And a map to go with the above photos,
Today’s short two-hour tour in blue, start point shown with a green dot.
My vantage point for the photographs taken from the red/blue dot standing upon Lefthand Reservoir’s berm, and the peaks visible in the photographs noted in green/red dots:




Remarkably,
From the same vantage point today I was able to see all the way into Mount Alice, Chiefshead, Pagoda, Longs, and Meeker:

Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 12, 2009 - 12:34am PT
A tasty little treat on the eastern flank of Mount Audubon,
Viewed quite easily from the Brainard Lake drainage early this morning.
I don’t drop into these things and I don’t know if it’s been descended:




In the trail loop depicted by the blue line on the map in the post above,
The bottom end of the loop approximates Little Raven Trail,
While the top end of the loop, the return, starts at the CMC cabin and approximates the Waldrop Trail.


Here’s the sign at the CMC cabin:



And the proximal view into blue lake cirque:



But wait…..
That’s not all folks!
Today had the pleasure of running into Gary Neptune and his lovely companion Bibi,
Standing proud in front of Mount Toll:



And they were shod with the definitive skinny ski, a time-honored norm for this type of moving about:



Gary loves vintage gear, so check the pack:



“I love the retro sweater you laid on me Gary!”
“But shouldn’t this pole with the hula hoop basket be hanging above some cozy fireplace somewhere?”



Back at the car after a cold windy morning:

John Moosie

climber
Beautiful California
Dec 12, 2009 - 12:46am PT
Nice Tarbuster. I'm looking forward to the rest. Beautiful country that.
Lynne Leichtfuss

Sport climber
Will know soon
Dec 12, 2009 - 12:48am PT
Awesome Tarbuster !!!&&&777

As always your threads Rock and Snow :D Super Duper pics and your verbage is always par excellente. Skinny skiing is on my bucket list and you and your friends make it look like a blast. Joy and Peace to your and your lovely bride this Holiday Season. Lynne
Jello

Social climber
No Ut
Dec 12, 2009 - 02:13am PT
Tar-burrrr-baby, the reluctant but un-recalcitrant however quite unlikely winter meister tour guide extraordinaire. Keep yourself bundled to the max against that old shyster Reynaud's, and bring 'er on. I'm waitin' - full-on anticipatin' - a winter's worth and more of wonders on the Tarbuster's On-Goin' Travelin' Alpine Ramblin' Show.

-Jello'sJellin'ButMightSoonStartYellin'IfTheShowAin'tCommin'
perswig

climber
Dec 12, 2009 - 06:55am PT
Green with envy at your white.
Waiting...

Dale
goatboy smellz

climber
लघिमा
Dec 12, 2009 - 07:07am PT
ha, I have a similar shot of that couloir on Mount Audubon from a few weeks ago.


Did you ask Gary if the rumors "he skis in a thong" are true?




Rick A

climber
Boulder, Colorado
Dec 12, 2009 - 10:29am PT
Thanks Roy, very inspiring, since during our recent cold snap I managed only a couple neighborhood walks wearing every piece of wool and polyester I own. Hoo man, it's been cold.

I am sitting with a cup of of coffee, but am chilled none the less. To see you bundled up like that, when I know you move very fast in the backcountry, means that your excursion had to be dauntingly cold. Call me when it warms up and let's get out soon.

Looking forward to the complete edition of this year's winter travels.

Rick
Chiloe

Trad climber
Lee, NH
Dec 12, 2009 - 04:16pm PT
All total this will be a pretty thorough look at what there is in the Indian Peaks for
fitness style, non-avalanche terrain, light weight ski touring.


Excellent, I love Rockies TRs. The pictures take me back.

A friend used to California conditions dropped by on us one winter, while Leslie and I
lived in Eldo. We took him skiing in the Indian Peaks several times. He phoned home
to his wife, in amazement: "We only ski powder. It snows every night!"
Watusi

Social climber
Newport, OR
Dec 12, 2009 - 04:39pm PT
Coolness Roy!!
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 12, 2009 - 04:48pm PT
As promised, what follows is a salvo of posts delineating the What, Where, When, Why, Who, and How.
 I strongly advise donning your beer goggles for this next cluster of posts!
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 12, 2009 - 04:48pm PT
What:

 Old-school, skinny ski, mileage/fitness oriented winter travel.
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 12, 2009 - 04:50pm PT
Where:

Indian Peaks Wilderness Area, Colorado Rockies, just east of the Continental Divide,
Handily positioned due west of my house (30 minutes from Boulder), typically a one half hour drive plus a minimum of a two-hour trot or a four-hour hike to reach the Divide in summer.

 Tours most often take place in the trees on marked trails (out of the wind),
Culminating in some trail breaking to reach a high cirque.


The left-hand red dot is the Continental Divide (12,000 plus feet)
The middle red dot is Eldora ski area
The right hand red dot is my house, 9 miles from the Continental divide

Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 12, 2009 - 04:51pm PT
When:

 The ski touring season here on the front Range typically kicks off with an anomalous upslope branch-breaking early-season storm, runs from a thin, spotty, rock-ski-style start in mid-November, through a fat February snowpack, and declines in a waterlogged, mid April slog, traditionally (in more recent years) ushered out with a Stonemaster’s Reunion in Joshua tree.
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 12, 2009 - 04:52pm PT
Why (part one):

 There comes a time in the year when the bicycle just won’t cut it:



 Plus, every morning during the winter I get up and read the avalanche report:



Here’s the important part with the avy report: pay particular attention to Tuesday’s avalanche rose,
Denoting certain death on any slope between 25° to 50°, sometimes known to occur as low in angle is 17°:



Then when I go touring, I don’t touch that steep/turny sh#t, because I’m typically:
 alone
 scared

And because I am routinely unburdened with things like:
 pieps, shovels, probes, fat skis, full skins, companions …..


And I when I do pull turns, it takes place in a controlled environment, almost always looking something very much like this:

Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 12, 2009 - 04:53pm PT
Why (part two):

Mostly I like to go ski touring to offset a collection of lifestyle preferences & choices,
Easily exemplified by the following:

 Eating Habits



 Activities



 Hobbies (primarily internet window shopping)




These engagements lead smartly and convincingly to the before & after discussion.

Added to the above depicted lifestyle choices, is the fact that, spring through fall, in lieu of fly weight ski touring, I engage in a movement style, a sort of rockclimbing thing, commonly known as 5.8 plus slab-aineering.


You don’t burn many calories doing *all or any of that*, so by the time the snow falls,
Tarbuster usually winds up looking like this (picture only a best approximation):


Before Ski Touring Season




But !!!!
After a full winter flyweight ski touring season I am buff and honed.
Looking much (picture of best approximation) more like this, ready to start the cycle all over again for the spring rockclimbing season:


After Ski Touring Season




‘Nuff said…………………
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 12, 2009 - 04:54pm PT
Who:

Usually moi, solomente as Kauk says, cuz I’m an irascible old bastard, who goes it alone for these reasons, in order of primacy:

1 I like it
2 don’t want to stop
3 if I do stop I get cold
4 when I stop my goggles fog up
5 when I talk to people my throat hurts
6 I implement better route finding decisions when alone, on account of unhindered mountain sense

However I have been known to enjoy company, after all I am a people person.
Examples:

 Goatboy, when/if I think I can keep up with him.
 Stich, when he is not changing diapers or not chasing/shagging Colorado Spring’s finest.
 Seth Bayer, a former US downhill ski team member, a.k.a. “the Master”, who runs up Green Mountain once a week.
(very steep, nearly 3000 feet vertical)
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 12, 2009 - 04:55pm PT
How:

This is the interesting/nuisance part:

My core temperature, upon waking, taken with a digital thermometer underarm is somewhere in the 97° range. We live at 8200 feet and for financial reasons, and because Lisa likes it that way, the house thermostat is maintained at a toasty 50°. Most importantly, my nose, hands, crotch, and feet begin to take a dive in the mid to low 40s.

But I really like it in the mountains in the winter!
I much enjoy the way skis feel moving over and through (not so much under) the snow.

So this is how I cope.
I use tools, the primary type involving travel itself:

 An 80s vintage AWD BMW 325IX, shod with Blizzak sticky compound winter tires
 190cm wood core metal edge skis, moderately flared tips & tails
 Kicker skins


 You’ll notice there are no poles.
 We don’t need no stinking poles. Besides, they just blow out my arms when I use them.
 I might take them if I have miles of untracked snow ahead that will be very deep,
 I might take polls if there is some climbing anticipated.
 However, the need for poles on the steep is rare because if there is I’m in the wrong place.

But the most crucial assets in the tool chest are the specifically selected, hard tested, absolutely required items of clothing.
As Kurt Albert once said: zee only reason to be cold in the mountains is in-adequate klothes…………


Always of course fuel up first with a breakfast including complex carbohydrates and protein, fluids and minimal coffee.

Typical temperature range from trailhead to high cirque throughout the winter is anywhere from 32° down to about 0°.
From head to toe here’s what I wear, nearly regardless of the conditions, with the following caveats:

 I might strip one of the two balaclava out.
 I rarely wear either of the vests once I get moving, unless it is in the single digits temperature wise.
 If it’s in the low teens I’ll start with two pairs of heat packs per boot.
 If the tour exceeds five hours I nearly always have to add heat packs to my feet.

Head

Even around town, (as noted above), in 40° weather I cover my face.

  so here I have to do that in spades and I sourced the tactical goggles to minimize loss to peripheral vision
 I had to drill out venting holes in the tops of them
 goggles are a must to keep the nose coverage pinned down so I don’t fog up
 goggles are crucial for keeping the skin around the eyes from developing frost injury
 cat crap anti-fog balm
 lightweight balaclava for spring and to double up in supercold
 heavyweight balaclava with nose and breather holes
 heavyweight neoprene nose and face cover with nose and breather holes
 ear warmer
 beanie
 E Kats Park Service issue felt cowboy hat with a tight chin strap!



Torso

With a vigorous movement regime, a light shirt and thin windbreaker is all I can stand
(usually start out with a thin pile vest and strip down):



Alternate vest for low teens and single-digit temperatures:



Hands

 Silk glove liners
 Fiber fill/pile mitts
 Gore-Tex over-mitts, mandatory in all weather:



Legs

The heart of the matter ‘n the crown jewel of the system!
 The Hand a very dorky branding concept for the essential ranch ready cowboy cod piece: pile lined.

Followed up with:
 Wind panel briefs
 Bicycle short liners
 Bike shorts
 Capilene-type underwear
 Wind Stopper softshell pants
(I never ever require a true wind shell leg covering for ski touring: only on higher ridges in late fall mountaineering traverses)



Sox

I don’t even think about going outside in the winter without heat packs for my feet:



Boots/Knees

 Knee joints are problematic so I use the Cho Pat braces.
 Overboots with extra foam inserted into the toe box and glued permanently to the rand.
 Overboots are mandatory for warmth and deep snow tracking (even in plastic double boots I wear them).
 Hybrid old-school leather boots for lightness, flex, with a buckle at the low ankle.



Pack

Never ever do I carry a pack in the winter for lightweight ski touring applications.
Chronic levator scapula tendinitis preclude swinging my shoulders and arms under pack straps.
Plus I don’t need the room.

 Hydration plan includes two 28 ounce bottles filled with hot almond milk (good fat source)
 Bottles are insulated with a neoprene sock
 4 extra heat packs, toilet paper, and a lighter constitute back up and bivi plan
 Cashews for protein/fat, figs for ready energy, and non-baked, low dietary acid bars
 Small contingency headlamp
 Lip balm & athletic tape constitute the first aid kit
 Camera
 Tripod
 Globstopper
 scraper
 goggle squeegy



Light

 The larger headlamp accommodates tours that start at dusk or extra long days where night skiing is planned.

Chiloe

Trad climber
Lee, NH
Dec 12, 2009 - 07:43pm PT
You've truly figured things out.

You’ll notice there are no poles.

Now me, I'm so pole-dependent that this time of year I take them when walking the dogs.
Three pair outside our front door right now!
Double D

climber
Dec 12, 2009 - 08:41pm PT
It's all in the details Tar Baby! Nice post, fun times.

Stay warm.

Robb

Social climber
The Greeley Triangle
Dec 12, 2009 - 09:14pm PT
Outstanding work as usual Roy, but please don't ever tell me to "talk to the hand"! Have you ever thought of doing "how to" manuals? On a more noobious note, are yoos guys using wax or waxless in these parts?
Robb
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 13, 2009 - 01:44am PT
Robb said:

are yoos guys using wax or waxless in these parts?

As if.
I mean like to so totally awaken the flamboyant OCD gearhead in me.
Again.

I'll bite.

Gary Neptune was most definitely using wax in his kick zone in those pictures upthread.

I prefer short skins in the kick zone and swear by them!

I also take good care of my tips and tails with hard glide wax.
(Waxing is the next installment before I get on to the tours themselves, because it needs to be done and I have a camera).

With kicker skins, loss in glide is more than accommodated by the huge reduction in sidestepping or herringbone up moderate rises.

And all these tours bristle with moderate rises.
Lots of folks nowadays go with waxless fish scale.

A waxless base is less fussy than kick-wax but nowhere near as traction yielding as short skins.
Chiloe

Trad climber
Lee, NH
Dec 13, 2009 - 09:22am PT
Another quote from that California visitor I mentioned upthread:
"You only need blue or green wax here!"
Mark Hudon

Trad climber
Hood River, OR
Dec 13, 2009 - 01:51pm PT
Just about the funniest thing I've ever seen is someone cross country skiing with a cowboy hat on!
SteveW

Trad climber
The state of confusion
Dec 13, 2009 - 06:21pm PT
Bump for the 'Buster!!!!
Klimmer

Mountain climber
San Diego
Dec 13, 2009 - 06:38pm PT
Tarbuster,

If you look like that 2nd Cowgirl posted after the Flyweight Ski Touring season, you must be getting a lot of marriage proposals, is all I'm saying.

Flyweight, free-heeling, or massive heavy clunky AT for the real downhills, its all good!


Edit:

At the resorts now, I just use my AT gear, no need to have multiple sets of everything anymore. ;-))
Mighty Hiker

climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Dec 13, 2009 - 08:47pm PT
So Roy, you let me know if you see any ladybugs, eh? Looks like the sort of place that they might like to overwinter.
Pate88

Trad climber
Dec 13, 2009 - 08:56pm PT
Tarbuster, you seem to have left out a crucial piece of ski bum gear. You have the lighter but not the rest of the kit.

Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 14, 2009 - 12:10am PT
You noticed Pate88.
Sadly lacking, I know: had to give up the safety meetings,
Hands got too cold tokin' up in the frosty weather.
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 14, 2009 - 02:09am PT
The How of Indian Peaks flyweight ski touring: part two, ski maintenance.
(very long post, be warned now)

Check the thermometer: just about freezing.
Balmy!



Check the conditions outside.
Yes sir, snow fall on objects adjacent to the house is always a good sign:



Time to head out to the shed for some ski base prep and waxing.
But first, this is going to be a work out, so I’ll need to prepare with fuel.

Stocks of Little Debbie snack cakes and Tater Tots have all dried up.
Going to have to settle for cheese nachos with homemade cranberry sauce!
Yummy.



Time to boot up, and get to work:



“Wax Cabin” ahoy!



Temperature control:



Gotta have tunes: tonight on cassette it will be Smashing Pumpkins: Gish
“all that you suffer is all that you are…”



Approach the bench:



Variable temperature ski waxing iron and a variety of hard glide waxes:

 Base prep wax
 green wax for 14° and below
 blue wax for 12° up to about 24°
 purple wax for 22° up to about 28°



Base cleaning solvent, brushes, and scrapers:



My skis have a black sintered base,
With “structure”, which means micro-slots in the surface to take wax.
Much like skating or classic racing skis.

I just leave the skins on the skis this time around, (they never come off in the field)
It would be best to rip the skins and put hard wax from tip to tail and reapply the skins afterward,
But my bases are hammered (scratched and gouged) and are in need of a professional stone grinding,
And because I see no white oxidation under the skins, I’ll save myself the work.
It’s going to hurt enough as it is…..


So,
This is the routine preseason preparation:

Step one,
Wipe the tips and tails down with a special solvent, to remove dirt and grime:



Step two,
Clean up the edges with a file:
(I promise that file is graded much finer on the other side)




Step three,
Try some metal scraping in a feeble attempt to knock down the lips riding proud on my scored bases:



Step four,
Working from tip to tail, open the structure with the stiff brass brush:




Step five,
Turn on the iron, dial it into a low temperature for the soft prep wax,
And let it warm up, while I go shake out and snack on some nachos:




Step six,
Iron in the prep wax,
Being very careful to keep the iron moving, so as not to damage the base:







Step seven,
Remove this initial layer of wax immediately while it’s very warm to pullout dirt and grit and old contaminated wax,
The procedure involves, always working directionally from tip to tail:

 scraping the groove first, so that if the scraper skates out of the slot, the bases are protected by wax
 scraping the edges
 scraping the flat surface of the bases with the plexi-scraper, working from tip to tail
 brushing with the softer brass wax removal brush








Step eight,
Apply a second coat of base wax,
But this time, set the ski aside, allowing the wax to penetrate more deeply into the base,
While ironing the second coat of base wax into the second ski:



Step nine,
Groove scrape, edge scrape, base scrape, and brush the second application of somewhat cooled base prep wax.


Step ten,
Repeat the process of ironing, scraping, and brushing with green hard wax,
I work one ski at a time, hard wax likes to be scraped warm:



Steps eleven & twelve,
Repeat the process again, of ironing, scraping, and brushing,
With two more layers of green wax; working the same ski with all three layers allows heat to be built up that continually pulls wax deep into the structure.
(For racing skis, they get put into a hot box overnight, at a temperature controlled not to damage the bases, so that they absorb wax very nicely).


Step thirteen,
Repeat the process again, of ironing, scraping, and brushing,
With one layer of blue wax:



Step fourteen,
Finish with the horsehair brush:




But wait!
Not quite done yet: after the skis have been set out in the cold,
Some wax will be purged from the structure and they will need to be brushed again.

For racing skis, used in a recreational setting, there is some approximate number of kilometers in which the initial wax layers will need to be amended with another layer or two, depending upon variables with the snow. Darn near every time you go out really; especially if temperature changes, because with those skis the correct wax/temperature alignment is really key, if not the skis can feel like Velcro on the snow, more often than not if the wax is too warm for the conditions.

For general touring, I throw on another layer of wax every two or three tours, depending on how long the tours are and how "on it" I'm feeling. As most of my tours are quite high, I can get away with green hard wax for most of the winter. I put blue on tonight because it's going to be "warm" in the coming week.

Sticky kick wax is a whole different story.
I don't use that on these touring skis because I have the skins.
But I do use it on my classic racing skis.


Step fifteen,
For me, some sort of remediation and lots of rest from the insult; I would NOT want to do that waxing routine every day.
Mebbe some TLC from this dandy little auto massager!

Chiloe

Trad climber
Lee, NH
Dec 14, 2009 - 09:28am PT
Holy technical, Batman!
goatboy smellz

climber
लघिमा
Dec 14, 2009 - 09:35am PT
What's the degree bevel on that edge, mister?
Gotta get it just right for those icy descents, or else.

And where's the ventilation in that shed?
Huffing wax fumes and eating nachos is no way to go through life.
yer gonna die!
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 14, 2009 - 12:20pm PT
Excellent detail points Goat Man!

Photographs don't show that when the freehand comes off the camera it grabs the other end of the file and puts a little flex into it for the bevel. (I ain't no ski tuner)

The shed is ventilated and I have a respirator,
But another key point is to control the temperature so the waxes aren't smoking.
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 14, 2009 - 12:40pm PT
Many of the tours to follow are in this book:



Here's a list of last winter's activity:
(all but tours number 1, 2, & 7 will be documented here)

01) 12 06 08 LH Res Road/Little Raven/Brainard/Little Raven Sourdough extension
02) 12 14 08 Sourdough/Little Raven/Brainard/CMC S (10°F 3.25hrs house to house)
03) 12 21 08 Jenny Creek to Yankee Doodle Lake (w/Goat Boy 6 hrs)
04) 12 25 08 Beaver Reservoir to Coney Flats
05) 12 29 08 Waldrop/Brainard/St. Vrain 909 (2.5hrs)
06) 01 04 09 Waldrop/Blue Lake (w/Goat Boy 5.5hrs)
07) 01 11 09 Little Raven/Long Lake/CMC South (w/Goat Boy very windy)
08) 01 25 09 Guinn Mountain (4.75 hrs very deep snow past cabin)
09) 02 01 09 Research Station/Niwot Ridge/Green Lakes Valley overlook (4.25hrs)
10) 02 15 09 St. Vrain Glacier Trail (w/Goat Boy & Stich 10hrs)
11) 02 21 09 Wild Basin/Mt Alice (w/Goat Boy 10.25hrs)
12) 02 28 09 Heart Lake (w/Goat Boy 4.75hrs)
13) 03 15 09 Black Lake ice slabs w/Pomerance (8hrs, w/some ice soloing)
14) 03 14 09 Little Haute Route w/Goat Boy (7hrs very wet)
15) 04 05 09 King Lake (8.75hrs)
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 14, 2009 - 01:29pm PT
12 21 08
 Jenny Creek to Yankee Doodle Lake
 round-trip mileage: 11 miles
 elevation change: 1,330 feet
 High Point: 10,715 feet
 round-trip time: six hours



The tour starts at Eldora ski area; pumps up over the shoulder next to the slopes and drops down into Jenny Creek.
From there it's a steady moderate climb to get to a cirque on the south side of Guinn Mt, which holds Yankee Doodle Lake.

This tour usually clocks in around 4 1/2 hours.
Some low blood pressure peculiarities with my physiology involving nifedipine, a calcium channel blocker for vasodilation, along with some other substances I don't wanna talk about right now, completely shut me down for the first half of this tour.


Here is Goat Boy cruising the open meadow on the final stretch to Yankee Doodle Lake:



The lake sits beneath a very large headwall on the Continental Divide.
Some very unfortunate young lads were swept down that slope by an avalanche into the lake some years ago; one of them died. (They had dug a pit prior)

I happened to ski up to this site not long after the event and witnessed very large blocks of ice remaining along opposite side of the lake from the slope, where the swell from the strike had deposited them.




Goat Boy on the return trip,
In the first photo you can see James Peak shrouded in cloud:




The return trail in the fading light:





Chiloe

Trad climber
Lee, NH
Dec 16, 2009 - 09:31am PT
Beautiful terrain, Roy, with a sobering reminder of how dangerous it can be.

We used to ski that trail long ago.
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 17, 2009 - 01:20pm PT
All righty then, back to work….

Tour number two in this “Baker’s Dozen” series:
Beaver Res/Coney Flats/Upper Coney Lake Cirque

In the first installment of this tour you'll see photos from two different years;
The short version on 12 25 08, shows Beaver Reservoir to Coney Flats, followed with some photos the previous year which took us all the way to the edge of Upper Coney Lake, but with no view of the cirque.

Part two wraps it up with a tour I completed 12 15 09, successfully providing a view of Paiute Pk, standing proudly above upper Coney Lake Cirque.

 Starting Elevation, 9161 feet
 Total Elevation Gain, 1779 feet
 Round-Trip Mileage, 12 miles
 Round-Trip Time, 7 hours (given considerable trail breaking in this seldom tracked Coney Lakes drainage)



You can break this tour up at the halfway mark; meaning Coney flats because that’s a nice warmup early-season tour to check the snow; and it takes just over an hour and a quarter, at a good hustle get to the turnaround, affording a terrific view of Sawtooth Peak.

Then the second half is the rarely tracked long uphill wooded trail breaking grind to access the upper Coney Lake Cirque.



Oh…

For those of you who find this bloated, overwrought barge of a thread too hefty and slow-moving,
Try one of my recent excerpt threads, featuring an abridged offering of the tasty stuff going into upper Coney Lake Cirque:
(beware, you’ll have to suffer a particularly sensitive/interpretive storytelling approach…)

http://www.supertopo.com/climbers-forum/1036880/suffer

-----


This is a great time to put in a pitch for both the artist and the publisher of these awesome maps,
James Niehues & Trail Tracks, check out the gallery 'n the map offerings, I think you’ll like them:

http://www.jamesniehues.com/



http://www.trailtracks.com/


---------------



One of the hallmarks of this tour is the iconic skyline view of Sawtooth Peak,
This peak is quite visible from many points in Boulder and North Denver:



Beaver Reservoir on a cold morning:



Tracks before Coney Flats:



Tarbuster on a quick early-season foray to Coney Flats:



The typical view of Sawtooth from Coney Flats:



A few years ago, on our first excursion to scout out the way in to view the Upper Coney Lakes Cirque,
Lots of fresh powder to run your skis through in that valley:



Seth Bayer, skirting the Northside of Mount Audubon:



Our limited view on that particular day, with the end of the tour at Upper Cony Lake;
The entire Cirque above, mastered by the considerable North face of Paiute Peak, was shrouded in cloud:



Although the tour was rewarding from a physical standpoint,
We lacked the treat of getting a close look at Paiute's North face.
In fact we weren't even sure we were at Upper Coney Lake, and it was very cold and windy, time to retreat.

What follows is a very gratifying tour which I completed a couple days ago,
Much more successfully accessing that beautiful cirque on a relatively clear day.
klk

Trad climber
cali
Dec 17, 2009 - 02:03pm PT
wow, great pix tar. an awful lot of fun you've got there in yr backyard.


and tx for the link to the maps--- really nice, old-skool stuff. nice to see google earth and garmin haven't quite killed off the art of mapmaking.
Hardly Visible

Social climber
Llatikcuf WA
Dec 17, 2009 - 02:09pm PT
Roy,

I must always catch ya somewhere between the before ski season shot and the after ski season shot, cause I don't ever remember ya lookin quite that bad or quite that good for that matter.
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 18, 2009 - 12:20pm PT
Upper Coney Lake/Paiute N Face Cirque: Part Two

(a reprise of the same tour posted above,
But completed a couple of days ago, this time, affording a proper review of the upper cirque):

12-15-2009

 Starting Elevation, 9161 feet
 Total Elevation Gain, 1779 feet
 Round-Trip Mileage, 12 miles
 Round-Trip Time, 7 hours (given considerable trail breaking in this seldom tracked Coney Lakes drainage)


I like to get an early start in these things; especially if it’s a long one, say, before noon is good!
On this particular day I left the car from Beaver Reservoir at 11:50 a.m.



Due to persistent winter weather and swirling cloud cover on the divide, this can be said to be an unusually crisp early winter view from Beaver Reservoir up into the St. Vrain Glacier and Elk Tooth area:


 For a thorough picture essay on what it’s like up on those ridges depicted above,
Check out the story beginning right around post # 91 of this thread:
http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.php?topic_id=481291&tn=80


The initial view of Sawtooth Peak viewed from Coney Flats:
(Coney is another word for Pika)



The best way into the drainage, is to stay in the trees to the right of the marshes, following the Buchanan Pass Trail,
And swing a wide left turn up against the intervening ridge just short of Sawtooth:



As an aside, while we are looking at it, Sawtooth’s east ridge affords a nice moderate scramble:



A series of sturdy foot bridges lead the way across Coney Flats:




Not long after leaving the Buchanan Pass Trail, time to start the work:



Once leaving Coney Flats, these were the only tracks I saw:





An early view through the trees looking straight into Paiute’s North face, using telephoto,
Confirming that I might get a good view of the cirque from the final destination at upper Coney Lake:



Much of the two hour climb is carried out in thick trees on the side hill west of Coney Creek:
(a bit of extra hardship without poles, but not too bad)



Exiting the deep forest:



The final rise giving way to my destination, guarded by a sturdy flank of small trees:





With the sun now below the ridge, amidst brutal winds,
I popped out into the strangely hospitable environs of Upper Coney Lake Cirque:




Paiute’s North face:



Paiute Pk is something of a geological nexus: “a very important summit geographically” as Gerry Roach writes,
Because it sits at the head of four major drainages.


In 1997, I spent a couple of days traversing the divide, and climbed Paiute’s North buttress:


 go here for that trip report:
http://www.stonemastergear.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=31:traverse-of-the-continental-divide-from-wild-basin-to-isabelle-glacier&catid=1:latest&Itemid=26




Looking over my shoulder on the way out:



Carving a few wide stanced turns through twilight and plunging back into the thick trees:



A final view before switching to headlamp and heading home:

TKingsbury

Trad climber
MT
Dec 18, 2009 - 12:26pm PT
VERY cool thread Roy, thanks for posting up all this great info!

Makes me want to head down there and go tour with you...don't I could keep up though...

CHEERS!
Chiloe

Trad climber
Lee, NH
Dec 18, 2009 - 12:28pm PT
Beautiful!

That 11:50am start must have upped the adventure level a notch. What's your backup system,
just Lisa knows your plans or do you have a way to phone home?
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 18, 2009 - 12:36pm PT
Of course I do the responsible thing and let her know where I'm going.

In this case, before leaving for my tour,
That meant calling Louisville, Kentucky, where she had just placed sixth in the USATF Masters Cross Country Nationals!
(Cross country running; not skiing).


Cell phone does not work up in those valleys.
Sometimes a call can get out from a high ridge.
Choose your steps carefully and execute them wisely.
Euroford

Trad climber
chicago
Dec 18, 2009 - 12:41pm PT
thats allot of awesomeness. we've been spending more time at the indian peaks lately and i'm busy building my knowledge base of the area for future exploits not that different from your own.

thanks!
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 18, 2009 - 12:42pm PT
Winter days are so cold 'n daylight so short,
Chunks of night skiing are a habitual part of the pattern.

Sometimes I start a short tour at twilight....


It's not uncommon; check out this grueling suffer-fest:

http://www.elkmountaintraverse.org/html/history.html
midarockjock

climber
USA
Dec 18, 2009 - 02:30pm PT
Like backpacking and snow shoeing given up for rock climbing, I
gave up cross country skiing for for downhill. However I wish I
would have tried those wider and turn able cross country skis. I
only used the narrow ones.

Cool photos.
Rick A

climber
Boulder, Colorado
Dec 18, 2009 - 06:23pm PT

Thanks for that Roy. Another fine excursion.

Did you take any pictures of the North Face of Audobon? Supposed to be some nice spring ski/snowboard descents back there.
Rick
SteveW

Trad climber
The state of confusion
Dec 18, 2009 - 06:35pm PT
Great additions, Tar!
Lot's of envy here!!!!!
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 18, 2009 - 09:38pm PT
Rick:

At this time of the year, Audubon's North Side is not so enticing to the skier.
'Looks more like a bowling alley after an earthquake, so I didn't take any pictures.

But I do have these three "aerial" views from other excursions.
These are from Algonquin, to the west.

This is the "come hither" partially un-robed tease shot, taken mid July 1997, proximal to my bivuoac site:





And these two are from May 6, 2000, the day Lisa and I were married:

In this shot I am standing in front of the connection between Audubon's NW flank and Paiute's North face:



And this is the rest of that face on Audubon, the left side of it, stretching further east:


I can count well over half a dozen potential descent lines..... roughly 2000' vert drop to the lake.
No doubt filled in nicely during the fat of winter and ripe for spring ski season, as you suggest.
Chutes, gulleys, couloirs, clefts: whatever the nomenclature, you want to scootch right on down that stuff yes?
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 19, 2009 - 12:03am PT
Doug Robinson

Trad climber
Santa Cruz
Dec 19, 2009 - 01:21pm PT
The very finest in freehand skiing, Roy. Many thanks!

So thorough, I do believe I was waxing in my sleep. Had to reread to ... well, just because what you've laid out looks so damn fun. Plus it gives us left-coast sliders a really up-close view of some of that fabled Rockies "we only wax blue or green" snow.

Besides, who can resist a chance encounter with the legendary Gary Neptune, in total retro-chic. A glimpse of his canvas rucksack alone is worth the full admission price. And how about that wolf-fur ruff on his parka? Skiing on pure wax, no less. This brings our blood to full boil, viewed from our maritime-influenced Sierra snowpack.

I'm not complaining about the part of being stripped to shirtsleeves half of our midwinter days, skiing in outfits rather reminiscent of Cowgirl #2. But waxing out here is consequently a bit more challenging, and we often enough end up by midday on the gooiest of klisters. Which is great while it's running, but a royal pain in the solvent bucket when a new dusting does a deep reset on the snowpack, clear back to basic blue (yes, we ski on it too -- yum!).

So recent years in the full laziness of middle age, while still as impatient as a teenager to get those boards on the snow, I'm skiing more and more on waxless. I think on reflection that choosing a climbing-patterned base over kicker skins also says a lot about the temperature of our snowpack, since waxless climbs well on softer snow while skins are better on icier surfaces. I still like the glide of waxless.

But, no getting around it, this digression shows beyond a doubt that I am this morning down on the coast not up in the snowy mountains. And, well, guess I'm jealous.
Chiloe

Trad climber
Lee, NH
Dec 19, 2009 - 04:15pm PT
Rick A

climber
Boulder, Colorado
Dec 19, 2009 - 08:43pm PT
Yes. That's it. Probably could find corn on those lines on the Fourth of July, what with the altitude and due north aspect. Bit of a trek back to the car, though.

Rick
snakefoot

climber
cali
Dec 19, 2009 - 10:52pm PT
bump for the badness.............
Chiloe

Trad climber
Lee, NH
Dec 24, 2009 - 02:14pm PT
I'm sure there's more to come....

Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 29, 2009 - 12:50pm PT
Look out…………
Bonus Tour ahead !!!

How will I ever get through this baker’s dozen if I keep adding new ones?
I will muddle through.

12 28 2009
Devils Thumb Lake Overlook

 starting elevation: 8,800 feet
 high point 11,280 feet
 net elevation gain: 2,480 feet
 5 hours ingress
 3.5 hours egress
 9 hours total (10:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.)
 14 miles round-trip

Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 29, 2009 - 12:51pm PT
The forecast was for an atrocious, faceted, slabby, unstable snowpack everywhere but inside the house.
A warm morning, plus windless blue skies guaranteed to afford a good look at the Devils Thumb.

It is often hit and miss as to whether a tour like this will have any tracks leading into the upper reaches of Jasper Lake and Devils Thumb Lake; or leading beyond the Woodland Lake turnoff for that matter.

Knowing this, I anticipated much trail breaking, so I brought poles and started early (before noon).
I also planned to stick to the broad drainage south of and well below those two lakes, avoiding any contact or exposure to slopes above 20°.


Recreational Opportunities !




After the initial 2 miles, I decided to take the Devils Thumb cut off trail; a bit steeper, but I had poles:

Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 29, 2009 - 12:52pm PT
Fresh Colorado pow pow:



The beginning of the Indian Peaks Wilderness and my day’s destination out there on the horizon:


Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 29, 2009 - 12:53pm PT
The two-hour point, and a common ending for tracked snows:



Gaining elevation:



The first distant sightings of the Devils Thumb and Peak 12,285:


Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 29, 2009 - 12:53pm PT
I was following tracks from skiers who clearly had fat skis and full skins,
As they had taken the rise up to Jasper Lake, I cut southwest staying low in the wonderful U-shaped valley.
Having it all to myself, and basking in luxuriant solitude, I began the real work:

Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 29, 2009 - 12:54pm PT
At 3:30 p.m. under windless clear skies, I managed my high point just before the sun dipped below the horizon:



I scurried a little bit higher along my aerie for a better portrait of Devils Thumb, 12,080+ feet:

Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 29, 2009 - 12:55pm PT
Then hooked west and south,
Through the chilly environs overlooking Devils Thumb Pass, 11,747’:



Swinging through a short loop up there in single-digit temperatures:



Looking straight south toward skyscraper glacier:




A line Lisa and I climbed a few years back, in order to arrive at Skyscraper Peak on the left:

Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 29, 2009 - 12:57pm PT
The return home … soft, cool and quiet:

Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Dec 29, 2009 - 01:16pm PT
Tarfather, What With? I was expecting this tale to be illustrated... it is completely unclear what actually happened and there aren't any visuals. Please advise. This is one very confusing Western.
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 29, 2009 - 01:19pm PT
As I do not carry pencil and paper, the actual poems melt with the snows in springtime.
goatboy smellz

climber
लघिमा
Dec 29, 2009 - 01:33pm PT
styling!
perswig

climber
Dec 29, 2009 - 07:56pm PT
"As I do not carry pencil and paper, the actual poems melt with the snows in springtime."

That's very nice, Tar.
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 6, 2010 - 10:44pm PT
Okay, back to it.
For my next trick, I’m going to spurt out pictures from 4 tours notable for their views.
These views overlook the kind of moderate alpine type stuff one might actually seek to climb.
Oriented on the map below, from left to right (south to north), are these Front Range tours:

1 Research Station/Niwot Ridge to Green Lakes Valley & Shoshoni Overlooks
2 Waldrop/CMC North to Blue Lake Cirque
3 St. Vrain Glacier Trail to Elk Tooth/Ogallala Cirque
4 Wild Basin to Mt Alice Cirque

Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 6, 2010 - 10:45pm PT
1) Research Station/Niwot Ridge to Green Lakes Valley & Shoshoni Overlooks

The first part, to look into Green Lakes Valley and those peaks, I accomplished on 02 01 2009.
The second bit, achieving the Niwot crest & Shoshone Overlook (my own name for it), I did a couple years ago.

 Starting Elevation, 9, 400 feet
 Net Elevation Gain, 1, 800 feet
 Round-Trip Mileage, 7.4 miles
 Round-Trip Time, 4 hours

(Add another 1.5 miles, another thousand feet or so and another hour plus to get to the Shoshone Overlook)


Green arrows indicate sightlines:



The green dots separate the two vantage points,
The first one, overlooking Green Lakes Valley, is quite a bit more over the edge in fact....

Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 6, 2010 - 10:46pm PT
This tour starts not far from the Peak To Peak Highway,
Directly in front of the University of Colorado Mountain Research Station.

(one may alternately begin a bit earlier on the Sourdough Trail, just consult the map to figure out where/when to climb out of the sourdough to link them up; they don’t actually join)



Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 6, 2010 - 10:46pm PT
A lot of the elevation gain happens on the road,
But it’s nice that there are touring trails which detour from the road in three spots (first on the left, then twice on the right).
In any event, to really look in to Green Lakes Valley, you need to break below Niwot Ridge and contour…..



You can see the fence line demarcating the City of Boulder Silver Lake Watershed.
Don't cross over that...
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 6, 2010 - 10:47pm PT
Getting a good view over the long ridge of Mount Albion,
And beyond into the Silver Lakes Valley, and the shoulder of South Arapaho Peak:




Mt Albion, 12,609 feet:


(illegal to approach or summit that pup)
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 6, 2010 - 10:48pm PT
Starting to peer around the corner,
With Kiowa Peak dead ahead, and the crook'd crown of Navajo Peak up the drainage:




Kiowa, 13,276 feet:
(forbidden summit)



A little better positioning (and much colder hands) begin to reveal Navajo peak, on the left:



Navajo peak, 13,409 feet, catching a shimmer:

SteveW

Trad climber
The state of confusion
Jan 6, 2010 - 10:54pm PT
BEEUTIFULLLL!!!!!!!
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 6, 2010 - 11:09pm PT
Thanks dude.
Glad you're enjoying the perspective!
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 6, 2010 - 11:10pm PT
Here's what happens visually, on the right kind of day, if you head higher up onto the Niwot Ridge.
Parts of this are closed so consult the map accordingly....





Following the high points in that last pano,
from left to right,
Are Arikaree, Niwot Ridge proper occluding Navajo, then Apache, & Shoshoni peaks.


The magical Arikaree Pk, 13,150 feet:



Apache peak, 13,441 feet:



And finally, Shoshoni's southeast buttress:

Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 6, 2010 - 11:13pm PT
On another thread, Jello put in these lines and comment about Shoshoni’s buttress:

“On the left is a route I did with Steve Dieckoff. And on the right is the approximate line of a solo. Because we're looking obliquely, the lines are not very accurate”



Bobcat tracks out there, up there:

Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 7, 2010 - 12:38pm PT
2) Waldrop/CMC North to Blue Lake Cirque:
(number two out of a group of four, from the larger baker's dozen)

 Destination Elevation, 11, 300 feet
 Elevation Gain, 900 feet
 Round-Trip Mileage, 10 miles
 Round-Trip Time, 5+ hours


The relationship of the Niwot Ridge tour and the Blue Lake tour:



And the line of a handy summer cirque tour, encompassing a number of fine peaks:


------------------------------------------------

(those neato 3D illustrations are from Latitude 40 Maps: http://www.latitude40maps.com/);

(For a good look at the view afforded while scrambling along that entire ridge line in summer, go here):

http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.php?topic_id=481291
------------------------------------------------



The ski tour line into Blue Lake, primarily the summer trail, showing the three major peaks in the Blue Lake Cirque:

Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 7, 2010 - 12:45pm PT
The first half of these pictures, up to Mitchell Lake, were taken with Goat Boy on 01 04 2009.
The others, depicting Little Pawnee Pk’s rock faces, and the Blue Lake Cirque, were from a prior year with Tim Stich.



Open meadows along the Waldrop Trail:




Characteristic weather accosting the Continental Divide:


Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 7, 2010 - 12:49pm PT
Indian Peaks Wilderness boundary, heading up toward Mitchell Lake:



Goat Boy doing the skinny ski thing:




Mitchell Lake, set below Mount Audubon, often quite windy,
From there, after contouring along the lake, the tour slips into the trees and wilder snows:

Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 7, 2010 - 12:51pm PT
Little Pawnee Pk 12,466 feet:



Little Pawnee Pk has lots of rock along its northern flank.
A close-up of a particular buttress on Little Pawnee:



Jeff Lowe commented on some routes he had done; the offwidth is likely a first acsent, while it may be unclear about the other lines, as I was reminded recently that climbers have entertained ascents of portions of that escarpment for a few generations now.

"The orange and yellow line were alpine solo cruises. The red line is a two-pitch route up into a big, leaning corner with an offwidth cux [done with Mark Wilford]"


Jeff's comments pulled from this thread:

http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.php?topic_id=325486&tn=0
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 7, 2010 - 01:04pm PT
Stich, hanging at the chilly destination:



Blue Lake:



Toll & Paiute:



Mt Toll, 12,979 feet:



Paiute Pk, 13,088 feet:

Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 7, 2010 - 04:07pm PT
Jenny now goes by "Jennifer".
She's a lawyer last we spoke ... lost contact a while back ... going to have to entertain that facebook jungle and reconnect.

I think you and I did meet back in the day; just didn't often cross paths.
I keep in pretty good touch with Messick.
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 7, 2010 - 05:02pm PT

1 Research Station/Niwot Ridge to Green Lakes Valley & Shoshoni Overlooks
2 Waldrop/CMC North to Blue Lake Cirque
3 St. Vrain Glacier Trail to Elk Tooth/Ogallala Cirque
4 Wild Basin to Mt Alice Cirque


3) St. Vrain Glacier Trail to Elk Tooth/Ogallala Cirque

 20 miles round-trip
 10 hours total
 1350 feet elevation gain (just short of Lake Gibraltar at the hook south in the trail)
 High point roughly 10, 800 feet




This is one of the longer tours from my typical winter menu.
It gets pretty topsy-turvy in the last quarter-mile to get to Lake Gibraltar, at the foot of the St Vrain Glaciers.
Meaning the slope both drops away and steepens abruptly, entering a terrain category extending the risk beyond that of normal touring.

I pushed it as far as I have yet been comfortable, last winter with Goat Boy and Tim Stich on 02 15 2009.
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 7, 2010 - 05:06pm PT


There are not many vantage points where you can see the north face of Paiute.
Here it is peaking up on the far horizon:



A nice open meadow where good views begin to happen, Elk Tooth in the distance:

Jaybro

Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
Jan 7, 2010 - 05:08pm PT
Bobcat tracks? I believe that is the spoor of the elusive canada Lynx known for encrouching on the expansion of cultural centers like Vail....
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 7, 2010 - 05:09pm PT
Entering the upper reaches of Middle St Vrain Creek, things get even more visual:




A closer view of Elk Tooth, at a typical turnaround point, about four or five hours into it:

Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 7, 2010 - 05:12pm PT
Maybe so Jay.
Bob D'Antonio identified those prints as bobcat when I first posted that photo.

What does he know though.
I was hoping for Puma.
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 7, 2010 - 05:13pm PT
At the end of our tour, where a hook left and south under a steep & well loaded slope, or a big drop down into a bottomless gorge demarcated our turnaround.

Gibraltar Lake out of view, on the left behind Eric’s right shoulder,
And the upper St. Vrain glaciers due west, sitting above that cliff behind him:




Swinging to the north at that same stance, looking up into the convoluted ramparts of Elk Tooth:

Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 7, 2010 - 05:16pm PT
Turning around for the long ski home:



Getting colder, but time for a last look up to the north.
Favorable light on one of the many complex faces bordering Rocky Mountain National Park’s southern border:

Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 7, 2010 - 08:04pm PT
From another trip in there toward St Vrain Glaciers,
Big cliffs at the open meadow halfway, harboring potential ice climbs.
I'm never quite sure how interesting that might be...

Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 7, 2010 - 08:06pm PT
And all kinds of rock along the way....

Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 7, 2010 - 08:07pm PT
The last of the four tours in this grouping:





4)Wild Basin/Mt Alice Cirque 02 01 2009

 ~18 miles round-trip & 10.25 hrs
 Starting elevation 8,349 feet
 Upper cirque roughly 11,260 feet
 Net elevation gain 2,911 feet




Not exactly the Indian peaks: next big drainage north of the Indian peaks/RMNP border.
But you don't have to go through Esters Park to get in there....
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 7, 2010 - 08:12pm PT
Looking into wild basin,
Tanima Pk dead ahead, and the tip of Mount Alice East face on the right.



Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 7, 2010 - 08:15pm PT
Bridges lead through and out of the lower valley:



Around Ouzel Falls, a view to the north looking at the backside of Longs and Meeker:



On a clear day, the early views of Mount Alice, about halfway through the tour, are quite good:

Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 7, 2010 - 08:17pm PT
Photos from another trip,
Heading straight for Thunder Lake,
The sun setting beneath Tanima Peak, to the right an obscure formation called Schist Wall, then Mount Alice:



Thunder Lake patrol cabin in full conditions:

Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 7, 2010 - 08:21pm PT
On this particular day however, we stayed higher,
Splitting the difference on the trail between Thunder Lake and Lion Lakes, heading straight for Alice:



Finally, after contouring above Thunder Lake and beneath the Lion Lakes headwall,
Our clean gradual line of ascent popped us out of the trees right in the flat cirque beneath Mount Alice:





Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 7, 2010 - 08:23pm PT
Quite a novel view of the backside of Long’s Peak,
With “The Notch” very nicely defined by blue sky and sharp granite:



The back or south side of Chiefshead:



Time to head down!



Alpenglow … soon to be headlamp-hour, looking up at Long’s & Meeker’s Southwest sides:



Some fun switchbacks led down into the darkness that night; Eric and I both enjoyed the company and solitude of nightfall,
Occasionally throwing sparks off of our edges as the trail thinned out amongst the snow and rocks.
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 8, 2010 - 09:19pm PT
Today I got out of the house, headed toward yonder cirque for a recon to Crater Lakes.



Middle Crater Lake, with Sprint Peak rising above the tree riddled headwall:

















I plan to return for some spring mountaineering.
Rick A

climber
Boulder, Colorado
Jan 9, 2010 - 10:54am PT
Roy,
I see the answer to my question on the other thread is here.

Fine, frigid adventures, beautifully documented.

This thread is a ski tour de force.

Rick

PS

Be careful out there. I went for a b/c outing near Berthoud Pass last weekend and the avalanche danger was as bad as I've ever seen it. Low angle slopes collapsing to the ground and sliding with little provocation.

Ezra

Social climber
WA, NC, Idaho Falls
Jan 9, 2010 - 01:39pm PT
Roy,

Thanks so much for the pictures!
Please provide more detalis.....:)

Does the Calcium channel blocker, help with forearm endurance?

Best,

-Ezra
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 9, 2010 - 01:42pm PT
No.
Did nothing for my severe coldness in extremities either.
And it may have lowered blood pressure to a point where aerobic athletics were problematic.
Zander

Trad climber
Berkeley
Jan 11, 2010 - 05:44pm PT
This thread just gets better and better.
Thanks Tar,
Zander
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 18, 2010 - 01:00am PT
Okay back to work.

As I may have mentioned occasionally here and there,
I'm not really a skier: I'm a climber type guy who sometimes likes to go bouldering and mountain traveling...
Perhaps scrambling, ridge traversing 'n such, by himself.

The skis just smooth that process out, mostly the travel part, and usually in winter.

Another big plus with the Indian Peaks being in my backyard, given the obvious access they provide to take a look at oddball backcountry crags, is their proximity to Boulder Canyon, Eldorado Canyon and the like.

So when it gets real warm midwinter, as it almost always does sometime in January and like it did just this week,
And if the connective tissue aligns with the stars and stuff,
I go play down the street instead of in the backyard.

That would be Boulder Canyon:



I refrained from handling much of anything for a few days and got the green light to go and check things out. This yielded about five hours of stomping up along the hillside (great cross training for ski touring), slowly gaining significant elevation from the canyon floor while gleefully routing out dusty gems:








Chiloe

Trad climber
Lee, NH
Jan 18, 2010 - 10:19am PT
Beautiful photos as always. You're living the right place!

The relief drawings and topo maps help a lot in orienting your photos and trip stories. It looks
like the Front Range has been well drawn. Have anything like that for the Gore Range traverse on
your other thread? I was trying to puzzle out your path there from the photos, but not getting
very far.
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 18, 2010 - 11:22am PT
I loaded the topographical/interpretive portion of that Gore Range thread to my photo bucket last night.
Should be up in a few minutes...
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 14, 2010 - 10:19pm PT
Just got through that typical Front Range January dry spell.
Not that I haven't been out...



With Lisa off marathon training and ramping up the mountain running season,
Time to get out for some short burst aerobic tours in the trees:




Peace Bridge is 2.2 miles of northward climbing trail from below Colorado Research Station,
or 3.5 miles of southward trail from Brainard Lake winter parking Red Rock Trailhead...


Chiloe

Trad climber
Lee, NH
Feb 15, 2010 - 09:43am PT
There's not much snow out our way, I need crampons to walk the dogs.

Keep posting those shots from the heart of the Rockies!
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 21, 2010 - 05:06pm PT
Sourdough Trail

Given that I just showed a couple pictures of the Peace Bridge,
It’s a good time to talk about the Sourdough Trail:

Those pictures above depict the first short leg,
Entertained as a 4.4 mile out and back to Peace Bridge, from the beginning of the Sourdough Trail, picked up off the Research Station/Rainbow Lakes Road, just off the Peak To Peak Highway, between Nederland and Ward.

This is a long lateral trail that roughly parallels the Continental Divide and Peak to Peak Highway.
As such it doesn’t give access to a high cirque or get any spectacular views of things to climb, but it does have a particularly sweet ambience.

It’s also 13 miles long as a point-to-point, primarily entertained at elevations in the mid 9,000 to low 10,000 foot level, with options to get on or off it at 4 different points to create quite short tours, yet, completed in its entirety as an out and back would constitute a marathon.


Below are pictures showing the 7 mile round trip from Brainard Lake Redrock Trail parking lot to Peace Bridge and back:






The whole enchilada:
(motorized access points are marked with green dots)




In the middle of one leg is the Wapiti/Baptiste loop, where you could pick up the extra fraction of a mile to constitute a true marathon. The shortest way to get to that loop is using Beaver Reservoir Road, (signage reads Boy Scout Camp), which is also the access to Coney Flats, but you park a bit short of that trailhead, by a half mile or so and pick up the Sourdough Trail heading to the loop.





From left to right,
Kiowa, Albion, Navajo, Apache, Shoshone:



Navajo Peak:



The key to any of these portions or all of this trail is waiting till the snow levels get sufficient; otherwise it’s bare in many places. It’s good to go right about now, as some of our recons in the last few weeks, before the recent snows, showed it had just enough, bare-ly.


Okay, you might see some things to climb...

Ezra

Social climber
WA, NC, Idaho Falls
Feb 27, 2010 - 10:02am PT
Thanks for the Pics Tar,
Beautiful scenery!
roadman

climber
Feb 27, 2010 - 11:08am PT
great stuff. Thanks!
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 6, 2010 - 04:35pm PT
It's beginning to feel like spring around these parts.
Notwithstanding the usual heavy precipitation in March and April... hopefully yet to come.

So I wish: while many folks are tired of winter, I welcome the low impact activity afforded by seasonal snow cover.
Not to mention it's been pretty thin in general snowfall terms.


Anyhow, back to the task of stuffing this barge to the gills with local ski touring facts, fiction, and pictures.
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 6, 2010 - 04:46pm PT
The next pair of ski tours I will document bare the distinction of idiosyncratic steepness.

 Guinn Mountain
 Rogers Pass/Heart Lake

They’re probably the only narrow trails which might warrant something wider than a skinny ski;
To that end I do see people on AT gear shuffling up these on their full skins.

Here’s why, in part:




They can be like toboggan runs on the descent;
Never mind that there might be access to some tree skiing along the way, or as is the case for Rogers Pass, an upper headwall.
(not that I pay any attention to those opportunities)
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 6, 2010 - 05:10pm PT
Guinn Mountain


 10 miles round-trip
 1,560’ elevation gain
 11,200' high point
 Four plus hours RT

Pretty much due West of Eldora Ski Area.
Accessed by skirting the kiddy hill on the left/east, then dropping into Jenny Creek (located behind the ski area in the drawing),
Followed by a climb up the backside of things to gain the hut and the summit.

Guinn Mountain is more or less an extension of an East West Ridge coming off the Divide, culminating in Bryan Mountain.
I have Guinn Mountain’s approximate location marked there just behind Bryan Mountain in the map (bright green dot):



Probably the most notable aspect of this tour is the presence of the Arestua Hut, located not far from the summit:

Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 6, 2010 - 05:45pm PT
I’ve got a mix of photographs interspersed here from two different years.
The ones with deep snow were taken January 25, 2009, while the second batch, which I start with below, was from February 15, 2010.


Signage down in Jenny Creek:





As Yogi Berra once said: “When there is a fork in the road, take it”…


Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 6, 2010 - 05:53pm PT
Once leaving Jenny Creek and getting past the initial narrow trail climb,
A wilderness feel sets in:




Sometimes folks can be seen at the cabin:



On that note,
Here is a link to the CMC management page for the Arestua Hut:

http://www.cmcboulder.org/cabins.html
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 6, 2010 - 06:02pm PT
From that Hut,
It’s roughly another 20 minutes to turn the corner and push through lush trees to get to the top of Guinn Mountain:





This year, wandering around up there during sunset and gazing upon the Continental Divide:


Jello

Social climber
No Ut
Mar 6, 2010 - 11:32pm PT
Tarbuster, back in the '80's sometime my first wife, Janie and I spent New Year's Eve up at that hut. We brought up gourmet foodstuffs and enough good wine for a great meal. Later we went out skiing in the moonlight. Best way ever to see in a new year!

Your posts are the best, 'Buster! And t.r. I really like the things you add...thanks.

-JelloInTheMoonlightCruisin'ThePowPowAsEkatWouldSay
Chiloe

Trad climber
Lee, NH
Mar 7, 2010 - 10:06am PT
Very cool photo journeys. Haven't been out that way since the 70s, but I can still feel the wind.
Rick A

climber
Boulder, Colorado
Mar 7, 2010 - 11:08am PT
Beautifully done, Roy.
The NCAR folks have predicted big snows still to come this spring. You can take that to the bank.
Rick
Zander

Trad climber
Berkeley
Mar 7, 2010 - 04:33pm PT
Thanks Tar,
You are having fun in a beautiful place. Sweet.
Zander
Ricardo Cabeza

climber
All Over.
Mar 7, 2010 - 06:18pm PT
Lovin it Tar!

Here's hoping to see some shots of the Zirkels down the road.

Keep it up man!
Chiloe

Trad climber
Lee, NH
Mar 7, 2010 - 06:46pm PT
The Zirkels, that's Terra Non-photographica! I heard that Mike Covington and others put up tech routes there years ago, but those have to be some of the least-photographed mountains in Colorado.

Either Tarbuster needs to do these TRs full time, or we need more Rocky Mountaineers on the Taco.
Robb

Social climber
The Greeley Triangle
Mar 7, 2010 - 07:54pm PT
Ahhh...the splendor of the Rockies.
Nice job Roy!
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 9, 2010 - 11:07pm PT
As requested, a brief tease from the Zirkel Wilderness,
From the east side, just north of Buffalo Pass, before hiking in for a day trip and reconnaissance, a handful of summers back:


Going to have to wait till summer time to see the real goods, because I’m just getting my bearings and making plans…
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 9, 2010 - 11:09pm PT
Okay, on to the task at hand, “my assignment”, just in case you missed one of the many threads we’ve had this week about retaking our forum.
I mean, really: women have been called out, called us out, vindications launched, truces made, multiple avatars defrocked 'n general cabin fever outed and stomped.

I’m also really stoked to know I have a core of followers chiming in here to let me know this isn’t just a narcissistic and creative purge.

Even received an e-mail from a lurker who's been following the routine, picking off tours, yo.
A high note here is Ms. Rainbow’s reported endeavors to entertain the skinny skis: good for the lungs and all-around soul smoothin' groovin'!
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 9, 2010 - 11:09pm PT
Heart Lake and Rogers Pass Lake

 9 mile round-trip
 2000 foot elevation gain
 11,130’ High Point
 four plus hours RT time

As mentioned earlier, you see lots of people on fat gear slugging up this narrow, fairly steep trail.
There’s much going on in this drainage, South Boulder Creek proper, east portal of the Moffat Tunnel, departure of the Rollins Pass Road.


Map


Three or four distinct tours can be carried out from this road head:
 The Heart Lake Rogers Pass Lake tour
 Arapaho Lakes, an alpine touring destination
 The Little Haute Route, a point-to-point tour, through forest lakes and onto Yankee Doodle Lake and Eldora ski area
 Crater Lake, which I detailed earlier


survival

Big Wall climber
A Token of My Extreme
Mar 9, 2010 - 11:10pm PT
SWEEET!!

Top notch as always Tar.
You're a beacon of sanity around here!
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 9, 2010 - 11:23pm PT
The primary off-load of photos were nabbed during a perfectly windless bluebird day, March 2, 2009.

The view of the Continental Divide and Rogers Pass cirque,
As seen from the East Portal Road in the vicinity of the Rollins Pass turn:


Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 9, 2010 - 11:35pm PT
Right then,
Let’s dispense with the lowly grogging amongst the trees and narrowed trail,
And pop us right out into the soothing upper environs:



Haystack Mountain:




The overlook, reaching northwestward toward Heart Lake,
It is a nice little drop and a gradual rise to get over to yonder basin:



Heart Lake, cloaked and napping:


Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 9, 2010 - 11:42pm PT
Once across the way at Heart Lake,
We turn toward GoatBoy and take in the upper head wall beginning with Haystack Mountain:



Haystack and James Peak:



Unnamed crag gracing The Divide:



Then take a slow swing along the divide north to survey the formidable cornice:


Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 9, 2010 - 11:56pm PT
Basking in the weeds on a particularly comfortable day:



And we are out of here...


'Cuple them RoyBoy shots & this last one much thanks to GoatBoy!
Chiloe

Trad climber
Lee, NH
Mar 10, 2010 - 09:08am PT
Every shot's a beauty.
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Mar 10, 2010 - 10:35am PT
got to look back into your mountains in November from Buffalo Bill's last resting place... very inspiring

great reports that seem effortless in execution
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 10, 2010 - 11:31am PT
Stich said:
I know how this one turns out. He he he.


Well yes,
For starters, it’s not as though every winter day is set with a perfect blue sky out this a-way.
As I’ve been unemployed, this year I’ve taken the opportunity to choose the best days to get good photos of high destination view opportunities.

But there’s also a certain comfort, psychologically speaking, of quietly moving through soft snow while enshrouded in insular winter clouds and snowfall. The whole experience is underpinned by a feeling of being buffered from all externalities save the vagueness and variances in the snow pack, the gentle trees and the whispering wind.


Beyond that,
Last time Tim and I went out, February 20 of this year, we used mountaineering boots & AT bindings on moderately fat skis.

When I sought an alternate track cut to the right on the way up to Heart Lake, (as shown by the red line below), which is featured on old maps…
We followed the tracks set by a pair of skiers clearly wearing full skins and trucking straight up rises and inclines with very little deference to the terrain features ...(green line).

Rocks Jox, with his old school Nordic skinny ski bias, would’ve understood!
We were running our short skins, much like using wax, and it was very difficult to maintain the profile of those who set the track and eventually we abandoned it, cutting some fairly steep slopes (not real smart) but keeping our altitude and carefully contouring onward into the upper basin.




Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 15, 2010 - 09:21pm PT
Little Haute Route


 12.5 miles car to car
 1,820 foot elevation
 11,030 foot high point
 four plus hours




This is one of the few tours which does not return to its starting point.
Commonly done by leaving a car at Eldora ski area, then proceeding in a second car to the East Portal out of Rollinsville.



Not far up Boulder Creek Trail, maybe a mile or so, turn right here:



Following the drainage past Arapaho Lakes,
The trail, or the proper line as the case may be, lifts one out of the drainages sometimes popping out above Forest Lakes altogether, affording these views of James Peak:




(if the trail doesn't slowly, gently rise up out of the drainage leading directly to Forest Lakes, you can enter a terrain trap)
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 15, 2010 - 09:28pm PT
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 15, 2010 - 09:30pm PT
The cirques cliffs and cornices above Forest Lakes along the Continental Divide:





Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 15, 2010 - 09:32pm PT
Eventually the long slog out of Forest Lakes drainage leads one to a short stretch along Rollinsville Pass Road:


Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 15, 2010 - 10:59pm PT
A view from Yankee Doodle Lake, right at treeline, where the Little Haute route/Rollins Pass road picks up a common tour coming up the other way, from down into popular Jenny Creek:



Back into the Forest:



Down deep in Jenny Creek:




Traversing just outside the ski area boundary:




Final tracks on the Eldora Bunny hill:

Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 18, 2010 - 01:00am PT
Early spring for the moment.
Mud season ... soon to give away to spring skiing.
Couple/three more regular tours yet to come.

Right about this time in 2003 we had a massive snow event blocking all of Boulder Canyon; Jack Roberts ski'd it!
I was working at a wine shop in Denver and Lisa was snowed in.


But not this year.
Out and about today in the foothills above the house, looking west into the Indian Peaks:

The forbidden zone,
Boulder Watershed, "Pregnant Squaw", Arikaree. Navajo, Albion & Kiowa:



Skyscraper Peak:



James Peak:



Long's Peak and Mount Meeker:




Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 18, 2010 - 10:51pm PT
Supposed to get heavy snow tomorrow; just what we need to refresh the snowpack at the road heads.
And of course re-up the avalanche danger by loading up all of the weak basal layers up high ...
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 18, 2010 - 10:52pm PT
Black Lake

 8 miles round-trip
 1,400’ elevation gain
 10,600’ high point to Black Lake

Certainly not Indian Peaks because it is in Rocky Mountain National Park, Glacier Gorge.

Probably better Rando touring-to-turn happening that way as opposed to the strict skinny ski cross-country touring jingle.
This because lots of the ingress egress trails are often blown clear; and besides which they’re usually pretty steep and kind of uncomfortable on that gear.

Maybe the caveat there is a nice little tour from Bear Lake over to Notchtop.

Anyhow my ice climbing partner, Steve Pomerance and I decided to go check out West Gulley above Black Lake.
So we used mountaineering boots and light AT skis and bindings:




(okay: I ... had light gear; he's on that Stone Age Ramer setup)

It was a bit of a fiasco for us both.

I was still sticking to my no poles routine, ‘cuz if I used them my arms would be totally blown by the time I unholstered my tools.
Problem was I went for the short skins and there’s no way they worked on the steep icy trail, with a rucksack full of hardware and ropes, without entertaining just a *little* bit of help from the arms.

My prior formula with short skins and no poles encompassed little more than a fanny pack and my standard high country lingerie.

Steve was still suffering from low blood pressure due to niacin at the bequest of his doctor.
This can just wreak havoc on aerobic performance.
After taking way too long to get all away into the climb, we sat down at the base & Steve called it right then and there.

No problem; I’d cancelled on him numerous times due to getting pumped out the night before a climb, usually from sorting my gear & the packing of my rucksack or making a sandwich, or both, ... no fukking fooling.
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 18, 2010 - 11:05pm PT
Pagoda Peak, Spearhead, & Chiefshead:





McHenry's Peak, with good ice visible in the headwall below:













A nice day out in the mountains nonetheless.
And we did fiddle around on the unroped slabs of ice directly above Black Lake.













Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 22, 2010 - 10:58am PT
Loch Lomand/Mt Bancroft

 5 mile round-trip
 3 hours ingress egress



The actual Indian Peaks Wilderness boundary extends from the southern portion of Rocky Mountain National Park, South to the ridgeline extending from Eldora ski area, across Guinn Mountain to the divide at Rollins Pass.

So the southerly tours from Yankee Doodle Lake onward, heading south, are technically in the James Peak Wilderness.

But Gerry Roach, in his Colorado’s Indian Peaks Wilderness Area guidebook, saw fit to extend his coverage including these areas, and other peaks along the divide all the way south to Grays Peak 14,270 feet, Torreys Peak 14,267 feet and Mount Evans, 14,264 feet.

So with that in mind, Tim Stich and I set out to recon the approach into Mount Bancroft which starts from the small town of Alice, in St. Mary’s Glacier region.


Heading south along the peak to peak highway from Nederland toward Black Hawk & Central city, a nice view across a fresh 1 foot snow fall toward Arapaho Peaks:



At the intersection to Golden Gate Canyon, a nice view is afforded of Mount Evans and the Continental Divide, including Grays and Torreys:



Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 22, 2010 - 11:07am PT
We anticipated a fairly low angle approach but with lots of fresh powder,
So we brought our snowshoes ... heh.

The short 2 ½ mile approach starts at Loch Lomand trailhead:




I don’t get much sun out there …




Along the way we got a somewhat closer view of Evans and some nice local glades:


Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 22, 2010 - 11:22am PT
Mount Eva shows a prominent east ridge, and Whitter Peak is visible to the left:



It took us about two hours to get in to Loch Lomand, so we could get a look at Mount Bancroft.
By then the winds were quite severe:




Mount Bancroft’s East Ridge holds a nicely documented 4th and 5th class scrambling opportunity,
As well as a fifth class “indirect start”, done by Paul Gagner & Dougald Macdonald:



On this day, March 20, the powder was deep but the base layer on the road/trail was pretty thin, so we effectively walked in on our skis.
It only took a half an hour to glide out, and quite a lot of the powder snow had already been denuded, stripped from some of the more exposed rises by wind.
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 23, 2010 - 01:28am PT
Schah-Wing !!!
Made the BIG TIME today:



...and it ain't evun a proper TR: real feather in my cap, that bit.

(prolly just shows how low we've sunk)
mike m

Trad climber
black hills
Mar 23, 2010 - 02:00am PT
Nice pics that I recognize many from the other side, my bros have been in the WP area for about 20 years. Great country and looks pretty cragy once over the divide. Have any pictures of Lone Eagle? Cheers Mike
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 23, 2010 - 09:39am PT
Yes Mike, here are some perspectives of Lone Eagle Peak:

http://www.supertopo.com/climbers-forum/713289/A_Day_in_the_Rough_Apache_Peaks_Fair_Glacier
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 23, 2010 - 10:31pm PT
Drove down to Boulder via Gold Hill couple days ago …
Cute little historical town:






Just above is this nice plaque which delineates all the peaks in view from above town.
It so happens that the dial comprises virtually all of the Indian Peaks and everything in this thread!






Here’s the breakout of what can be seen, the views corresponding to the dial, following clockwise from the left:
(Representative photographs of the peaks in view, below each section of the dial, except the first)

James Peak to Devil’s Thumb




Mt Neva to Mt Audubon





Sawtooth Peak to St Vrain Mountain:




Meadow Mountain to Long’s Peak:


Chiloe

Trad climber
Lee, NH
Mar 23, 2010 - 10:44pm PT
These definitive TRs certainly earned that coveted "favorite" status.

Black Lake cirque was one of my favorite places, back in the old days. Scene of a few lifetime adventures, climbing big granite faces that had never been touched.

There's a slightly funny story about a very small granite face too, a little crag left of Spearhead that Roger and I climbed one day when we were too lazy to go big.

Years later, our route showed up with a different name in Bernard Gillett's guidebook (p.128), but I recognized it for sure from the faded topo I had sketched in my ancient copy of Walt Fricke.

Carry on!
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 23, 2010 - 10:46pm PT
Thanks for that little ditty Larry!


Some local color down in Gold Hill:









Chiloe

Trad climber
Lee, NH
Mar 23, 2010 - 10:59pm PT
Looks like a gen-u-ine winter out your way. We just had a fake winter here.
Chiloe

Trad climber
Lee, NH
May 6, 2010 - 07:23pm PT
No question, Roy's Colorado threads have been among my favorite things on the Taco.
Forest

Trad climber
Denver, CO
Jan 26, 2011 - 01:36pm PT
Good stuff bump
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 8, 2012 - 08:36pm PT
This thread could be useful.
Of course some snow would help too.
sempervirens

climber
Dec 9, 2012 - 12:56am PT
Saw this thread for the first time today. Great stuff, that's what supertopo is for.

My ski waxing technique needs improvement, good tips.

I must get to Colorado, never been, yet.
Eldora looks excellent, that's a lot of black diamonds.
Thanks!
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 9, 2012 - 03:06pm PT
Typical thin early-season sketch conditions today.
2° Fahrenheit this morning, 12° right here, right now in Nederville.

Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 9, 2012 - 03:26pm PT
Yes Sempervirens, Eldora is a handy midsized area.
One of our blacks is the first or second steepest run in the state.
I have been down it twice! (Once on my skis, once on my back).
zBrown

Ice climber
chingadero de chula vista
Dec 9, 2012 - 04:32pm PT
Blimp

I like this thread. I missed it somehow.
wilbeer

Mountain climber
honeoye falls,ny.greeneck alleghenys
Dec 9, 2012 - 05:14pm PT
thanks for posting tarbuster,i lived in boulder,i rode the peak to peak,sourdough,st.vrain,and columbine trails,bitd,also did a bit of skiing at eldora,arapahoe glaciers,and some near nederland. loved that area of boulder county,great pics ,takes me right back.
nature

climber
Boulder, CO
Mar 22, 2013 - 01:08pm PT
bump
maddog69

Trad climber
CO
Dec 4, 2018 - 06:09pm PT
Tarbuster,

I sent you an internal or private message but it looks those might not be working.

I am looking for some good advice for specific trails and adventures (and current conditions - 12/18) in your neck of the woods involving: A-T rigged alpine skis of no great specialty, half day or so schedules, fewer people (as on Sourdough/brainerd on weekends), minimal avvy risk and strictly: no major or technical descents.



Any info greatly appreciated Sir

Andy D.

Edit: I just found - not sure why my clicking skipped them- a few more of your awesome reports for exaclty these questions! I will probably start on the Niwot road since I know that lower area well. I am curious what happens if I just stay on the road all the way? Seems like mostly S facing slopes low avalanche risks above that track?




mike m

Trad climber
black hills
Dec 4, 2018 - 06:22pm PT
I had forgot about this thread. Going to give it a good look over now that I have been running around said peaks for the last 4 years.
mike m

Trad climber
black hills
Dec 4, 2018 - 06:46pm PT
Andy D I am assuming you have been to Moffit as you can ski many trails from there for up to 4 miles before it gets technical. Also good to go from allenspark and many areas in RMNP in winter. We also skied some stuff off the county road from Tolleville.
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 4, 2018 - 07:11pm PT
Mad Dog:

By Niwot Road, do you mean Research Station Road, which leads up to Niwot Ridge?
This is the ridge that separates the Boulder watershed on the south from the Brainard Lake area to the north.

I don't really recommend AT skis for most of this stuff: too clunky. All of this non-avy terrain touring is pretty much shuffling along on summer hiking trails. That means three pin skinny skis. Or whatever the new Nordic stuff is called.

The two trails I can think of which might feel more secure on AT skis would be the Heart Lake trail from Moffat Tunnel/East Portal starting point, or the Guinn Mountain trail accessed behind Eldora ski area by first starting up the Yankee Doodle Lake drainage.

Just call me up on my landline (same for you MikeM), I'm a house cat now and easy to reach: 303-25Eight-345Five.
That way we can just unroll our maps, so to speak, and talk about stuff.

It's all in this thread, of course, but it's not very well indexed.

That Tolland ski to which you are referring, Mike, is Apex Road.
It actually says no parking there. I've been told it's okay.
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 4, 2018 - 08:45pm PT
I like to think I'm looking for The Thing at McMurdo station in the Antarctic when I ski by those research stations.


[Click to View YouTube Video]

[Click to View YouTube Video]

[Click to View YouTube Video]
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 4, 2018 - 09:18pm PT
About 20 years ago in the spring I skied all the way out Niwot Ridge on light touring gear. The snow was sastrugi and it felt and looked like skiing over Plaster of Paris dove's swings. Eventually the skiing stops abruptly where the ridgeline attenuates.

There I took off my leather 75 mm Nordic Norm boots, fitted them into a stuff sack, and along with my skis and poles, strapped them to a marker pole where the ridgeline turns into a sharp rock spine heading toward the Continental Divide. I changed into leather mountaineering boots, and traversed the fourth class ridge for a ways. After slipping my ax from behind the shoulder strap of my rucksack, I dropped down into the watershed, plunge stepped across a snowy basin and then soloed Arikaree's North Ridge.

I had full mitts on, and wool gloves beneath, with little black dots of rubber under the fingertips. Where the rock became technical, about 5.4 on the Richter scale, I just took my hands out of the mitts, slipped my wrists through the cinch straps of the mitts, and climbed with more dexterity using the wool gloves. It was cold and it felt good to persevere.

It's an elegant climb: a narrow spine of stone shaped like the catenary curve of an old school mountain tent leads straight from the basin to the summit in an uninterrupted skyward arc, and presents no particular problems. The summit is tiny, and you stand atop a perfect pyramid, with four ridge lines fanning downward in all directions below. Quite a nice little mini adventure, if illegal. I've had lots of good solo days in those mountains. The Indian Peaks are my backyard!
mike m

Trad climber
black hills
Dec 5, 2018 - 05:23am PT
I think I did Nieot from the left hand drainage at Brainard. It was a beautiful ribbon of snow that dropped all the way to the lake on my birthday. Very cool up there. Roy I would love to look at some maps some day. Got out to caribou with John Madsen a couple of weeks ago. Want to do old Baley from there.
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 5, 2018 - 09:03am PT
Mike: my Gmail account is rcmcclenahan.

I've never gotten up onto Niwot from Left Hand.
I know there is a trail that connects, but it seems it might be rare that it is tracked in the winter?
mike m

Trad climber
black hills
Dec 5, 2018 - 03:38pm PT
I think this is from long lake then up the ridge on long run and then across the ridge to the top of Niwot Ridge My line follows those white line on the google earth screen shot. It made for a really nice long moderate run down. Not as extreme as doing Toll or Piutte.
mike m

Trad climber
black hills
Dec 5, 2018 - 04:02pm PT
A couple more from skiing Berthoud and Piutte.
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 5, 2018 - 04:36pm PT
Jeepers, Mike: you studly stud!
Pulling actual turns. I can't match that sh#t.

Nice shot of your tracks coming off of Niwot.
I walked that line in summer, coming down from a cirque tour, starting at Little Pawnee to Pawnee, then Shoshone, across the Chessmen, over Apache, Navajo, and down Niwot Ridge.

See that ridge ramble here:
http://www.supertopo.com/climbers-forum/481291/Blown-Out-Climber-Series-Ramblin-the-Rubblicious-Rockies

.....................................

You'll probably be game for skiing Skywalker on South Arapaho at some point?
Accomazzo is probably the guy you should be hooking up with ...
mike m

Trad climber
black hills
Dec 6, 2018 - 08:35am PT
I tried to ski skywalker last year by biking in early before the road was passable but last year there was not good coverage and I got tired of putting on and taking off my skis. Let alone unloading the bike trailer twice thinking I had gotten to continuous snow only to come around the corner on the forth of July road to see dry road all the way as far as I could see. Got to the trailhead eventually but a mile or so later I was sinking in to the snow up to my waist with skis on due to unconsolidated snow and warm temps I have done quite a bit of skiing but not continued to the top on many as I looks like you did Roy. Have summited Toll, Piaute, St Vrain, Parnassus via the Drainpipe, and Machebeuf with the skis though. Jack and I also came close to getting up Torrey's via the big couloir you see from I70. Got to the top of the snow but the 1/2 mile of rock hopping in ski boots was not going to happen.
mike m

Trad climber
black hills
Dec 6, 2018 - 08:50am PT
That trip looks cool Roy. Did you just wear approach shoes? No rope needed?
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 6, 2018 - 09:49am PT
Which trip, Mike? The Arikaree solo I wrote about just a few posts up? Leather mountain boots made by Mollitor.
For the linked thread, chronicling the traverse of the cirque that contains Long and Isabelle Lakes, a light weight scrambling/mountain boot, by Garmont.

Beginning in 1997, I did a whole bunch of those summer Indian Peaks scrambles & High Sierra scrambles in blue Robbins boots!

Most all of my solo trips except for one (in the Gore Range), no rope in the pack. No GPS, no cell phone (except for a big day on Apache Glacier), no SPOT device.
Just the carpenter's creed: measure twice, cut once. No mistakes. Rock & roll, baby!
mike m

Trad climber
black hills
Dec 8, 2018 - 07:59am PT
Skiing by Brainard. Last one is of James.
mike m

Trad climber
black hills
Dec 8, 2018 - 08:08am PT
Dumping on BerthoudSummit of Saint VrainShoulder of Mines on a powder day
Marlow

Sport climber
OSLO
Dec 8, 2018 - 08:11am PT

Fantastic TRs... coolness envisioned and visualized...
mike m

Trad climber
black hills
Dec 8, 2018 - 08:25am PT
Heading up Zero Gulley after a big dumpByers
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 8, 2018 - 08:28am PT
Fantastic TRs... coolness envisioned and visualized...

Thanks Marlow!
It's nothing less than a meticulously crafted online guidebook: done serial Trip Report style.

At some point I need to amend the OP with a usable index.

.....................................

Mike, I much like this image of yours:
mike m

Trad climber
black hills
Dec 8, 2018 - 09:23am PT
Thanks Roy. I think that was the day I did Niwot Ridge. It was crossing Long Lake and I think it was my B-day.
mike m

Trad climber
black hills
Dec 8, 2018 - 10:07am PT
Coming out of Seven Mile on Berthoud on a good powder day.
mike m

Trad climber
black hills
Dec 8, 2018 - 10:35am PT
Skiing over Russel and down Stanley Slide to the first switchback by Berthoud Falls
perswig

climber
Dec 8, 2018 - 04:25pm PT
I wanna be mike m.

Dale
mike m

Trad climber
black hills
Dec 8, 2018 - 05:25pm PT
By Rogers Lake
mike m

Trad climber
black hills
Dec 8, 2018 - 05:38pm PT
not my tracks but somebody got a beautiful line off the top of Jones Pass. Notice the snowboarder boot tracking up left of the decent line.Jack and I did a great little hill just above the Jones Pass parking lot.Perswig Roy's adventures are covering much more ground and are more inspiring to me. We were just going for the powder and try to get a summit here or there when we can while trying to avoid getting 'llanched.
mike m

Trad climber
black hills
Dec 8, 2018 - 05:57pm PT
On the other side of the divide.
mike m

Trad climber
black hills
Dec 9, 2018 - 07:51pm PT
Close to some summit on Butler PassPerry PeakDevil's Thumb
mike m

Trad climber
black hills
Dec 9, 2018 - 08:02pm PT
last two posts were Butler Gultch and Up on zero gully on Berthoud today. Perry’s Ann’s the whole frasure valley have a great snowcover right now.
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 10, 2018 - 08:27am PT
Wow. I'm digging these images. Most taken from vantage points on which I've never stood.
Like Devil's Thumb plastered with rime ice from the west side. Pretty darned sure it doesn't look like that on the east side right now!

And I also like this one in particular.
Where is this and what's the story?



And which ski hut is this?

mike m

Trad climber
black hills
Dec 10, 2018 - 09:40am PT
Roy the fireworks were at winter park on New Years or something I think. The hut is the Peter rabbit hut on Berthoud. Very cool little hut with a lot love by a lot of people over the years. Only stayed there one many years, but still live swinging by when touring it is up the drainage from the parking lot for the 80’s, 90’s and 110’s if you are familiar with the area.
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 10, 2018 - 09:51am PT
I rarely go over there to Winter Park.
Lisa and I used to skate ski at Devils Thumb & Snow Mountain Ranch, but it's been quite a long time. Maybe 10 years now.

Always heard there were some good summertime moderate, more cruisy mountain biking trails snaking in and around the downhill ski trails.
mike m

Trad climber
black hills
Dec 10, 2018 - 09:34pm PT
Lots of mountain biking over there. Have to say I have been disappointed in the mountain biking close to boulder.

Roy how do you feel about the proposed mt bike trail from Eldo to winter park?
Nick Danger

Ice climber
Arvada, CO
Dec 11, 2018 - 06:52am PT
Mike M for the win. Righteous pics and skiing, dude. thanks for posting up as it gets my stoke up (I'm just waiting for enough snow here in the Jemez Mtns.
cheers all
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 11, 2018 - 10:40am PT
I think that trail is a great idea, Mike!
Not that I can actually ride any of my bikes, mind you ...

The proposed trail takes travelers from Boulder up the Marshall Mesa Trailhead to Walker Ranch, from Walker Ranch west into the Peak-to-Peak trailhead in the West Magnolia trail system in Nederland, from Peak-to-Peak to the School Bus Trail close to the Eldora Ski Area, from the Top of School Bus Trail to Corona Pass, and finally into downtown Winter Park.

They are talking about it as a foregone conclusion, with a soft opening in 2022.
https://www.skyhinews.com/news/new-single-track-off-road-trail-will-extend-from-boulder-to-downtown-winter-park/

The trail I'd like to see happen, is the proposed one connecting Boulder to Nederland via that waterworks maintenance trail that parallels 119, on the south side of the creek.
mike m

Trad climber
black hills
Dec 11, 2018 - 03:41pm PT
I think the key for the eldo trail is having it start outside of eldo as there would be issues with parking and traffic I would imagine with all the new bikers, hikers ect. There is not enough the way it is now even at Doudy draw, but there does seem to be plenty of room to expand there.

If they are putting a new trail on the aqueduct have poke a few strategically placed holes in that thing while they are at it.

Here is one of the south shoulder on Audubon. Looks like some crazy ski lines here. I think this is Jasper
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 11, 2018 - 04:27pm PT
Yeah, Jasper for sure.
mike m

Trad climber
black hills
Dec 13, 2018 - 02:11pm PT
Jones PassAbove the 80's and 90's on Berthoud
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 14, 2018 - 10:48am PT
Wow, another really cool image here:


Two what does "above the 80s and 90s" refer?
mike m

Trad climber
black hills
Dec 14, 2018 - 04:28pm PT
The picture you reference is called Jones Brothers Chutes and is on a ridge between Butler Gulch and Jones Pass just up from Berthoud Falls. 80's and 90's are up Current Creek if I remember right on Berthoud Pass. These are very visible lines as you are driving back from Winter Park toward the front range just before you go over the pass. Here is another shot of the 80's. It is easy to do shuttles on this by getting 3-4 people dropped off toward the top of the pass and then traversing over to the top of these chutes. We can do a lap an hour or so.North Arapahoe looking so temping to ski but off limits. Come on boulder county.Toll
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 14, 2018 - 04:36pm PT
Mike, that's Sawtooth.
It sits at the western end of the St Vrain drainage, on the north side just east of Ogallala.

mike m

Trad climber
black hills
Dec 14, 2018 - 05:10pm PT
Ah yes. I did not think I was right but either way it looks like an interesting ski off the top. I have actually been below it going up the camp dick trail on my bike to the wilderness area.
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 14, 2018 - 05:53pm PT
Okay, I was wrong!
It is Sawtooth, but everything I said about it describes Elk Tooth. Ooops!

Sawtooth is actually South of Ogallala along the divide, just south of Buchanan pass.
Yes, you see it when you are heading west up the Middle Saint Vrain from Peaceful Valley/Camp Dick.
mike m

Trad climber
black hills
Dec 16, 2018 - 03:11pm PT
Would this be Elk Tooth? Looks very cool back there. Taken from Realization Point above flagstaff today.
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 16, 2018 - 04:18pm PT
Yeah, Ogallala on the left and Elk Tooth on the right.

Here's the beginning of a TR involving those two peaks:
http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.php?topic_id=481291&msg=487573#msg487573
mike m

Trad climber
black hills
Apr 28, 2019 - 07:37am PT
got out to Brainard Lake a couple of times the last week. Skied the short steep couloir above the lake to the southwest. Been thinking about doing it for years it was quite fun. We skied in last week but took bikes yesterday. Went for the crooked couloir on Audobon but the high winds and blowing snow got to us and we did not summit. So beautiful back there though. Going to miss this place.
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