As the last legitimate spring skiing conditions come to a close across the western US, I wanted to squeeze in one final post covering the series of peaks I skied with the intrepid Centennial Skiers in Colorado. For more background and previous outings, check out here and here.
After a great time on Mount Oklahoma, we had a couple more classic adventure in store in the Sawatch Range. The first came in the form of a double header on Ice Mountain and North Apostle. The Refrigerator Couloir on Ice proved the most classic big mountain descent of the trip despite the windy and firm snow conditions, while the North Apostle provided a casual cool-down on perfect corn all the way to the valley floor. Not a bad day in the rockies.
At the crack of dawn the following day we tossed our packs on and started a steep, switchbacking hike up the trail directly out the door of the RV. With relatively low expectations (but surprisingly fun results) for Emerald Mountain, our objective for the day, we decided to throw in a neighboring 14er for good measure and timed things perfectly for a smoking fast corn run on the north couloirs of Missouri.
Upon reaching the RV, we made ready to sail southward toward the Sangre de Cristo range for an early start the next morning on California Peak. Cali proved a quick jaunt despite its many false summits and we were able to bag our first tennis-shoe summit of the trip. Despite the dry ground all the way up the north ridge that allowed for a ski-less approach, the east face delivered yet another creamy corn fest.
My final mission with the crew proved both the longest and most aesthetic, with a fantastic bit of skiing thrown in for good measure. A 14 mile day traversing three different basins, this route put us right in the middle of some of Colorado’s most spectacular alpine scenery in the form of Crestone Peak, the Crestone Needle and Kit Carson Peak. Our objective, Columbia Point is a minor summit of Kit Carson and dished up mind blowing views of the surrounding mountains and even down to the spectacular Great Sand Dunes National Park at the foot of the peaks.
A big thanks to Chris Davenport, Ted Mahon and Christy Mahon for graciously inviting me to join their project. My 9 days of joining the gang yielded 11 peaks over 13,800′ and a solid introduction to the classic ski touring destinations of Colorado.
Also, check out the recent article in Powder for more of my photos and the tale of my involvement in this amazing mission. As it stands, the crew are all within 16 peaks of making history as the first to ski all of Colorado’s 100 tallest mountains. They’re hoping for a completion next spring, and if all goes well, I’ll be right there to tell the story.