I just got off the phone with one of the editors of Powder Magazine. Toward the end of the interview she asked me this: “So when Chris Davenport calls you and invites you to join him on his lastest ambitious project, you drop everything and make it happen?” “Absolutely.”
If you’re unfamiliar with Chris Davenport, do yourself a favor and check him out. World Champion Extreme Skier, Everest Climber, Antarctica Guide, and the only person to have skied all 54 of Colorado’s 14,000′ peaks in a single year, his resume as a skier and mountaineer is second to none. Some successful stalking on my part yielded an invite to climb a couple of Volcanos with Chris when he was in my home state of Washington last spring. This year Chris set his sights back on his back yard, the Colorado Rockies with a new project. Named the Centennial Skiers project, Chris, Ted Mahon and Christy Mahon are attempting to be the first people to ski the 100 tallest peaks in Colorado, all of which are over 13,800′ in elevation. I was honored to be invited to join the mission for ten days. I am proud and lucky to have knocked off 11 spectacular ski descents during my visit, while Chris, Ted and Christy have now completed over 80 of the 100 peaks.
I’m still on the road, making a journey from Aspen, CO back to Seattle via the most photogenic route I can devise. As I go, I’ll try to share a few blog posts sharing the photos and brief stories from my adventures on the Centennial Skiers project. Here’s the first. Two amazing days in the San Juan Mountains near the town of Silverton, Colorado.
I gave myself 3 days to drive to Colorado. The first stretch was Seattle to City of Rocks, Idaho. The second was Idaho to Moab, Utah, and finally from Moab to Silverton on the 3rd day. Each place was spectacular in its way and deserves further exploration at a future date, but in this case, I had work to do.
I arrived in Silverton early in the evening, as greeted by Chris, Ted and Christy on their way to the bar for a quick drink. Perfect timing. The next morning we woke to clear skies and made the short drive to the trailhead at the valley below our objective, Vermillion Peak. A San Juan classic, Vermillion is steep, rugged and bright red in color. In distinctly spring-like conditions we climbed and skied the Vermillion Dollar Couloir. It was a beauty. The whole story with maps and more photos are on the Centennial Skiers Blog.
The following day was a different story indeed. Overnight, a storm system moved through and dropped 6 inches of snow. From an aesthetic standpoint, this was a welcome change, turning the reddened and dirty snow of the previous day into a fresh white canvas. From a skiing standpoint we were no less enthused. Skiing spring snow is nice, skiing powder is nicer. On this day we were blessed with the latter on the long gullies of Jones Mountain. Check out the whole story here. For my part, I’ll let the photos tell the rest of the story
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