#32 Mount Oklahoma 13,845 ft.
Date: May 22, 2013
Team: Dav, Ted, Dr. Jon Kedrowski, Scott Rinckenberger
Route: East Face Couloirs
In the forefront of our thoughts this day were the victims of the tornado that struck Oklahoma earlier this week.
Tragedies such as this serve as a reminder of how precious life is, and how it is too often cut short by unexpected events. Our thoughts and prayers go out for the victims of the tornado.
We had a great day on this Centennial summit. It’s central location in the state affords commanding views of most of the state– from the Elks to the Gores to the San Juans. But even being able to see far away mountains, what stood out to us was how much snow was right where we were– the Sawatch– and how little dust and dirt was present. That makes for better skiing, better photos, and a longer season. That’s good news for those who haven’t yet hung up their gear for the summer, it should be possible to ski well into June on the north faces of some of these peaks.
See you out there.
Date: June 8 & 9, 2013
Route: Oklahoma’s East Ridge to Halfmoon Lake, Casco’s East Face, French’s South Face
Team: Christy, Lissa Ballinger, Anda Smalls
We’re pretty sure everyone has gotten over hearing about skiing at this point, but the snow just continued to hang on in the Sawatch Range so I was able to check off a few more peaks this past weekend. I had missed Mt. Oklahoma, Casco Peak, and French Mountain when Ted and Dav had skied them back in May, and had hoped I could get them done before the snow disappeared. The snow was definitely getting thin but still allowed for some really good last turns of the season.
On Saturday, Lissa Ballinger and I left Aspen at 4:30am to ski Mount Oklahoma, starting from the North Halfmoon Trailhead, following the trail to the lakes, and then gaining the summit ridge. Ted, Dav, and Jon Kedrowski had also done Oklahoma this way, which seems to be the most straightforward. We had great corn on the broad, east face and skied right back to the trail where we had switched from trail shoes to ski boots.
Chris, Ted, and I have all been trying to get ready for Lake City 50 miler next weekend, cramming in the running miles when we can. So back at the car, Lissa and I switched to running gear and drove the short way over to Turquoise Lake for a perfect 12+ mile loop around the lake before calling it a day. The trail around the lake offers amazing views of the surrounding peaks and runs along the sandy beaches for 6 miles, making it a really scenic run and fun way to enjoy Leadville.
The alarm went off again at 4:00am on Sunday, for one more day of backcountry skiing. Anda Smalls and I headed back to the same area to tag Casco and French before hangin’ them up for the season. We started at the French/Casco trailhead on Halfmoon Creek, just two miles past the Mount Massive Trailhead, the latter of which was overflowing with cars. Funny though, we didn’t see anyone all day. We had the beautiful basin all to ourselves for the and enjoyed every moment to its fullest.
That’s going to do it for the 2013 spring season for us, and what a good spring we had. Chris, Ted, and I are all near 85 Centennial Peaks skied (83, 85, and 84 respectively), which puts us in a good position to possibly finish next spring. It would help to have a more typical winter that the past two, but no matter how the snow comes in in 2014, we’re going to give it our best shot.
Next season will be here before we know it! Thanks for following along.