#34 Atlantic Peak – 13,841 ft.

Date: April 6, 2013
Team: Christy, Ted
Route: East Face & Couloir

atlantic peak, ski, 13ers

Christy in the couloir on Atlantic.


We started off the spring 2013 Centennial Skiing season with a trip to Atlantic and Pacific peaks. These two high 13ers, just south of Breckenridge, are part of the Tenmile Range and are easily seen from I-70 as it nears Copper Mountain. Access for peaks in this range is very good, with multiple trailheads and somewhat short approaches. And since these two peaks are connected by a high ridge, they’re a good pair to do together.

The map shows our approach to the two peaks. We opted to come in from the east, starting from the popular Quandary Peak trailhead and following the snow-covered road and the trail up McCullough Gulch. This part of the state is often windy, and as far as ski routes go, the wind-scoured west side of these mountains is often thin on snow and the east aspects can fill in nicely. As we made our way up the valley, we could see multiple ski lines on the east side of Atlantic Peak.

mccullough gulch

The approach up McCullough Gulch. Atlantic Peak and its couloirs can be seen out ahead.

It was straightforward skinning up to a high bench between the two peaks, and then up the South Ridge of Pacific to the summit (for more on Pacific read here). After coming off Pacific we made out way up the North Ridge of Atlantic. The weather was in-and-out at this point (there was a small storm forecasted to arrive), and we often found ourselves in mini squalls and high winds. The weather pounded us as we skinned up the ridge of Atlantic to a spot on its leeward side, and out of the elements.

The ski down Atlantic was awesome. The route off the summit was mellow-angled and powdery, after which we dropped into an east facing couloir that we viewed earlier that morning. The spring weather that we’ve been witnessing recently has done a lot to solidify the snowpack on these sunny aspects. After exiting the couloir we made good time back out to the trailhead.

Not only were these two descents a great way to start off the season for Christy and me, but Atlantic would also be something we’d recommend to others in the future. The east side of this mountain has a lot of fun skiing. The access is really good here, the approach is reasonable in effort, and the terrain is fairly moderate for what ski mountaineering can involve. Give this area a visit.

Here are some more photos:

ski 13ers, atlantic peak, christy mahon

Skiing off the summit of Atlantic Peak.

ski 13ers, atlantic pacific peak,

The weather and wind would be pretty intense when it came through.

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Another shot of the couloir on Atlantic.

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Looking back up from below.

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________

Date: April 30, 2013
Team: Dav, Pete Gaston, Max Taam
Route: Fletcher to Atlantic to Pacific to Crystal

It’s best summed up by the Trimble map.

In short, we skied the east side of Fletcher Mountain, then traversed up and over towards Atlantic Peak. From Atlantic we descended north towards Pacific Peak, climbing to its summit and skiing the steep NE Couloir. From there, a fourth skin put us atop Crystal Peak, where we skied the East Face down towards Francie’s Cabin and down to the road where we caught a ride back to the car at McCullough Gulch, the start of our day.

Four Centennial 13ers in one push– this was a great day in the mountains.

fletcher mountain, ski 13ers

Looking down from the summit at the upper East Face of Fletcher. The line descends through the small couloir at center.

Max Taam, mount fletcher

Max Taam lower on Fletcher’s East Face.

pete gaston, max taam, ski 13ers, fletcher mountain

Max and Pete Gaston using their rando gear for something other than racing.

NE Couloir Pacific Peak, max taam, pacific peak

The NE Couloir on Pacific Peak. Max Taam skiing.

pete gaston, pacific peak

Pete Gaston lower down in the couloir on Pacific.

Pacific peak NE couloir

Pacific Peak and the NE Couloir.

Chris Davenport, ski 13ers, fletcher mountain

A closing POV shot from a GoPro skiing through the tight spot on Fletcher.

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