#43 Mount Silverheels 13,822 ft.

Date: June 2, 2013
Team: Christy, Ted, Colleen Ihnken (Dav skied Silverheels solo on June 4, 2013)
Route: North Face

Some years the spring season wraps up around late May, but this year’s April snowstorms have kept some skiing options open later. Since we’re still staring at a sizable list of Centennial Peaks to ski if we hope to finish next year, any extra summits we can still get are a welcome bonus. To start off this “June Bonus Round” we went to Mount Silverheels.

The map above shows out tour of Silverheels. Switch the view to “terrain” to see the contours, and then click the waypoints to see images from those locations.

Mount Silverheels, centennial skiers, christy mahon

The North Face of Mount Silverheels. That’s Quandary out to the right.

We were happy to get this one done. It isn’t that it’s technically challenging, hard to reach, or that it falls in the category of being an interesting summit. We’ve found in our experiences here (and Colleen attested to it as well as a former Alma resident who lived right across the valley) that Silverheels can be brutally windy. Earlier this spring Christy and I were forced to turnaround when the winds proved to be too much. The short video below shows what it was like at our turnaround point. Turn the volume on for full effect.

It was a sunny day yet we could barely stand, let alone skin, and we were only at 12,000 feet on the South Ridge. In 2002 I was also forced to abort because of wind, and Christy had similar experiences when she hiked here a few years back. On the wrong day Silverheels is simply impossible to ski, and judging by some of the wind-sculpted Bristlecones in the area, it’s clear that this would also be a really tough place to grow up as a tree.

Mount Silverheels, centennial skiers, christy mahon

Suess-like crooked trees have conceded to the unrelenting winds. We fully surrendered shortly after this photo was taken, back in April.

The three of us were thankful to catch well covered, in calm conditions, and with good snow. And it was great to get out with our old race friend (and Global Extremes teammate) Colleen. Christy, Dav and I are still eying a few more summits for the June Bonus Round, but from the looks of things up high, in another two weeks time things will probably be done for 2013.

It’s been a good spring. Thanks for following along,

Ted

Mount Silverheels, centennial skiers

Climbing the West Ridge, with the hulking mass of Bross, Cameron, and Lincoln in the distance.

Mount Silverheels, centennial skiers

Christy’s excited to be feeling good. The day before Christy and Colleen both ran the Golden Gate Dirty 30 (50k) run outside of Golden and were unsure of how they would feel here this morning, the next day.

Mount Silverheels, centennial skiers, christy mahon

And in addition to feeling good after the race, this summit also put Christy in the “just teens to go” part of the list. She has 19 Centennial Peaks left to ski.

Mount Silverheels, centennial skiers, colleen ihnken

On the summit.

Mount Silverheels, centennial skiers

It was a little thin off the top, but once on the north side, we found a great corn line all the way down to Beaver Creek.

Mount Silverheels, centennial skiers

We’re told these north facing lines don’t come in every year. The big upsloping spring storms deserve the credit for the ski line today.

Mount Silverheels, centennial skiers

It was a perfect June corn run.

Mount Silverheels, centennial skiers

From Beaver Creek (the valley in view), a short skin brought us up to Scott Gulch, which we took back down to the road.

Mount Silverheels, centennial skiers

We climbed the ridge from the right, and skied the North Face, as indicated.

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