#9 Cathedral Peak – 13,943 ft.
Date: May 7, 2013
Team: Ted, Dav, Mark Falender, Linden Mallory
Route: Pearl Couloir
The Pearl Couloir on Cathedral Peak, 13,943 ft., should be on every Colorado ski mountaineer’s ticklist. Aesthetically speaking, it’s long, fairly steep, and with big rock walls and colorful spires. From a safety perspective, it’s wide enough for a group to ski comfortably and not be on top of one another, and there are ample nooks and corners to get out of the way of any hazards from above, both on the climb and descent.
When you consider the accessibility of other valleys in Aspen– Maroon, Snowmass, Capitol creeks or Independence Pass– the road access is very good, and the tour to the picturesque Cathedral Lake is worth a trip in itself. Were it not for the fact that the couloir doesn’t top out at the exact summit, this would likely be one of the most premiere summit ski descents in the Elks.
However you measure it, when you ski it you’ll agree– the Pearl Couloir is a classic.
Our route of ascent and descent is above. Disregard the third, straight line from the mountain to trailhead, an error with the iphone’s GPS and obviously not an actual route of travel.
Date: Mothers’ Day 2008
Team: Christy, Ted
Route: Southeast Face
[Christy and Ted skied Cathedral back in 2008. Here’s a report from the day.]
A sunny Mothers’ Day Sunday in Aspen, and during the spring of a huge snow year. Christy and I set out for Cathedral Peak.
We hooked up with a gang of friends from town and headed up to Cathedral Lake. Our goal was the Pearl Couloir of Cathedral, an area classic and sweet objective by itself. At the top of the couloir however, Christy and I would continue on up and over to Cathedral’s true summit, and ski it’s Southeast Face. (The map above details our ascent route.)
For beta, the Pearl is straightforward, but to connect it’s top with the true summit, expect a few mixed climbing moves on standard loose Elk Range rock, and a pretty airy traverse. Having skied Cathedral peak now three times myself, I find it better to climb the ski line itself direct from the lake– it’s no more committing, and you’ll get a good sense of the route and snow conditions for the descent. Since several seemingly good routes off the top cliff out, some recon of the route is usually a good idea.
Either way, we had a great climb, and a somewhat sloppy spring powder ski descent.