Horsehoe Mountain – 13,898 ft.
Date: Oct. 31, 2009
Team: Christy, Ted
Route: Boudoir Couloir
After a string of fall storms brought snow to much of the state, winter has been on everyone’s mind. Usually we’re excited to pull the gear out of the closet and head up to Castle Peak’s Montezuma Basin for some early season skiing but for some reason we weren’t feeling too motivated by the prospect. We wanted to do something different.
My goal of climbing the 100 tallest peaks in Colorado is in its homestretch. The weekend before last I got one more behind me by slogging up Mount Silverheels, leaving me with only three to go. We figured that of the three remaining, Horseshoe Mountain might make a good weekend/Halloween outing so off we went. Horseshoe Mountain is in the Mosquito Range, between the towns of Leadville and Fairplay and just south of the 14er Mount Sherman.
Unfortunately, there have been an unusually high number of reported avalanche accidents and incidents this season already. We hoped to stay off that list so we weren’t looking for anything too spicy and thought Horseshoe, with a couple of routes to pick from, would be a reasonably safe outing. And since it was the summit we were after and not a thrilling ski descent, we could bring the skis and see what we found and make the call then. If it was too thin we could leave them behind. Horseshoe was on the receiving end of recent storms but it’s also famous for high winds, and we weren’t sure if the new snow had been blown all the way to Nebraska, as is often the case. In sum– we wanted some snow, but not too much. And that’s exactly what we found, so we went skiing.