Date: May 28, 2013
Team: Dav (solo)
Route: North Face Couloirs
With the spring skiing season winding down and my partners Ted and Christy having to go back to work, I still needed to play catch up on a few peaks that they had already skied in the past. Fortunately the snow in the northern and central mountains is holding up really well so there are still some good options for me. With Mt. Edwards in the Front Range done, I’m still hoping to get to ski 13,841′ Hagerman Peak in the Elks near Snowmass, 13.822′ Mt Silverheels near Hoosier Pass, and 13,870′ “North Carbonate” near Mt. Antero in the Sawatch Range. If I can get these done that will get me up to 30 Centennials skied this spring and leave a manageable chunk for next winter and spring to finish together with Ted and Christy.
I had to head to Denver for a Business of Fun Google+ Hangout with National Geographic Adventure at Battery 621 anyway so it made perfect sense to leave Aspen early, head up the Stevens Gulch road off I-70, and give Mt. Edwards a go. Originally I was just thinking I’d ski Edwards and be done and head down to Denver, but as I ascended Stevens Gulch around 7:30 am and Torreys big East Face came into view, I knew my plans would change. It has been 5 or 6 years since I’ve skied Torreys and I consider it one of the finer 14er ski descents in the Front Range, so why not just throw that one in for good measure. Since I was on my ultra-light Scarpa Alien carbon boots and Kastle TX77’s I had barely any weight with me and could move pretty fast. The Grays/ Torreys summer trail was frozen solid and had a great boot track so I actually cruised in my running shoes to the summit of Torreys in 1:54 and booted up in the cool morning air up top.
Instead of skiing the typical Dead Dog Couloir on Torreys I chose to ski the steeper and more interesting East Face, just skiers right of the Dead Dog. The Dead Dog was my very first 14er ski descent back in the spring of 1990 when I was a college freshman at CU and was rocking Scarpa T2’s and GS skis with tele bindings. I wish I had some photos of that. Anyway, it was a super fun descent and I traversed back into the Dead Dog at the bottom and then made a hard right and traversed to the East and over to the base of Mt. Edwards, hitting this fun, steep little couloir along the way on the little ridge that comes off Grays….
Mt. Edwards has all sorts of options on it’s north face and I chose to climb up a line on the western side of the north face that tops out maybe 400 yards west of the summit. It’s the little couloir that heads up to an open snow face and the saddle lookers right of the summit of Edwards… (and my descent route goes lookers left off the summit and then diagonals back lookers right into the nice, direct couloir below the summit and down the wide apron to the bottom).
I hit the summit ridge and followed the tracks of some locals (goats) the rest of the way to the top. The video below shows the summit ridge and arriving on top…
It wasn’t the warm spring corn of Torreys East Face but it wasn’t totally bone-rattling either. Being alone I skied conservatively and enjoyed the tight couloir immensely. The out back to the Stevens Gulch TH and the ski down the road another mile to the car was fast and easy, making for a round trip time of exactly 4 hours. All in all a perfect outing in the Colorado mountains.
Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more adventures late this week.