14er Ski Descents – Mount Evans – April 11, 2000
Route: West Ridge
Team: Ted (solo)
Some of the hardest days were the ones I expected to be the easiest.
I thought Evans from Guanella Pass would be a gimme. It had snowed a few inches the night before, which made the approach/ski line, when viewed from the car, to look good and snowy. I skinned from the truck up the gradual slope west of Evans and Mt. Spaldings summit. It wasn’t long before I realized the snow wasn’t too deep, actually, it was quite thin, and the rocks were barely covered. Failing to think ahead, I proceeded further, thrashing my skins on the rocks underneath. I clumsily made my way up the slope until I was no longer on a skiable surface, but rather rock, covered with a dusting of fresh snow. Not good.
I decided to ditch the skis and walk to the summit. Slippery snow covered scree, in alpine ski boots, is not only slow and tedious but could also be dangerous were a fall to occur. It was so slow, that by the time I returned from the summit, the sun had melted much of the new snow, and the slope I had ascended had been transformed into a scree field. I had to carry my skis down! What a nightmare. Except for a few stretches of rocky and barely skiable snow, I walked back to the truck.
No summit ski, skins and skis thrashed, and with a headache from dehydration — a hellish day overall. I never expected so much from Evans and I began to learn my lesson on preparation. Through the years I would find that the days I planned on being easy often surprised me, and the days I psyched myself out for, were the ones that came with the least trouble.
Despite summiting and starting on skis, this effort did not count as a ski descent. I would return here in 2005 to ski from the summit on its East Side, and to repeat that route in 2006 with Chris Davenport and in 2009 with Christy.