14er Ski Descents – Snowmass Mountain – May 21, 2006
Route: West Face
Team: Ted, Christy, Dirk Bockelmann
Take two. I skied “on” Snowmass Mountain back in 2002, but couldn’t claim it as a summit descent. So after Pikes Peak last week, I rallied Dirk and Christy for what has become our annual Memorial Day Weekend 14er ski trip and we headed over to Marble. A new side of the mountain (in ’02 I was on the east side) would allow this trip to have a more exciting feel than a redo typically does, plus it is an easier approach than the eight mile Snowmass Creek slog.
The snow closure was at the shelf section of the Lead King Basin Road. Not bad, we could pack into Geneva Lake in good time and be setup at camp on the early side. It was a fun afternoon hanging around the camp.
The next morning we were up and out early, but in late May it is rarely early enough. The standard delusions of grandeur took over the afternoon before when we decided to try first for the east side of Siberia Peak before climbing and skiing the west side of Snowmass. Were it not so warm and sunny, it might have happened. Regretfully we decided to bail on the Siberia plan below the summit once we realized the extra time needed could actually cost us the Snowmass summit. Maybe some other time— it’s a cool, remote mountain.
The west facing couloirs of Snowmass were in good melt/freeze and thus easy to crampon. With an afternoon (or noon) sunhit we had ample time to make the summit and wait for the snow to soften. It was sweet to get to check this peak off the list properly, with great weather, snow and partners. It was a cool descent.
Once at the base of the west couloirs, I managed to find the skins stashed and mistakenly left behind by Davenport and Mike Cuseo while skiing here back in April. I got a thank you from Dav while on Evans a few days later.