Sometimes you just have to play the hand you’re dealt.
Not that skiing isn’t one of my favorite things to do, but after six or seven months of winter, the arrival of summer is definitely welcome. As we all know though, nature doesn’t always follow a set schedule and this year’s prolonged snowy spring was a good example of that– summer really didn’t seem to declare itself until just a few days ago. In fact there’s still so much snow, even Aspen Mountain is set to be open this weekend.
So rather than fight the trend, we’re still skiing. Earlier in the week, after some flakes fell in town on Memorial Day, Chris Davenport– just back from a successful expedition to climb Mount Everest that included a rare ski descent of the Lhotse Face— made the call to head up to North Maroon Peak, where we found conditions to be more like March than June.
Until things dry out around here, the ski season will likely play out a bit longer. And if all the days are like this one, we should have no problem making the best of it.
Stacked with snow, including a few inches from the night before, Chris approaches the big North Face of the “relatively” small mountain. Just ten days earlier Dav was atop Mount Everest, and it was great to catch up and hear all the stories from his expedition.
After catching up to a solo skier from Colorado Springs (seen below), we took the lead booting up the North Face. Despite being in front of Dav here, his acclimatization from the Himalaya was no doubt still working to his advantage. We managed to make the round trip climb and ski in five and a half hours.
I seized every opportunity to get in front and snap pics, so that I at least had a couple that didn’t show me off the back, as I was for most of the climb.
Welcome back, Chris.
Its status as one of the “Fifty Classics” was verified.
I thought the Garmont Masterlite boots he wore to be a bit light and soft for the day, but I guess when you consider he recently skied the harrowing Lhotse Face in them as well, they’d work just fine here.
The fun-filled morning was only made better by making it back to town in time for breakfast at Jour de Fete. And for others wondering, despite the calendar now reading June, the route should be good for a while longer.
It had been two weeks since Christy and I had skied down in the San Juans and although we were wearing shorts in Aspen now, our friend in Telluride insisted we could still ski the classic Northeast Face of Wilson Peak.
As always, thanks for sharing. What a day. Glad to see there’s tons of snow still–if that’s a good thing! Looks like it is.
Nice posting. U guys are amazing? You passed a “solo” hiker…is that unusual that someone would tackle a tour like that alone?
It might not be a great idea if something were to go wrong, but there are plenty of solo, Aron Ralston types out there.
conditions look superb. what a year!
It was great to meet you two on N. Maroon! You guys were machines, climbing that face! I stood on the summit wondering if you were looking back at me from the PARKING LOT 🙂 I posted a TR on 14ers.com, check it out http://www.14ers.com/php14ers/tripreport.php?trip=9985
AspenSpin, if I had to choose between skiing N. Maroon solo or with a partner I would have gone with a partner. However, there are a lot of things that could go wrong on that mountain that a partner would not be able to help me with. Playing it safe means not skiing N. Maroon at all. You have to weigh your risks, you know? Although, I do admit that I have a bit of an innate inclination to hit the mountains in solitude.
Mike- Glad you got it done and glad you popped in here to say hello. It was a great morning up there for sure.
You’re right about the solo thing, it’s one of those spots where if something went really wrong, a partner wouldn’t be able to do much. But they do help with taking turns kicking steps.
And nice writeup, Mike.