Route: Northeast “Moonshine” Couloir
Team: Christy, Ted, Joey Giampaolo
We’re getting into the late innings of the spring ski season. It’s usually around this time that backcountry skiers collectively head to the mountains of Colorado that got the most snow through the season. After an El Nino pattern the call might be to head down to the San Juans. Other years that see good upslope storms, the Sangre de Cristos or Rocky Mountain National Park might be the place to ski. This year, one of the winners in terms of snowpack was the I-70 corridor and the Tenmile/Mosquito Range. So we went to ski a peak in that area we had been looking at for a while– Mount Arkansas.
Located right off the highway by Fremont Pass, this high 13er is the official high point of the Arkansas River Basin. It not only has easy access, but it also has what is considered to be one of the steepest couloirs in this range. Dubbed the Moonshine Couloir (an Arkansas reference), the northeast facing line is pretty committing– steep and corniced at the top.
We had caught a glimpse of the Moonshine Couloir after our recent ski of nearby Mount Tweto and thought it looked good. Certainly worth a closer inspection. Here’s what we found: