Date: April, 20, 2019
Team: Chris Davenport, Pete & Jordie Gaston, Mike Arnold
Route: Northeast Couloir
Centrally located in the Elk Mountains outside of Aspen is Willow Peak, 13,336 ft. It’s a great ski peak, with a couple of different lines and awesome views of the Elk Range 14ers.
About ten years ago, a group of us made the trip to ski Willow Peak’s big South Face. It required snowmobiling up the Maroon Creek Road to Maroon Lake, and a fairly big up-and-over to Willow Lake before we could even start to climb the mountain itself. That trip was covered in a post here.
More recently, five of us went to ski a different line on Willow, the Northeast Couloir. We took a different approach this time, from the Snowmass ski area. A fun skin along the ridge from the Cirque, over Baldy, towards Willow, gave us the fastest access to the couloir.
It’s an approach that works on the right day (in terms of weather and temperatures) where you can ride the ski lifts of Snowmass to reach about 12,500 ft., and then hustle over to Willow Peak before it gets too hot.
We exited over Willow Lake to Maroon Creek Road and down to T Lazy 7 Ranch. We shuttled a car there earlier that morning. Here are some photos:
The next time you’re looking for a new, novel peak to ski in the Maroon Bells zone, consider Willow Peak.