Note: This trip report is part of the TetonAT Trip Report Contest. Alex is now in the running to win a FREE pair of Black Diamond skis based on viewer response and the TetonAT panel of judges! Good luck Alex!!
Fleeting patches of sun during a rest stop on the pass.
So I loaded up Wednesday afternoon after finishing (and in my case failing) exams and headed towards the San Juan Mountains from Colorado College. After a nice sunset and required photo session at on Monarch Pass we managed to find an Asian all you can eat buffet. Then we found the most affluent Outdoor Recreation Committee (a stuck up sounding compared to Outing Club) accommodations ever at some motel. Really all eight of us were jammed into one room with all out gear. There was talk about sleeping in the van so alt least or boots would have enough space that they could stay warm in the room, but me managed. After a few wrong turns we managed to find the local San Juan Hut System office and snag the keys.
It was a six mile skin in on an absolutely beautiful day especially in such a cool range. After about three miles we ran into one of the caretakers of the hut system coming down with a couple friends. They gave us some hints on where to ski and left us a nice path down through several inches of fresh powder we had been trudging up through. We arrived to the Ridgeway hut late-ish in the afternoon, but it was still light out.
Getting distracted by the view.
On Friday we started out by reviewing our avalanche education with beacon searches by the hut, and then we headed skinned up the ridge that the hut manager recommended. Unfortunately we didn’t still have the blue skies that we had skinned in under. Even down around the hut we experienced a little whoomphing which didn’t bode well for too much exploration. After a rutschblock test we decided treeline was the highest we would travel due to a lovely looking sheer face above us and few other options. Thus we couldn’t explore the upper reaches of Mount Sneffles that day and as it turned out the rest of the trip.
Eddie shows off his telemarking skills.
While one crew was making up dinner some fools decided that building a kicker above the hut would be a nice idea.
If the helmet and goggles form the “gaper-gap”…
what would this one be called?
The Saturday it was nice and bright out, so we headed up to the same ridge. Again we made it to the top and looked longingly up at the peak only to have the snow whoomph under our feet again.
Why do you have to taunt us so?
We headed down an had a lot of fun in a gully just a bit further over than we had previously skied, but still only managed one run.
Crash in progress…please stand back!
We headed down towards the hut and while some people decided to hit a kicker that we had built the day before Andrew and I decided to head up into the lower trees and see if we could find a small yoyo-ing run. Not quite epic, but still in the category of fail. Bushwhacking on a 5º slope gives you no downhill momentum. So we came back and hit the jump. I tried to throw a 360 my second time down and only made 180, but I somehow kinda landed switch and almost hit someone. And that was enough jumping for me.
Skinning out underneath a pretty nice view.
Oh, and the local cross country skiers had groomed all the flat stuff out
so it was nice and fast.
Sunday we had to get up relatively early and skin out if we were ever going to make it back to school at a reasonable hour, and there was almost a naked skiing incident but we were intercepted by the locals too fast. And then we headed back to Colorado Springs. We passed the prison, NORAD and then we were back on campus after a trip well done.
Two of the best days of skiing in my life for the same price as one lift ticket. Check!