Thursday, May 26, 2011

Poop For Brains Couloir Ski - 5.13.2009

Crew: Jordan Scheremeta, Josh Nunnamaker & I
Date: 5.13.2009

Jordan, Josh and I set off from the CDOT shed by A-Basin with the goal of skiing Shit for Brains Coulior. There are 2 routes for skiing Shit for Brains, either by climbing directly up it, or by climbing the ridge that rises directly east of the CDOT shed to the ridge above Shit for Brains then following that ridge South to the top of the couloir. We choose to follow the ridge to the top primarily because I was concerned we would not be moving very fast and did not want to be stuck in the middle of the line if other people were to descend from above or if temperatures warmed rapidly. Apparently this short ridge top traverse involves a bit of scrambling, which I was really quite excited about, hopefully I’ll get to do it someday! From the beginning things moved slowly as Jordan’s Trekkers quickly imploded. However, most of the climb is too steep for skiing anyways, especially given the hard spring crust we were travelling on.

A fun steeper bit

Josh looks north towards Loveland Pass

I really enjoyed the climb, the broad ridge on the way up was fun to follow, and provided good views of Clear Creek County to the North, Summit County, and A-Basin ski area. Given the firm snow conditions I moved ahead of Jordan and Josh planning on meeting them at the top before the short scrambling segment over to the couloir entrance. The climb took me 2.5 – 3 hours where I then waited for Jordan and Josh who showed up an hour later. The views from the ridge between Lenawee and Grizzly Peak are quite awesome, you can see in all directions with nice views of the Chihuahua Lake Basin to the south and east and the south flanks of Grays and Torreys to the East. This is a really cool basin that I would really like to check out in the future. I think that the Chihuahua basin area probably offers some great short terrain, which could be easily sledded into from Montezuma. I also think that the tuning forks on the south west face of Grays probably offer the longest vertical off it, with the closest descent to the summit.

East towards Torreys, Grays, and Chihuahua Basin
Despite the slightly breezy conditions, I thought that the short traverse along the ridgeline would take us a while, and I was already worried that we were getting later in the day then I wanted to descend. Given this we decided to descend the chutes just north of Shit for Brains. I’m calling them Poop for Brains, I think they have a more official name, but I can’t remember it at the moment. This provided the same vertical and pitch as SFB, but not quite the same inset into the rock of SFB. Just as I have experienced with SFB the snow was really not that stellar, which I suspect is an effect of the westerly aspect and its associated wind and afternoon sun.



Intersecting SFB

Looking back up

A cat track back to the car? How convenient!
Overall a good ski, not as aesthetic as SFB, but a good, lower consequence alternative that still provides good vertical, pitch and views. In retrospect, given the consistently low snow quality in this zone I would probably only ski this as a backup option for SFB. 


  1. If you haven't been up there yet, Montezuma offers some good sled access to fun looking stuff. The downside is that it takes forever to get there from the front range, relatively speaking. But i suppose that's why it remains one of the few uncrowded trailheads in the area, and locals sure like it that way.

  2. Thanks for the comment Nick! I have not checked out Montezuma yet, at this point I'm kind of doubting I will make it up there this year. But, it certainly sounds like a sweet zone, especially with a sled. On concern I do have w/ that area is the generally shallower snowpack there and its associated higher avalanche risk.