Thursday, July 16, 2015

5, 4, 3, 1 - 5.2.2015

By early May the already shallow low-elevation snowpack was melting out. Higher, there was still snow, but getting there was a challenge. The other issue was the convective showers that had been passing through each afternoon. Had the precip fallen as snow or rain?

We decided to try the Front Range, planning to test snow conditions in the S Coulior before heading for bigger sheltered north facing lines. As we started to climb the S Couloir, snow conditions were not ideal: a thin rain crust underlain by as much as 9 inches of graupel. Maybe it would be better higher? Nope.


Reaching an spatially variable windslab high in the couloir, we called it, skied down, and reassessed.


A corn tour was settled on. So, we headed for Ptarmigan Pass and the southern gulleys of Peak 4. We walked...



and jumped...


... and eventually dropped into a long corn run towards Rabbit Creek. Alex:


Watching Ken ski is rad: he is technically strong, controlled, and smooth. I need more Ken in my life!


After Peak 4 we threw our skis on our backs and traversed to the top of Peak 3. I did my best to not get dropped by Ken and Alex as they ran up the bootpack.


Not much snow left down there, Ken dropping into Peak 3:


At the bottom the process repeated itself: skis on backs, hike to next peak. Along the way Alex and I made a rule against running in ski boots; Alex sure can walk fast. One last line on Flattop:



I'd love to do this as the full 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 Tour; dropping from the summits of Ptarmigan, Peaks 4, 3, and 2, before finishing with Flattop.