Mini AK

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Mini AK

Submitted By: Y.C. on August 19, 2011

Administrator: Y.C.

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Featured Descent

Colorado » Ten Mile Range

Left and Right Y

The right of the Y is a little bit more mellow, about 30-32 degrees throughout the top section.  It is often very windy up at the very top, so you will want to keep a lookout for large windslabs.  The left of the Y is closer to 35 at some points.  You can also ski the trees in between the two chutes, which holds the snow a little bit better, but it can be steeper.  Once you are in the chute, it is wide enough to make turns down (about 30 ft) but you want to be prepared to get a lot of varying snow. The whole slide path is a terrain trap, and you can see visible signs of flagging and avy activity.   The trees on the sides of the gully are pretty tight.  When you get to the bottom, head to the right, and you will cross under the K  and into a big meadow, and then you can head to the road.

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Details

This area is a steep bowl off the SE face of Knobtop in Rocky Mountain National Park.  It was believed to be first skiied in April 2011, due to perfect conditions and timing.  There are 9 potential routes in the Mini AK cirque.  Some of these lines can go at 60degrees and the easiest goes just above 50 degree angle.  This area has huge avalanche potential combined with mandatory airs and questionable safety zones.

How to Get There

Enter Rocky Mountain National Park from the East side and make a Left towards Bear Lake.  Follow this road until it dead ends at the Bear Lake parking area and Park.  Here one can go two ways to hike to Mini AK.  The route that was taken by the first decent party was to the top of Flattop and then around the Ptarmagin glacier past Notchtop approaching Mini AK from the top.  You can approach from the bottom and climb the ski route or maybe the east ridge of Knobtop could access the top.  This may require some smart winter climbing skills.

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