With a fairly uninspiring start to the year (snow wise), I figured I might find some inspiration in a climb and ski of peak 10 near Breck. With the avy danger gradually trending down and a flawless weather forecast, Mike was in, so I picked him up in Golden around 4 and we were off. We arrived at the Spruce Creek TH about 530 and began to gear up while we waited for the other peoples we would share the approach with. About 15 minutes later, Ben, Brian, and Bill were all there and by 6 we were skinning. The 2 hours it took to reach lower Crystal lake passed relatively quickly, and before we knew it, Mike and I were saying good by and good luck to Brian, Ben, and Bill (who’s objective was the east face of crystal).
Mike and I hung a right at lower crystal lake and made our way up the SSE face of peak 10. The snow was a bit frozen (surprise, surprise), which made grabbing some purchase on the moderately pitched slope difficult, so we opted for a more efficient mode of travel and began booting up the face. We topped out on the east ridge at about 13,200 where the radio towers and the road that switch backs up the opposite (resort) side meet. A relaxing stroll along the remainder of the ridge and we were standing on the summit at 11. For an out of shape….err, out of fitness desk jockey, I didn’t think a climb time of 5 hours was too bad. Especially considering that I haven’t been above 13k since September…..ouch!!
We relaxed on the summit for about 45 minutes, eating, drinking, soaking in the sun and views, all while watching the “B’s” climb the NE ridge of Crystal. Once our lower extremities became numb from sitting on semi-snow covered rocks, we walked about 20 feet SW-ish off the top to find the skiable snow. 30 minutes later, we were back at lower crystal lake, again soaking up the sun and the views. As you can tell by my riveting description of the descent (and the plethora of photos showing hero powder turns), the ski itself was not remarkable, but we did manage to find some sun-softened snow…..which was nice.
We found another rock made for relaxing and napping near the lower lake. After lounging around for 30 minutes in hopes of seeing the “B’s” ski crystal (which we never did see), we stepped back into the skis for the slushy luge run back down the summer road to the car.
We stopped in Silverthorne for some food before continuing home - a ground turkey, pico, black bean, wrapped in a jalapeno-cheddar tortilla burrito from Chimayo rounded out the day perfectly.
Blurry Morning photo.
Mike falling on himself
Our routes up and down the face - There’s a way to link up that patch work of snow fields….I promise.
almost there again
Is it just me, or are the mountains looking a little bare?? More snow please!!
The “B’s” nearing the top of crystal
At least it was soft!!