Tuesday, June 9, 2015

The end of the road- probably stepped off snow for the last time this year.
It has to happen every year. Your last day on skis. Just like in training where one of my favorite endurance bloggers, Steve Magness recommends always ending a workout on a high note, I think the same should apply to the end of the season if possible.

So I finished by skiing Mt Massive (14, 421). I used the SSW route from Dawson's Guide. The one difference is that there is now a well maintained trail that takes this line of ascent so I didnt have to bush whack to the snow line. This is a round trip of about 7.5 miles and 4k vert. Once gain, I validated that a mid pack skimo racer can do such a jaunt (4k vert, 7-10 miles round trip) in about 4 hours. With the lack of snow down low I got in a little quicker with light weight shoes but the exit took longer than skiing it and I think that is the big difference. 7ish miles vs 10 is based on less snow cover.

The first 1,500 feet were dry so I kept the Montrail's on and hoofed it. I got a view of the route shortly after starting and it looked good enough for me.

Then it was time for crampons.
After a fair bit of steep snow I got to the summit ridge and found human and what Im guessing were mountain goat tracks going for the summit. Those peak bagging mtn goats are everywhere on instagram these days, sheesh!

Goat tracks in front of my poles. Pretty cool. Human and goat tracks are barely visible further out on the ridge.
It looked from here like I wouldnt get to ski off the summit but I was proved wrong after rounding the rock mound in the foreground.
And so over the false summit to the actual one.
The ski back started on the South facing summit slopes countouring back to the ridge where I dropped in to some great, just corning up moderately steep terrain.
Woo hoo!!!!

And then to the end of the line.

And a hike out to the car. I had kind of wanted to hit Elbert too but the easily linked route, on Elbert's NW aspect, required crossing a rickety old bridge according to the Dawson Guide. Well the bridge aint there anymore and the river was raging with runoff. I called it a good day and bailed. These routes would pair nicely (sounds like a wine tasting??!!??) Since one gets early sunhit and one late sunhit. It will be something to make a better plan for in the future!

Anyway, I was psyched to get in a fun end of season trip. These fourteener outings are really accessible to run of the mill skimo participants and Id encourage anyone out there reading this to get Dawson's Guides (if you dont already have them!) and try a few of the ski outings out. The "Advanced" difficulty level and above is really doable with the right tools and the easier ones require only skimo gear.

Those extra spring skiing tools will be the subject of the next post because I gotta go! Have fun out there and end your season with a bang!


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