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05-01-2008, 02:34 PM #1
TR: Drift Peak 13,900ft Climax, CO 4/29/08 - The Consolation Trumps the Prize
We headed out of Steamboat at 5am with the intention of skiing Sherman Peak, a fourteener outside of Leadville. This would be my friend’s third attempt at the peak. Last year the attempt ended when he was the first on the seen a minute after a fatal accident, within a mile of the trailhead on a Leadville back road.
We came rolling into Leadville -through a rediculous detour- at a little after 7am. We finally got a glimpse of our objective that was the Northwest face of Sherman looking at us boldly. We looked at each other with blank looks on our faces wondering the same thing: WHERE'S THE F*CKING SNOW! "Damn, I should have posted looking for some beta last night!"
Well the question then became whether to go for it, summit and down climb a couple hundred sketchy vert to the top of the highest chute or figure something out quick...
Copa mentioned that there was one basin up off Fremont Pass that he had been eyeing and would love to go check it out. With time ticking and Sherman looking somewhat unrewarding, we opted for a quick plan B.
We arrived at what we now know is the Mayflower Creek trailhead at around 9am and got a glimpse of the basin. I began to think we had some potential on out hands and I remembered admiring it years ago when I made the trip to Leadville from Summit or the Front Range often.
We began the skin up the flat basin still not knowing exactly what to expect or how the day would unfold as the range opened up in front of us...
There was the right peak…
and there was the left peak...
Copa Skinning up the basin:
From the first glimpse and the remainder of the two mile skin into the basin my eyes stay fixated on the right peak, scrutinizing every possible route through the bottom crags. We began the discussion as we got closer and the high chute on the left peak was the initial thought. We checked out the right line and decided on our tentative route. I said I would really like to ski it, and if the drifting clouds persisted the snow would not warm up before we summited. Like all peaks, it didn't look nearly as long or gnar looking straight up it from the base.
We also agreed that it shouldn't take more then an hour and a half. I suppose both of these factors helped with the decision because we were cramponed up and booting straight up the gut shortly thereafter. I felt blessed that it was a mosly cloudy day at this point as we began our ascent at 11am. I knew a clearing sky would likely mean cutting the goal short and we all accepted that possibilty from the start.
The boot went on…
Copa reaching the top of the STEEP pitch
"Man if this thing is not over 13k, I'm gonna be pissed at myself for being such a pussy"
The last 50 feet was a high angle rock scramble.
Josh Scrambling up
Although crampon scrambling on unstable rock is not the most fun thing, it can yield some nice booty:
Almost 3 hours later we hit the summit ridge just a bit behind our expected arrival, And don’t take one more step!
Copa gaining the ridge
The views were nice....
Pacific Peak in the center and the SKY chutes and peaks 1-4 in the back left.
I thought about how standing on mountain peaks really put geography and proximity on a different scale as I stared Quandry Peak straight in the face from a direction I had never seen it.
To think how long it would take to drive to one of my former residences on Hoosier Pass pass right now and how physically separated Fremont and Hoosier seem when restricted by roads.
Another view of Quandary, and Josh taking it all in:
We made the short traverse to the South Summit and the start of our line. – A shot from the summit.
The line began with a pitch to a peppery minefield and then to a sudden and substantial rollover into the main face which was 1500' vert of sustained 50+degree pitch.
Copa easing into it:
We skied the route one at a time in its entirety. I would like to say that I flashed it, but I admit I had to stop a couple of times to catch a quick breath. A fall anywhere on this line would likely be a terrible situation. The entire face hanging precariously over exposure.
The conditions were,....lets just say the snow pack was bomber and leave it at that. In actuality, it was a a thin grippy wind crust that broke away to leave a tinging light slough surrounding you...
Some of Copa’s shots from the bottom:
cold_smoke looking ant-like on the top face and josh making his way through the crux:
One more of the same. Our relative size puts thing into perspective:
Making my way through the crux to the bottom:
We gathered at the 'base camp' exhilerated and exhausted. The stoke was great and the adrenalin was still flowing through each of us as we cracked a PBR and admired our line. This exact feeling is what drives us to be here and share our time with the mountain. We raised our beers and thanked the unknown peak in the unknown basin for a successful and safe passing.
Our line drawn out ascent in red and descent in green:
We loaded back up our packs and made the easy cruise back down the basin to the truck admiring the mining ruins on the way:
A GPS and TOPO! Colorado go so nice together, documentation of the exact route:
With the sudden whether change and the dumpage now upon us I can look back on a successful mission and what looks to be the final substantial descent of the season. A rendezvous with Dr. Steadman and the knife awaits on Monday.
We have now come to find the proper name of the Summit is Drift Peak, part of the Fletcher group in the Ten Mile Range, standing at 13,900ft. So I guess we do not feel like such pussies for sucking so much wind
Keep the stoke coming mags a spring descent season to take advantage of is upon us.
And remember, sometimes the consolation prize trumps the original prize itself:
"Why do I always get more kisses on powder days?" -my wife
05-01-2008, 02:39 PM #2
I love DriftOriginally Posted by blurred
05-01-2008, 02:41 PM #3
Boom baby!Have fun or get hurt bad. "MFT" A.K.A. Dr. Doom
There are but three true sports--bullfighting, mountain climbing, and motor-racing. The rest are merely games. "Ernest Hemingway"
05-01-2008, 02:43 PM #4
Nice job on Plan B! Cool pix and route info.
05-01-2008, 02:45 PM #5
Wow, like the colored lines......makes both climb and ski look pretty darn gnarly.Donjoy to the World!
05-01-2008, 03:03 PM #6Registered User
- Join Date
- Oct 2006
05-01-2008, 03:05 PM #7
I still can't get over the quality and quantity of TRs this week.
05-01-2008, 03:37 PM #8
Nice TR. Actually skied Drift this past Saturday and ran into Jon Turner as we were both nearing the summit, although we both came up the lookers right ridge. Small world indeed.
05-01-2008, 03:47 PM #9
Definitely a heady TR. Crystalz and all.
05-01-2008, 03:54 PM #10
nice work. I love that part of the Ten Mile.'09/'10: 69
05-01-2008, 04:16 PM #11
Great line. Drift is about a million times more fun to ski then Sherman. You guys scored
05-01-2008, 04:29 PM #12
05-01-2008, 05:00 PM #13
Nice. I bet that was rad to ski top to bottom.Drive slow, homie.
05-01-2008, 05:32 PM #14
yeah buddy. good stuff
05-01-2008, 06:02 PM #15
That's a cool looking face.
05-01-2008, 07:35 PM #16
As Rudy said, we skied Drift last weekend. The approach up the ridge from gold hill is a little more straightforward. Pretty rad to just climb up the face. That mountain is some sustained steepness - a blast to ski with and fun route finding for the exit.
Nice work!Ride Fast, Live slow.
We're mountain people. This is what we do, this is how we live. -D.C.
05-01-2008, 08:58 PM #17
06-02-2008, 12:48 PM #18
This is life
What a fucked up thing we do
What a nightmare come true
Or a playground if we choose
And I choose
06-02-2008, 01:26 PM #19Registered User
- Join Date
- Jun 2006
- Silverthorne, Colo.
Nice to see Drift getting some attention. I consider it one of the best lines in the area. I question the 50-plus degrees. When I did it we measured it at a consistent 48 degrees. Of course I realize such measurements are not totally precise.
"A fall anywhere on this line would likely be a terrible situation. The entire face hanging precariously over exposure."
Yes, well... on my first time there I fell from near the top. I am not sure why: conditions were fine. I did a slow cartwheel for about 500 feet. I kept thinking I was about to stop, but kept rolling. Finally (before the rocks) I came to a stop as one (telemark) ski popped off. The binding had just exploded. The poor man's releasable! This was the longest fall I have ever taken. My partner came down and was sure I had broken a leg, but I was in fact unhurt. Some wire and I was able to get to the bottom. So I guess I didn't really ski Drift, but I know it well! Oh yes, after that I take a helmet on these things as I did not have one that day. Error.
06-02-2008, 02:05 PM #20
Anyone seen Drift in the past couple of days? We were thinking about going up this weekend.
06-02-2008, 10:23 PM #21
Drift Peak is such a sweet area! I have never skied there, but have marveled at it a few times. Definitely high on my list. Thanks for the stoke!-
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