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06-23-2006, 08:18 PM #1
TR: Savage Couloir, Savage Peak, 13,139' 6.21.06
TR: Savage Couloir, Savage Peak, 13,139’ 6.21.06
Savage Peak is a hidden gem that sits in the back of the Missouri Lakes basin of the northern Sawatch Range. The mountain is seldom climbed due to the technical ridgelines that run on its eastern and northern flanks.
The easiest and most direct route is up the several different deeply etched couloirs that rise up from the Missouri Lakes basin. The trail leading up to the peak is popular with day hikers and backpackers, but once above the lakes there’s a good chance you will be by yourself on any given day. The peak borders the southern section of the Holy Cross Wilderness. Part of the Sawatch Mountain Range, Holy Cross Wilderness gets its name from 14,005 foot Mount of the Holy Cross. It encompasses roughly 120,000 acres in the White River and San Isabel National Forests of Colorado. The Sawatch Range is a narrow strip of the Continental Divide that boasts fifteen 14er's, most of which dominate the landscape just to the west of US 24, from Leadville to Salida. The Sawatch has more than enough trails and mountains for one to explore in a lifetime. Access doesn’t get much easier than it does for this mountain range, as this is the heart of the mining boom in the late 1800s. There’s a good chance that there is a mining road or some sort of access road up every valley and basin along the Sawatch. The northern Sawatch Range is unique, as most of it is one long continuous ridgeline running from the north part of Mt. Massive to Holy Cross ridge. There are a few peaks that rise up and make themselves distinct, one of which is Savage Peak.
To celebrate the Summer Solstice I thought it would be appropriate to go skiing. I picked up SheRa in Summit County and we made the scenic drive over Vail Pass and up through Redcliffe along HWY 24. The Missouri Lakes trailhead lies about 15 miles west of HWY 24 just off the Homestake forest service road. After a dusty and bumpy ride up the service road we arrived at the trailhead and got ready. The beginning of the trail is flat and wide, and winds through a heavy coniferous forest. After about a mile, the trail opens up and the slope increases quite a bit.
Sun trying to peer out from the clouds:
There is a fork in the road that leads to an unmarked trail and CR 704. If you are lucky enough to be here early, there is parking for about 4 vehicles here - and it knocks about one mile off the trail. After a few steep sections in the next mile, the forest closes up and the roaring cascades of Missouri Creek are easily heard. There are several spots to leave the trail to view the cascades.
The last mile or so of the trail leads up through beautiful meadows, which give you a first glimpse of Savage Peak and its surrounding ridgelines.
Waterfalls are everywhere around the Missouri Lakes:
More lines coming off the north side of the peak:
We reached the Missouri Lakes in good time and started boot packing up the snow to the apron of the couloir.
SheRa crossing a stream below one of the lakes:
The climb is long and straightforward. A classic snow climb up a 45 degree couloir.
The road to the sky:
The couloir itself stretches out to about 1,700’ of vertical gain, making it a good climb. Within an hour or so I made it to the crux of the climb, a 30’ long choke that was only a couple feet wide and very steep. The pitch increased to around 53 degrees and made for a great exit right up to the summit. I reached the summit, dropped my gear and climbed back down the ridge to take some pics of SheRa making her way up the couloir:
We hung out on the summit for a little while, watched storms build in the distance, and then decided it was time to drop in.
Another Sawatch/Williams Range gem. Not too bad for late June:
My mentality is, “If there is snow, it needs to be skied..”, so I clicked in at the summit, worked my way into the choke and struggled to get in position to ready myself for possible death.
Working down to the choke:
The choke runs 30’ long and empties into a small 8’X8’ square of bumpy snow, which then drains into the main couloir, which doesn’t get much wider than 20’ or so. Knowing that I would have a ton of speed coming into my small square I tried to work my way down the choke a bit before pointing them. I knew that a straight line from the very top wouldn’t give me enough room to make a controlled turn or stop in the small square below. So, I worked my way about halfway down the choke and then decided to give it a go.
Getting into position:
The thought of beatering down this couloir or into the rock walls was on the top of my mind. I made a tight jump turn to straighten the skis out and then crouched down and prepared for the worst. I had some good speed coming out of the choke and into the small square. I made a quick speed check to the right and then cut hard to the left to avoid the rock wall that was quickly approaching. Snow sprayed hard into the wall, but my body did not.
I was relieved and pumped at the same time. Pretty good rush. I heard a loud “FKNA” come from SheRa at the top of the run and then we proceeded to make our way down the couloir.
Conditions were a bit slick, but SheRa managed to escape this near miss:
SheRa nearing the apron:
We got a good 2,000’ vert of skiing in before the hike out. Not bad for a warm summer day in late June. On the hike down we found a small swimming hole and decided to take a quick dip. The water was probably a half degree above 32, but it felt refreshing.
Not a bad way to welcome the summer solstice and celebrate another great year of fun lines, good friends, and many turns. Many thanks to SheRa for making this a great day and being a solid partner. It’s always a fun day touring wit
06-23-2006, 08:28 PM #2
you rule. so does shera.
that is all.
06-23-2006, 08:33 PM #3
Totally excellent - as always. Nice move in the crux. Thanks again for the stoke.
Care to share which peak this is?:
06-23-2006, 08:50 PM #4
Love the summertime TR's. Nice cannonball action, D.
06-23-2006, 09:00 PM #5
that is schweet. you are the mang.. and shera is the wo-mang rockin those sploders in june.when everything in the world is at its darkest, it takes a big man to kick back and party.
06-23-2006, 09:00 PM #6
^^^^^^^^^That's fuggin' KooL! It looks like you are pushing yourself in. Way to get after it folks`•.¸¸.•´><((((º>`•.¸¸.•´¯`•.¸.•´¯`•...¸><((((º>
"Having been Baptized by uller his frosty air now burns my soul with confirmation. I am once again pure." - frozenwater
"once i let go of my material desires many opportunities for playing with the planet emerge. emerge - to come into being through evolution. ok back to work - i gotta pack." - Slaag Master
"As for Flock of Seagulls, everytime that song comes up on my ipod, I turn it up- way up." - goldenboy
06-23-2006, 09:17 PM #7
FKNA! and Fknuts! Seriously sick stuff. Looks like some serious pucker factor up there.
06-23-2006, 09:23 PM #8Originally Posted by Meadow Skipper
Ahhhh, can't let all the secrets out of the bag. Take a hard right when you get to Leadville, then look around for a sweet line that drops a couple thousand vert. From my understanding, it takes a good slog to reach, but well worth it.
06-23-2006, 09:25 PM #9
just when I was started to wonder where all the iskibc's summmer adventure TRs were, comes along this gem.
Thanks for keeping the stoke high during the 'off season'
06-23-2006, 09:33 PM #10
Awesome! Such a beautiful line
06-23-2006, 09:44 PM #11Originally Posted by iskibc
06-23-2006, 09:59 PM #12
D@mn sweet line.
06-23-2006, 11:07 PM #13
excellent line selection!
makes me excited to take another long walk tomorrow!
06-23-2006, 11:25 PM #14
That was $$$$$.
How am I gonna sleep now? Buzzed on the stoke.Move upside and let the man go through...
06-23-2006, 11:55 PM #15
Hey guys, It's june 21st. way to get after it. And to think all I did today was a short bike ride and swim in the gem of tahoe with the dogs.
FKNA is right!
06-24-2006, 12:17 AM #16
Best pics I have ever seen of SheRa. Fuckin killin it!Chocolate? This is doodoo, BABY!
06-24-2006, 07:13 AM #17
fucking killing it, Dave. you are so HARDCORE!!
that snow sure looks fresh....
06-24-2006, 07:15 AM #18
Wow, thanks for all the props. I'm gonna go to work with a helium head.
It has taken me some time to get used to those huge skis, carrying them and skiing on them. Still trying to find their groove, to tell the truth. Sometimes I think I've got it, other times not. But at least I've got them under control and can make clean jump turns and all that. I'm going to remount them more forward at some point cause I still feel like I'm fighting that all the time.
Also wanted to comment that watching Dave in that sliver at the top was such a rush. And watching him ski the whole line was a ton of fun. For me, the day was full of amazing energy and excitement. One of the best lines I've ever done. Many, many thanks to Dave for having me along. Absolutely loved it!
06-24-2006, 07:20 AM #19
You guy's rock! Great line, great photos - can't wait to see more TR's from you guy's!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"
06-24-2006, 08:04 AM #20
Dave, your TRs are a highlight of this board. Nice work again.
If you put all your TRs from just this spring together, it would be an impressive book, and I would definitely buy a copy.
06-24-2006, 08:30 AM #21
sweet action shots i must say...
06-24-2006, 08:57 AM #22
Very nice. What is the approach from Missouri Lakes like? I had never thought of getting to it that way. In the RFV we usually go up Fryingpan River Road to Elk Wallow CG, which can complicate early spring approaches depending on when the water department plows the road."The fame was like a drug, but what was even more like a drug were the drugs."
06-24-2006, 10:06 AM #23
Another sweet TR! Nice line for sure.
06-24-2006, 11:09 AM #24
Nice work, iskibc and SheRa. Solid TR."If there's a Starbucks, then you're probably fine."
06-24-2006, 11:32 AM #25?
- Join Date
- Jul 2005
- Verdi NV
What else is there to say?