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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Golden, CO
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    465

    TR: Crestone Peak, Sangre de Cristo

    Crestone Peak, 14,294ft
    Sangre de Cristo mountains, Colorado
    Red Gully

    Shot taken about a week ago from Ellingwood Point by Bill Middlebrook


    We skied Crestone Peak on Saturday with a rather large crew of six. Me, Bill, Eric, Marc, John, and Rob. Without a sled it's a long way in. About 19 miles round trip and just shy of 7,000 vert for those of our group who weren't able to knock off a mile with 4wd. Skinned in about 5 miles Friday night to a camp around 11,200ft.


    Left camp around 7am. Had to climb over Broken Hand Pass at 12,850ft before dropping into the next valley. We would later ski the couloir pictured in the upper left of this photo on our way back to camp.


    Eric heading towards Broken Hand with Humbolt in the background.


    After cresting Broken Hand Pass I headed over to get a look at Crestone Needle. Too thin as suspected. The Sangres are at 50% of the normal snowpack this year.


    You have to drop about 500 vertical feet as you head to the base of the Red Gully. We opted for the direct route and a little mixed climbing.






    Met up with Eric a few weeks ago to ski a couple 14ers in the Sawatch. This kid climbed all of Colorado's 14ers on his own initiative by age 15 by posting for partners (i.e. rides) on 14ers.com. Now at age 16 he's working on skiing them all. I was initially reluctant to recreate with a minor (maybe it's the attorney in me) but after running into him in the Sawatch a couple weeks ago we realized he's got everything you would look for in a partner, except maybe the ability to enjoy a beer legally after the climb. Eric near the top of the Red Gully.


    Eric and Bill traversing to the true summit.


    Me at the top.


    Marc enjoying the view.


    The top is steep for a little bit. Bill drops in.


    Then he caught a couple shots of me.




    John opening it up lower down.


    Eric handling the choke.


    It's to bad the Sangres came up well short on snow this year but we enjoyed what little they have.


    Regrouped at the bottom and tried to figure out how it was almost 3pm already and we still had to skin back up to Broken Hand Pass.


    Skinning.


    More skinning.


    Wind was ripping at Broken Hand Pass but me and Rob climbed around a bit trying to find a sweet looking line we were eying from the morning. Finally managed to find a passage way that led to the entrance.


    John checking out the couloir.


    While I clicked in.


    Skiing Crestone Peak was sweet but this was definitely one of the better lines I've skied in a while.


    Snow was surprisingly good. Only issue was about half way down when I had second thoughts as to whether I had dropped into the correct line... the one that didn't end in a massive cliff. Had to pull out my camera and renew my confidence by checking out a picture I took earlier in the day.


    Eric making some steep turns where the couloir opened up.


    John on the Apron. Our camp is somewhere in those trees.


    Back at camp at 5pm we enjoyed some beer cooked brats in John's jet boil, packed up, and headed out. We were able to ski most of the road until the last couple miles.


    A Sangres ski descent wouldn't be complete though without ending in a brief slog on a dirt road, skis in hand.


    Will have to go back for Crestone Needle another day. That's probably a good thing since I was pretty much exhausted. Here's to a safe spring ski mountaineering season for everyone getting out. If you're looking to use this TR for beta you can check out my version on 14ers.com for a few more details http://www.14ers.com/php14ers/tripre...in&ski=Include
    Last edited by coloskier; 05-11-2011 at 09:38 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Ft. Collins, CO
    Posts
    263
    Very cool! Only been up to upper and lower sandcreek lakes in the summer, pretty awesome seeing people with skis at the top of crestone peak.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    Colorado Cartel HQ
    Posts
    15,997
    Very, very nice.
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    'Karma' is an Eastern religious concept which views all human dramas as the will of God as opposed to present - and past - life actions.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Sydney/Avon
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    490

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    colorady
    Posts
    896
    Nice work. Love the needle. Great climbing down there. I've climbed the Needle a few times in summer and have always wanted to ski the needle. Probably hold off until a year when we have more upslopes.

    Great TR!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Park City
    Posts
    1,086

    Very cool

    And a bit scary. I have literally been there in June with more snow. I did not realize how thin it is down there.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Denver
    Posts
    2,055
    Really nice looking trip. Thanks for having fun

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    PRB
    Posts
    16,072
    Nice work, nice TR! Kinda surprised that you started out at 7am, that seems late, but I'm a mountaineering jong and it obviously worked out great for you.
    "fuck off you asshat gaper shit for brains fucktard wanker." - Jesus Christ
    "She was tossing her bean salad with the vigor of a Drunken Pop princess so I walked out of the corner and said.... "need a hand?"" - Odin

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Denver, CO
    Posts
    6,874
    Great read and it looked like a perfect day to be out. Surprised you didn't include Marc's trademark handstand photo op.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    The Ranch
    Posts
    3,534
    Way to work it to the bone dude, and that 2nd line looked sweet. Strong effort indeed, such a beautiful area.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Carbondale
    Posts
    9,416
    Way to get some Sangre love in a low snow year!

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    JeffCo
    Posts
    975
    Nice work Carl

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Golden, CO
    Posts
    465
    Thanks guys. Good to be able to contribute a little stoke.

    Quote Originally Posted by Danno View Post
    Kinda surprised that you started out at 7am...
    I brought my -20 bag which made it even harder to get up in the morning. So toasty warm. Seriously though, fair question as spring skiing usually means starting in the middle of the night so you're down by late morning. Our rationale for choosing a start time that would have us on steep snow even in the afternoon was a good freeze Thursday night and a forecast of another clear cold (24 degrees at 12k) night Friday followed by high winds on Saturday with temps that weren't supposed to get too warm. Snow lower in the Red Gully was getting pretty soft. If the wind hadn't come through as forecasted we may have had to turn around before the top. Last year we banked on a similar forecast on Horseshoe, started "late", and turned around when it wasn't nearly as windy and cool as anticipated.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Somewhere In Time
    Posts
    911
    Excellent dude! Can totally relate to the dirt road slog on the way out. Looks thin, but way to stomp it.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    NorCal
    Posts
    2,507
    Nice TR! Looks like a great trip.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Posts
    817
    Way to get on it! the Sangres are a special place.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    PRB
    Posts
    16,072
    Quote Originally Posted by coloskier View Post
    I brought my -20 bag which made it even harder to get up in the morning. So toasty warm. Seriously though, fair question as spring skiing usually means starting in the middle of the night so you're down by late morning. Our rationale for choosing a start time that would have us on steep snow even in the afternoon was a good freeze Thursday night and a forecast of another clear cold (24 degrees at 12k) night Friday followed by high winds on Saturday with temps that weren't supposed to get too warm. Snow lower in the Red Gully was getting pretty soft. If the wind hadn't come through as forecasted we may have had to turn around before the top. Last year we banked on a similar forecast on Horseshoe, started "late", and turned around when it wasn't nearly as windy and cool as anticipated.
    Thanks for the answer! That helps me understand the thought process better.
    "fuck off you asshat gaper shit for brains fucktard wanker." - Jesus Christ
    "She was tossing her bean salad with the vigor of a Drunken Pop princess so I walked out of the corner and said.... "need a hand?"" - Odin

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    straight out the nickel & dime
    Posts
    1,209
    looks like lots of fun- nice work.
    imz-design
    industrial design • new product development
    http://www.imz-design.com/

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Greenwood Village
    Posts
    33
    Nice work Carl and crew! We'll have to head back in there together to get the Needle after that 5 foot storm hits the Sangres. I believe it's forecasted for mid-April.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    tourin BC
    Posts
    2,753
    that makes my skiing in trees TR's seem rather weak ...
    We, the RATBAGGERS, formally axcept our duty is to trigger avalaches on all skiers ...

  21. #21
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Eugenio Oregón
    Posts
    6,559
    great trip guys, those beers were well earned!
    _______________________________________________
    "Strapping myself to a sitski built with 30lb of metal and fibreglass then trying to water ski in it sounds like a stupid idea to me.

    I'll be there."
    ... Andy Campbell

  22. #22
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    sl,ut
    Posts
    479
    Wow! Great work! the ski from the summit looked sort of billy-goat-ish....How was the snow in that second couloir you found?

  23. #23
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    In the swamp
    Posts
    4,436
    fucking awesome..congrats

  24. #24
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Cruzing
    Posts
    7,591
    I can only imagine what a fat year would look like. Nice trip.

  25. #25
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    9,300ft
    Posts
    14,836
    great work!
    Quote Originally Posted by blurred
    skiing is hiking all day so that you can ski on shitty gear for 5 minutes.

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