After over a year of ogling, I’ve finally managed to tick off a big line in Colorado. Various recon trips, scenic car rides, and guide books had stoked my fervor to get after some burly skiing, and with Kelly’s encouragement to go do something crazy without her, I started poking around on the internet looking for a backcountry shred crew.
Kelly and I went out for a birthday sojourn in RMNP and found some really exotic snow conditions. I really can’t describe it any better than I’ve done in the title. This weird substance didn’t dominate the slopes but it certainly injected itself here and there just to add some spice to our Flattop descent. We departed from Bear Lake at the lazy our hour of 11 AM and headed up the trail per usual, but rather than following the normal approach that leads directly to the bottom of the banana bowls, we decided to follow the Flattop Trail. It’s summed up best as the scenic route: it is not the direct route by any stretch, but the views on a clear day are second to none. In fact the approach, despite being the inefficient route, was the highlight of the day.
Kelly and I went up to Hidden Valley for a quick lap in RMNP this morning. Finally the Avy Fx had settled down to moderate above and below treeline, so we geared up and went after some low angle white gold. We thought it would be pretty darn good; in fact it was the second time this week I found myself proclaiming the snow to be the best I’d ever skied – the first instance was Tuesday while the defending champion was that time the Meatheads won Best Powder for their Jay segment. So yea, best powder skiing I’ve had in nearly 5 years (best ever, probably) to include storm chasing all over New England plus various trips from back East to Colorado, Montana, Washington, Oregon and who knows where else I’ve forgotten. It was that good. And then we saw a herd of elk on the drive out of the park. Feast your eyes.
With Fall rapidly approaching, I felt that 14er season, especially for novices like me, would be quickly coming to a close. Emboldened by my recent success on Capital Peak, I decided to go after Long’s Peak. When the leaves are down, I can just about see it out my office window. A quick drive around the block reveals the towering peak, in all of it’s glory. It’s been taunting me since we moved into the house last November. I could no longer just ignore it. So, I checked the weather about a thousand times, squared away my affairs with work for the week, packed a huge heap of clothing, food, and water, and set my alarm for 2:45 AM. Two hours and 15 minutes later (I really need to work on my alpine starts) I was on the trail and ready to rock.