Brittany and I love skiing. And we love aesthetic lines. And if a line requires a little bit of rappelling, too- well, that’s just the icing on the cake. Summit County’s Coin slot checks all those boxes, it’s a beautiful line that needs a short rappel just to access it. Our friend and Summit County local Gary Fondl, along with Nate Purcell, are always game for a little hometown skiing, so Brittany and I joined them earlier this month for our first trip down the slot.
Gary Fondl checking out the view.
Getting to the rap station was a little bit of a loose downclimb, until we reached the fun part.
It was getting downright hot in Crested Butte. The sun was bright and fiery. And each day, the snowbanks melted back a few inches. A look at the weather predicted rain in the forecast, and I believed it – even though March rain in Crested Butte is extremely rare. But, St. Patty’s day looked like a perfect day. A perfect day to ski corn, that is.
A quick glance at the Gothic Spoon told all. It wasn’t going to last much longer. In fact, I was pretty certain that the choke didn’t quite go. But, I’d encountered that in the past and knew it was a simple walk through it, and would not deter me from skiing this line. I was able to entice Mark Robbins to join me on this fabulous day.
The Spoon is the line on the right.
Gothic Mountain is my go-to mountain here in Crested Butte. I haven’t gone a year here without skiing this magnificent peak and often ski it multiple times in a season. The line possibilities here are plentiful. Even having skied on every aspect of this mountain, I still have more exploring to do. The Spoon is one of the most known lines on Gothic and is a favorite because it tends to stabilize fast and corn up quickly, being a south facing line. Since corn was what we were after, the Spoon would be the place we would find it.
Mark on the bootpack.
Just as Gothic stands as an iconic peak that tempts the eyes of backcountry skiers from Crested Butte ski area, it also harbors spectacular views of the valley below.
This is part of an ongoing series re-telling Brittany’s fourteener-skiing story. Look for the reports every Thursday, as part of a Throwback Thursday theme.
Mount Oxford and Belford was my second experience of the double-fourteener whammy and there would certainly be more to come. They were my 18th and 19th fourteeners to ski. Below is a slightly modified version of my original trip report from Mount Oxford and Mount Belford.
Mt. Oxford (14,160′) & Mt. Belford (14,203′)
Brittany and Frank
Well, I began packing for the long weekend of tackling 3 different 14ers on Wednesday, hoping to leave Thursday night after work or Friday morning. My cat was NOT happy about it. She decided to sit on top of my down jacket for hours right in the middle of the floor, completely in the way of me packing. It was her way of saying, “I hate you for leaving me”…
Frank and I decided to meet at the Vicksburg TH at 7 am to begin our day of tackling 2 fourteeners. For those of you unfamiliar with this area, the best way of accessing Oxford is to climb Belford first, then go to Oxford, and then back to Belford again. Indeed in your attempt to climb 2 fourteeners this requires you to summit one of them twice. But it really is the easiest way. So, that was the plan.
It had snowed several inches in the the lower valleys only a couple of days before. But you could barely tell now that it had even snowed. There was not a trace of new snow down low and much of the ground was dry. We climbed 300 vertical feet before putting on skins.
We moved quickly in the morning, covering 1400 vert in just an hour. When it finally opened up into the valley we slowed down a bit. But we knew it was going to be a long day, so we kept on pushing.
Skinning up the valley.
We picked a nice little NW-facing gully to skin up on Belford.
We were on the summit before we knew it And as always, the summit provided beautiful views.
Out of the 6 days that we skied in YongPyong, it snowed five of those days. Although we enjoyed being rewarded by plentiful white fluffy stuff, was also wanted to emerge from the clouds to see exactly what surrounded us. During the afternoon of day four, the clouds began to lift. And day 5 was brilliantly sunny and sparkly. These photos are from those days, and are our best photos from the trip.
This will be our last report of our Skiing in South Korea series. Perhaps it’s only appropriate that we saved the best for last
We finally saw the ocean, in the distance on the right.