TR: Mount Toll Ski (24 June 2015)

Mount Toll is a classic spring skiing line in the Front Range. Some of the Indian Peaks in the area are not very appealing when it comes to looks, but Mount Toll is highly aesthetic as it towers over Blue Lake.

Mount Toll

We began in the wee hours of the morning, having to park at the Brainard Lake TH since the road to Mitchell Lake was closed. A nice view of the Indian Peaks in the pre-dawn hours.
Indian Peaks from Brainard Lake

After a few miles of hiking, we were at Blue Lake and ready to make our way up Mount Toll.
Approaching Mount Toll to go backcountry skiing.

Pawnee Peak across the lake.
Pawnee Peak

The climb up Toll was pretty with Blue Lake below.
Blue Lake from Mount Toll

And then the real Indian Peaks made their appearance. Hopi and Achonee.
Mount Hopi & Achonee seen from Mount Toll

Apache Peak on the left.
Apache Peak

Looking toward Granby.
Granby seen from Mount Toll.

Me on the summit with Mount Audubon behind.
Brittany Konsella on the summit of Mount Toll.

Unfortunately, Scott had forgotten his ski boots back in Boulder. But, he rallied for the cause, hiking in his shoes to the summit of Toll. I think there was some display of stubborn foolhardiness along the way 😉 So, I passed the camera over to him for the descent.

The ski was pretty fun. The upper slopes of Mount Toll can be steeper than they look!
Brittany Konsella backcountry skiing on Mt Toll

Brittany Konsella backcountry skiing on Mt Toll

Brittany Konsella backcountry skiing on Mt Toll

Brittany Konsella backcountry skiing on Mount Toll

Brittany Konsella backcountry skiing on Mount Toll

Brittany Konsella backcountry skiing on Mount Toll

Brittany Konsella backcountry skiing on Mount Toll

Brittany Konsella backcountry skiing on Mount Toll

The conditions were definitely transitioning into summer snowpack.
Brittany Konsella backcountry skiing on Toll

Brittany Konsella backcountry skiing on Toll

Admiring Mount Toll on our way out.
Mt Toll and Blue Lake.

I was able to ski a little over 2000′ following gullies through the valley before having to transition back to hiking boots. From there, we followed the trail back to the trailhead and the road back to the car.

A look at the Indian Peaks seen from Brainard Lake in the daylight.
Views of the Indian Peaks seen from Brainard Lake.

I lived in Boulder and Boulder County for well over a decade. Yet, I’d never managed to make my way up to Blue Lake or Mount Toll. I’m glad I finally carried myself up there, and enjoyed a fun ski along the way!

TR: Hurricane Peak (19 June 2015)

The skiing on Bonita Peak that morning was so good, and the breeze was keeping the snow from getting too soft. So, we decided there was more skiing to be done that day. The west-facing lines on Hurricane Peak seemed like the next best choice!

The south east side of Hurricane Peak

Climbing Hurricane with Bonita Peak behind.
Climbing Hurricane Peak with Bonita Peak behind.

We found that climbing the snow gullies up Hurricane Peak was easy.
Climbing Hurricane Peak to go backcountry skiing.

Josh and Frank approaching the summit.
Approaching the summit of Hurricane Peak to go backcountry skiing.

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TR: Bonita Peak (19 June 2015)

After having a fun day backcountry skiing at Clear Lake, we were eager to check out what else the San Juans held in store. So, on this Friday morning, we found ourselves standing at the bottom of Storm Peak in Velocity Basin. We were hoping that these north-facing lines had not fallen prone to the trend of other north facing couloirs we’d seen in the last week – slid out and runneled from the heat and rain. But, alas, our hopes would not be the truth. So, we turned around with our tails between our legs, in search of a plan B.

We followed the snow. The white and smooth snow that is. And that led us to Bonita Peak.
Backcountry skiing on Bonita Peak.

The good thing about the San Juans in the spring is the ease of access. This road got us pretty high, and it was just a short walk to continous snow.
Backcountry skiing in the San Juans

It was a beautiful morning. Josh skinning in the distance with the various Red Mountains behind.
Josh Macak backcountry skiing near Bonita Peak in the San Juans.

The snow on Bonita still looked great on our climb up the peak.
Backcountry skiing on Bonita Peak.

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Clear Lake 6.18.15

The ski season was still going strong, so Brittany and I started talking about new places to check out. We had heard about Clear Lake in the San Juans near Silverton from some friends. As is often the case in the San Juans, access looked good and the basin looked like it would have lots of choices, so that’s where we headed, along with Josh and Natalie. Some downed trees blocked the road a little lower than we had hoped, but we still found ourselves at treeline before we knew it. We had a great view of Ice Lakes basin along the way:
Ice lakes basin vermillion

We were hoping to ski some of the couloirs in the area, but the recent heat and rains created huge runnels and we had to shift plans.
Clear lake couloirs

The southern facing slopes above the lake on a subpeak of South Lookout Peak looked smooth and fun as a consolation prize.:
South Lookout from Clear Lake

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