14er TBT: Mt. Yale (7 Feb 2007)

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.

Frank and I went a good two months without skiing fourteeners after Lincoln and Bross before tackling Mt. Yale. This would be my 11th fourteener skied. I was joined by Frank and our friend Pete Sowar. Below is a slightly edited version of our trip reports, part from me, and part from Frank. Frank and I were both cameraless at the time, so all photos are courtesy of Pete Sowar.

Frank’s take
Mt. Yale, 14,196′
Feb 5th, 2007

Mt. Yale is a fourteener lying just west of the town of Buena Vista, CO, in the Sawatch range. This area of the range doesn’t get much snow, and what it does get is often blown off by the winds. It was first climbed in 1869 and was named for the alma-mater of Josiah Whitney, A USGS surveyor and the same man that Mt. Whitney, CA’s highest peak, was named for. Other peaks in the area were also named for colleges, like Princeton and Harvard, resulting in the area now being called the collegiate range.

With the recent wind wreaking havoc on many areas, we decided to blow off the search for good powder and climb and ski a fourteener, just because it’s there.

I headed over to the Salida area just in time to catch the superbowl sunday night at a friend of a friend’s. Brittany arrived later from a comp in Aspen where she was coaching her “little girls” at a mogul comp. We enjoyed the Super Bowl and some Wii games after:

We later met up with our friend Pete Sowar. A nice semi leisurely start had us at the trailhead by 9 the next morning.

Mt Yale, as seen from Denny gulch. We followed the snow, traversed right over some rocks, and repeated the process.
Mount Yale in winter

Much of the climb above treeline was a bootpack on dry ground.
Climbing Mount Yale in winter to go backcountry skiing.


It Doesn’t Take Much 1.20.15

Sometimes I’m amazed at just how little snow it takes to make the skiing a whole lot better. At this point in the season, we’ve had below average snowfall in our part of Colorado. In fact, much of the west has been dry, including California where the locals might be wondering if it will ever snow again. Luckily we keep getting a couple of inches here and there. Maybe it’s my standards that are dropping, since I haven’t skied any of the terrain I really want to ski in the conditions I really want to ski them in, but it’s been pretty good. Last week we had one of those storms and even though we went somewhere with a lot of old tracks, it could almost be described as blower:
Mark robbins crested butte backcountry skiing

mark robbins telemark


Magical Morning on Red Lady (6 Jan 2015)

Some things are worth waking up early for. For me, skiing is one of those things – most days anyway. Admittedly, I am not what many call “a morning person”. I don’t actually like getting up before the first rays of sun hit the mountains. But, sometimes for the sake of skiing I awaken and fumble around in the dark until I am warmed by the daylight.

Even though I am not “a morning person”, I recognize that winter mornings can be particularly beautiful. The stillness in the air, the frost on the trees, and the pink hues in the sky can paint a magical scene. But, every now and then we are blessed with even more magic. This was one such magical morning.

When I arrived to Alex’s house, it was still dark. But, it was a balmy 28-degrees Fahrenheit. Clouds hung close to the ground and I was uninspired by the grimness of the scene. But, I had hope – hope that the clouds were so low-hanging that we could climb above them. I’ve seen it before, though it’s not a common sight in Crested Butte.

We began skinning as twilight crept into the sky. We were quickly surrounded by fog but after awhile, we emerged to blue sky. The scene was surreal and as beautiful as a morning could possibly be. It was a magical morning after all.
Axtell with fog while backcountry skiing in Crested Butte.

The Castles are always spectacular. But, they were even more so on this morning.
The Castles in winter while backcountry skiing near Crested Butte.

The island of Mount Crested Butte :)
Mount Crested Butte with fog in winter while backcountry skiing

Whetstone surrounded by thick fog.
Thick fog surrounding Whetstone in winter while backcountry skiing in Crested Butte

Axtell with fog in winter while backcountry skiing in Crested Butte.

Another shot of the island of Mount Crested Butte, with fog hanging in the East and Brush Creek river valleys.
Mount Crested Butte in winter with fog.

Alex skinning toward the top of Red Lady.
Alex Riedman skiinning on Red Lady with fog in winter.


14er TBT: Mt. Lincoln & Mt. Bross (25 Nov 2006)

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.

It was the start of a new season and Frank and I decided to hit the fourteeners early. Lincoln and Bross would become my 8th and 9th fourteeners to ski, respectively. I was joined by Frank for this two-peak expedition.

TR: Mt. Lincoln (14,286 ft) and Mt. Bross (14,172 ft)

With the settling of the snowpack, Frank and I decided to take advantage of some lines off the high peaks before the onset of the next storm cycle. We decided to tackle Lincoln and Bross :)

We began our ascent around 8:30 from the Moose Creek Trailhead. The top of Bross looked pretty nice!
backcountry skiing on Mount Bross

We headed up the ridge on the right of the photo. On our way, we took note of these trees and wondered just how long they had been here. The looked ancient :) They also proved to be excellent landmarks on our way back down.
trees on Mount Bross


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