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Frank’s Fourteener Skiing Reports




4.17.10 Note: I just finished updating and creating this page. Please let me know if there are any broken links or other errors. Thanks!

In July of 1988, I climbed my first fourteeners, Grays and Torreys, with my friend Joe and his family. Little did I know that the seeds had been sown for a journey that would take me to the most beautiful places in my home state of Colorado. As soon as I could drive, I started climbing the other fourteeners, eventually climbing my 54th and final 14,000’ peak in September of 1996.

Since that time, I have continued to climb Colorado’s peaks, whether 14,000’ or not. My truest passion, however, has always been skiing, something I have been doing for over 100 days a year for more than a decade. When I skied off the summit of Pyramid on April 20, 2006, the fourteeners once again called my name loudly. After all, we had just skied one of the hardest fourteeners (and had also skied from 13,600’ on Capitol a week later), so why not just ski them all? During 2006, Chris Davenport skied most of the fourteeners, and finished his project the following year to become just the second skier to ski them all. Legendary Lou Dawson was the first, finishing way back in 1991. I owe a large amount of inspiration to these two skiers (not to mention other pioneers like Chris Landry and Fritz Stammberger). I would be remiss if I didn’t also mention my most consistently motivated partner as well, Brittany Walker, who has now also skied them all. I’d like to give thanks to some of the other people who skied with me or gave me advice, such as Sean Crossen, Pete Sowar, Chris Webster, Pam Rice, Scott Yost, Jeremy Wegner, John Jasper, Jordan White, and so many more (sorry for those I forgot). On May 17, 2008, Brittany and I skied Mt. Harvard, marking my 54th and final fourteener and making me just the fourth person (Ted Mahon being the third) to ski all the fourteeners. In 2009, Jordan White and Joe Brannan finished skiing the fourteeners, and in 2010 Jarrett Luttrell (1st snowboarder) and Christy Mahon (1st woman) also finished. Brittany Walker, the better half of 14erskiers, finished in 2011, making the current total 9 finishers.

While I may have skied all the fourteeners at this point, it marks just another point on my ski mountaineering career, one which I have no plans of ending anytime soon. I hope you enjoy all of our adventures on this website, whether at 14,000′ or not.

Elbert

14,433′

Description: Colorado’s highest, and the second highest in the lower 48, Elbert is an easy descent.

Date Skied: 6/6/06
Project Route: Box Creek Cirque
Other Descents: none
Frank’s “Best” Route: Box Creek Cirque

Massive

14,421′

Description: This gigantic mountain is a long way from trailheads in the winter, but is pretty straightforward after the approach.

Date Skied: 3/23/08
Route: Southwest Slopes
Other Descents: none
Frank’s “Best” Route: Southwest Slopes

Harvard

14,420′

Description: Colorado’s third highest is another big gentle peak, typical of the Sawatch.

Date Skied: 5/17/08
Route: South Face
Other Descents: none
Frank’s “Best” Route: South Face

Blanca

14,345′

Description: The highest peak in the Sangres has a tough approach, but it’s a great mountain otherwise.

Date Skied: 5/17/08
Route: North Face
Other Descents: none
Frank’s “Best” Route: Southwest Face

La Plata

14,336′

Description: La Plata is one of the best in the Sawatch, with lots of choices and a classic North face.

Date Skied: 6/12/06
Route: North Face
Other Descents: none
Frank’s “Best” Route: South Couloir

Uncompahgre

14,309′

Description: The monarch of the San Juans can be seen for miles, with it’s distinctive cliff on the North Side of the summit.

Date Skied: 3/26/07
Route: South Slopes
Other Descents: none
Frank’s “Best” Route: West gullies

Crestone Peak

14,294′

Description: Crestone is a Sangre classic.

Date Skied: 3/4/07
Route: South Couloir
Other Descents: North Couloir 5/1/09
Frank’s “Best” Route: South Couloir

Lincoln

14,286′

Description: Lincoln is the highest peak in the mosquitos, where it’s always windy.

Date Skied: 11/25/06
Route: South Slopes
Other Descents: none
Frank’s “Best” Route: North Face

Gray’s

14,270′

Description: Gray’s is one of the most popular and easy 14ers to ski or climb.

Date Skied: 6/1/95
Route: No Trip Report: Northeast Slopes
Other Descents: none
Frank’s “Best” Route: Lost Rat Couloir

Antero

14,269′

Description: Antero has a road that goes almost all the way to the summit.

Date Skied: 5/16/07
Route: West Face
Other Descents: none
Frank’s “Best” Route: North Face

Torrey’s

14,267′

Description: Close to Denver and with a number of fine routes, Torrey’s gets skied a lot, and deservedly so.

Date Skied: 6/29/96
Route: No Trip Report: Dead Dog
Other Descents: none
Frank’s “Best” Route: East Face/Dead Dog

Castle

14,265′

Description: There are lots of great routes on Castle, plus a great route on non-official Conundrum as well.

Date Skied: 5/30/06
Route: East Face
Other Descents: South Face 6/29/08
Frank’s “Best” Route: South Face

Quandary

14,265′

Description: This gentle peak is one of the few that often has a beaten trail to the summit all winter long.

Date Skied: 4/7/07
Route: Cristo Couloir
Other Descents: none
Frank’s “Best” Route: Quandary Couloir

Evans

14,264′

Description: With a road to the top, you could ski this one 10 times in a day.

Date Skied: 5/21/07
Route: North Face
Other Descents: A bunch in the 90’s, shuttling the road…
Frank’s “Best” Route: South Face

Long’s

14,255′

Description: Long’s is the windy monarch of Rocky Mountain National Park.

Date Skied: 5/4/08
Route: Loft to Keplinger
Other Descents: none
Frank’s “Best” Route: North Face

Mount Wilson

14,246′

Description: Mount Wilson is one of the toughest, both to get snow off the top as well as to reach the difficult summit.

Date Skied: 5/15/06
Route: North Face
Other Descents: Boxcar Couloir
Frank’s “Best” Route: Boxcar Couloir

Shavano

14,229′

Description: Mount Shavano is a tough peak to find in good condition in the dry and windy southern Sawatch, but it is an impressive peak when viewed from the Arkansas River Valley.

Date Skied: 4/8/07
Route: Angel of Shavano
Other Descents: none
Frank’s “Best” Route: Angel of Shavano

Princeton

14,197′

Description: Mount Princeton is an utterly impressive mountain when driving into Buena Vista on Highway 285, but the skiing doesn’t match the vista.

Date Skied: 4/8/07
Route: East Face
Other Descents: none
Frank’s “Best” Route: East Face

Belford

14,197′

Description: Mount Belford offers a long moderate descent with good access on its’ Northwest side.

Date Skied: 4/27/07
Route: Northwest Face and East Face
Other Descents: none
Frank’s “Best” Route: Northwest Face

Crestone Needle

14,197′

Description: When the Sangres are blessed with snow, the Needle offers one of the finest steep couloirs in the country.

Date Skied: 3/12/07
Route: South Couloir
Other Descents: South Couloir 4/11/10
Frank’s “Best” Route: South Couloir

Yale

14,196′

Description: Another big Sawatch peak, Yale has good winter access via the trailheads off of Cottonwood Pass.

Date Skied: 2/5/07
Route: South Slopes
Other Descents: none
Frank’s “Best” Route: South Slopes

Bross

14,172′

Description: Ski Bross if you hope to ski them all. Otherwise, ski off a better summit than Bross.

Date Skied: 11/25/07
Route: Moose Creek Gulch
Other Descents: none
Frank’s “Best” Route: West Face Snake Gully

Kit Carson

14,165′

Description: Kit Carson is steep and beautiful with a number of fine routes- not to be missed.

Date Skied: 4/6/08
Route: SE Face to OB Couloir
Other Descents: Reached 13,000′ on the Cole Couloir 2/2/05. Too much snow. No TR.
Frank’s “Best” Route: Cole Couloir

El Diente

14,159′

Description: Another tough peak, the current standard seems to be skiing off the summit via a number of different routes.

Date Skied: 5/15/06
Route: North Face
Other Descents: Luttrell Line (NW Couloir)
Frank’s “Best” Route: Northwest Couloir

Maroon

14,156′

Description: The Maroon Bells, as classic as they come.

Date Skied: 5/?/00?
Route: South Couloir
Other Descents: none
Frank’s “Best” Route: SW couloir

Tabeguache

14,155′

Description: Easily one of the best in the Sawatch.

Date Skied: 5/19/07
Route: North Face
Other Descents: none
Frank’s “Best” Route: North Face

Oxford

14,153′

Description: Oxford probably deserves to be skied more often by itself rather than always with Belford.

Date Skied: 4/27/07
Route: Northwest Face
Other Descents: none
Frank’s “Best” Route: South Face

Sneffels

14,150′

Description: So many great routes, so little time, such great access.

Date Skied: 6/?/99?
Route: Snake Couloir, No TR.

Other Descents: Birthday Chutes 5/26/08
Lavender Col, near summit 10/15/06
Frank’s “Best” Route: Snake Couloir

Democrat

14,148′

Description: Easy access makes Democrat a classic by any number of routes.

Date Skied: 5/15/07
Route: North Face
Other Descents: Northwest couloir, non-summit descent. June 1996
Emma Lake Chutes 4-11-11
Frank’s “Best” Route: North Face

Capitol

14,130′

Description: Far and away the toughest 14er, and not that great of skiing- not worth the risk unless you’re going after them all.

Date Skied: 4/28/08
Route: Secret chute
Other Descents: none
Frank’s “Best” Route: East to South Face

Pike’s

14,110′

Description: Drive to the top and do a few laps.

Date Skied: 5/13/07
Route: Y Couloir
Other Descents: none
Frank’s “Best” Route: Y Couloir

Snowmass

14,092′

Description: One of the most visible CO 14ers from other 14ers, yet deep in a wilderness setting with a long approach.

Date Skied: 4/?/05
Route: West Face
Other Descents: none
Frank’s “Best” Route: West Face

Eolus

14,083′

Description: Train access, the San Juans, Deep Wilderness, what could be better?

Date Skied: 5/10/08
Route: East Couloir
Other Descents: none
Frank’s “Best” Route: East Couloir

Windom

14,082′

Description: Train access, the San Juans, Deep Wilderness, a route called Widowmaker, what could be better?

Date Skied: 5/11/08
Route: Windom Widowmaker
Other Descents: none
Frank’s “Best” Route: SW Face

Columbia

14,073′

Description: The Sawatch has some boring peaks, Columbia is one of them

Date Skied: 5/9/07
Route: West Face
Other Descents: none
Frank’s “Best” Route: West Face

Missouri

14,067′

Description: Another one of the Sawatch’ finest

Date Skied: 4/14/07
Route: North Face
Other Descents: none
Frank’s “Best” Route: North Face

Humboldt

14,064′

Description: Often dry and windswept, Humboldt is a great peak when it’s in.

Date Skied: 4/29/07
Route: Southeast Face
Other Descents: none
Frank’s “Best” Route: North Face

Bierstadt

14,060′

Description: Bierstadt is probably better with the willows covered by snow in winter, but that’s not saying much.

Date Skied: 5/3/07
Route: West Face
Other Descents: none
Frank’s “Best” Route: South Face

Sunlight

14,059′

Description: Train access, the San Juans, Deep Wilderness, steep lines, what could be better?

Date Skied: 5/11/08
Route: South Face “Red Couloir”
Other Descents: none
Frank’s “Best” Route: Northeast Face

Handies

14,048′

Description: With extraordinarily good access in springtime via American Basin, Handies is one of the best

Date Skied: 5/27/07
Route: Northeast Face
Other Descents: none
Frank’s “Best” Route: Northeast Face

Culebra

14,047′

Description: Colorado’s private fourteener, Culebra is a rewarding experience if you get permission.

Date Skied: 3/9/08
Route: West Ridge
Other Descents: none
Frank’s “Best” Route: North Face

Lindsey

14,042′

Description: This unique aesthetic peak is well worth a trip for ski mountaineers.

Date Skied: 4/22/07
Route: North Face
Other Descents: none
Frank’s “Best” Route: West Face

Ellingwood

14,042′

Description: Ellingwood and the Lake Como area offer lots of possibilities for skiers.

Date Skied: 5/10/07
Route: South Face
Other Descents: none
Frank’s “Best” Route: South Face

Little Bear

14,037′

Description: Ellingwood and the Lake Como area offer lots of possibilities for skiers.

Date Skied: 5/11/07
Route: Hourglass Couloir/ Baby Thunder
Other Descents: Hourglass/Baby Thunder 4.15.10
Frank’s “Best” Route: Hourglass Couloir

Sherman

14,036′

Description: Sherman has some cool mine ruins, and is one of the easier 14ers to start off with.

Date Skied: 3/11/07
Route: South Face
Other Descents: none
Frank’s “Best” Route: West Face

Redcloud

14,034′

Description: Redcloud and Sunshine are a great duo of peaks with good access in the springtime.

Date Skied: 5/26/07
Route: Northwest Face
Other Descents: none
Frank’s “Best” Route: North Face

Pyramid

14,018′

Description: My personal favorite 14er ski descent.

Date Skied: 4/20/06
Route: Landry Line
Other Descents: Video Version
Same Line 5-5-11
Frank’s “Best” Route: Landry Line

Wilson Peak

14,017′

Description: The banquet peak. It’s like the banquet beer, but different.

Date Skied: 5/7/06
Route: Northeast Face
Other Descents: none
Frank’s “Best” Route: Northeast Face

Wetterhorn

14,015′

Description: Some day, the summit ramp will be skied continuously to the East face. Until then, it’s the only 14er that doesn’t get skied off the exact summit (except Sunlight’s summit boulder).

Date Skied: 6/?/04
Route: No Trip Report: East Face
Other Descents: none
Frank’s “Best” Route: East Face

North Maroon

14,014′

Description: Classic lines abound on on of the most photographed peaks in the world.

Date Skied: 6/3/07
Route: North Face
Other Descents: none
Frank’s “Best” Route: North Face

San Luis

14,014′

Description: This big boulder pile doesn’t get a ton of snow, but it is in an interesting area, geologically speaking.

Date Skied: 5/28/07
Route: Yawner Gullies
Other Descents: none
Frank’s “Best” Route: Yawner Gullies

Holy Cross

14,005′

Description: A couloir dropping right off the summit that’s shaped like a cross? How cool is that?

Date Skied: 4/19/08
Route: Cross Couloir
Other Descents: none
Frank’s “Best” Route: Cross Couloir

Huron

14,003′

Description: One of the hidden gems of the Sawatch range, with the top-notch East Face.

Date Skied: 6/19/06
Route: East Face
Other Descents: none
Frank’s “Best” Route: East Face

Sunshine

14,001′

Description: Redcloud and Sunshine are a great duo of peaks with good access in the springtime.

Date Skied: 5/26/07
Route: Northeast Face
Other Descents: none
Frank’s “Best” Route: Northeast Face



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