(Last Updated On: June 15, 2010)
Grizzly Peak is Colorado’s highest thirteener, formerly thought to be a fourteener but demoted after new surveys made the mountain twelve feet short. I wonder how many hundreds or even thousands fewer ascents the peak sees due to those twelve feet. Regardless, Grizzly is known as a great climb in an area of the Sawatch range which is uncharacteristically rugged. Grizzly has been on my “to-do” list for years, but I hadn’t yet gotten the chance to give it a go. With a powerful late spring storm poised to drop a few inches or more over the weekend, we nearly decided to bag it but in the end decided it was worth a try. We were certainly glad we did…
The hike up valley quickly broke out into meadows and we were able to enjoy the views of this area, which most of us hadn’t been to. Jarrett and I both commented that it felt like one of the first trips of the fall, rather than one of the last trips of the spring. It even smelled like fall. Kim, riding high on expectations:
The sun came out momentarily and gave us a great view of our objective. The actual peak is slightly behind, while the Grizzly couloir remains mostly out of view on the right, tucked up against the cliffs.
Brittany and I were 10 minutes or so ahead of Jarrett and Kim, so we decided to go ahead and drop in, since the sun was out and we wanted to get the couloir in powder conditions. I dropped in first and I’ll just go ahead and say it- these were the best turns I’ve ever made in June. Here’s the POV video proof:
Between Brittany and I, we had really sloughed out the couloir, so Jarrett and Kim decided to hit up the East face instead. They also described conditions as “as good as it gets in June”. Honestly, it doesn’t get much better in January, either. By the time we got to the lower valley, it was a completely different place, now melted and dry. Jarrett: