TR: Mount Owen (29 Jan 2011)

(Last Updated On: February 3, 2011)

It’s a good day in January when you feel safe venturing to places like this.

Mount Owen has been on my wish list for a few years. On Saturday, I was happy to check this one off the list!

Friday night, Frank and I debated what we should ski the next day. A week-long high pressure had settled the snowpack and we knew it was our chance to venture into bigger terrain than we’ve been able to access with this season’s constant storms. We love powder, but we were feeling the itch for something more, something bigger.

After wavering many different possibilities, we decided to head toward Mount Owen. Owen was in our realm of possibilities, but so were a few other things in the area. We scoped out a few things along the way…

Ruby Chute- currently requiring a down climb or possible rappel.
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Afley- looked sick as always, but very wind scoured, even from a distance.
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Purple.
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But, Owen looked to be in the best condition. So, we naturally gravitated toward our original plan.

Northeast face of Owen.
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Southeast face of Owen.
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We skinned up toward the southern ridge. Along the way, we admired the overhanging cornices that decorated Owen’s ridgeline.
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Once on the ridgeline we enjoyed the fantastic views served up on a wonderfully bluebird day. The Raggeds.
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Marcellina.
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View west, with Marcellina and Beckwith poking out in the foreground. In the background, La Sal mountains on the left, Grand Junction tucked in the distant valley, and the Grand Mesa to the right.
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A closer view of the Beckwiths- East Beckwith on the left, West on the right.
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Frank on the Owen ridgeline- checking out a suspicious hole.
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After poking his pole at the suspicious hole, snow caved in to reveal this gaping hole- signs that the huge hanging cornice to our right was trying to rip itself free of the mountain it clung to. We took this is a a sign…
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However, recent visitors on this same ridgeline ignored these signs. Here is the first place where they fell through the cornice. We found about 5 more of these as we continued our climb. We figured they were trying a mountaineering version of Russian Roulette.
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The skinning got a bit dicey.
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And around here dropped the skins and booted the rest of the way to the summit.
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At the summit, we discussed our decent possibilities. Dropping of the west side looked good. But, we were a bit leery of windslabs. As we peered over toward the northeast face, the snow looked better and more predictable. The entrance was the hitch though- a steep and icy path through the overhanging cornice.
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Frank, ready to go.
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Due to camera malfunction and the fact that Frank skied a line slightly different from mine, I have no good ski shots of Frank. However, Frank managed to capture a few good ones of me!

Shutting down speed after the entrance.
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Traversing under the giant unnerving overhanging cornice.
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And then the ski. The snow looked better than it appeared – on my line, variable, with a bit of ice and breakable crust mixed with pow. But, still a fun ski.
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On the lower pitches.
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A look back at the northeast face.
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A closer view of my tracks, along with two others who had previously skied it.
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Frank opted for a spine-like line. In this picture, you can faintly see his tracks off the summit and nearly straight down the fall-line.
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Frank’s POV video here- definitely worth the watch.

Untitled from 14erskiers on Vimeo.

While it was great to check another one off my wish list, it was even better just getting out on a fun line on a blue bird day. A little booting and a bit of intimidation at the entrance to our ski line satisfied the itch we’d been feeling the need to scratch with this wonderful long high pressure. Next up- Beckwith.
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Brittany Walker Konsella

Aside from skiing, biking, and all outdoorsy things,Brittany Walker Konsella also loves smiles and chocolate 🙂 Even though she excels at higher level math and chemistry, she still confuses left from right. Find out more about Brittany!

Latest posts by Brittany Walker Konsella (see all)

Brittany Walker Konsella

Aside from skiing, biking, and all outdoorsy things, Brittany Walker Konsella also loves smiles and chocolate :) Even though she excels at higher level math and chemistry, she still confuses left from right. Find out more about Brittany!

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