Mount Arkansas- Northeast Couloir Ski (10 May 2014)

(Last Updated On: May 13, 2014)

In 2006, I was still a backcountry skiing “newb”. Yet, I’d developed my intentions to ski all of Colorado’s 14ers. In June, Dave Bourassa invited me to ski Democrat, one of the fourteeners near the Front Range. Although we ascended via one of the worst scree fields I’ve ever encountered, the most memorable moment was when I scanned the views from the summit and laid my eyes on this:
Mount Arkansas, near Leadville Colorado

It was Mount Arkansas, the northeast couloir. And I knew I wanted to ski it someday.

Of course, with 54-fourteeners already on my list, this one got pushed aside, especially after increasing my distance from this peak by moving to Crested Butte. But, over and over again, it appeared on my wish list. And last weekend, I finally put a check-mark by Mount Arkansas.

Frank and I rose early, in the dark – the time of night where you’re not really sure if you should call it night or morning. We picked up our friend Susan Mol and drove three hours to the trailhead, where we met our other friend Gary Fondl.

We ascended the toward the ridge. Susan.
Susan Mol skinning

The day was windy.
windy day on Mount Arkansas

Just HOW windy? Find out for yourself;)

Windy Day on Arkansas from 14erskiers on Vimeo.

Recent snowfall decorated the rocks with rime.
skinning on Mount Arkansas

Arkansas has one mighty long ridge. The summit lies beyond this false summit shown in the picture.
Arkansas ridge

From the false summit, we could see we still had a ways to go. Here, only the very top of the couloir can be seen. Most of it is obstructed by other complexities within the peak.
Mount Arkansas summit view

So, we kept walking.
Mount Arkansas ridge

ridge

14erskeirs on Mount Arkansas ridge

Finally, the summit. Susan had to sport her cat helmet-hat.
Brittany Konsella & Susan Mol on the summit of Mount Arkansas

We were able to ski right off the summit and into the couloir. The couloir is guarded by a massive cornice, but it’s usually possible to squeeze in on the skiers right side of it. The entrance to the couloir was steep, but still fairly easy. Susan.
Susan Mol entering the northeast couloir on Mount Arkansas

With freshly fallen snow, the skiing was pretty good. Gary.
 Gary Fondl skiing Mount Arkansas

Gary Fondl skiing

Gary Fondl skiing

Gary Fondl skiing

Susan.
Susan Mol snowboarding Mount Arkansas

Susan Mol snowboarding

Me.
Brittany Konsella skiing Mount Arkansas Mount Arkansas

Brittany Konsella skiing

Frank.
Frank Konsella skiing Mount Arkansas

Frank Konsella skiing

I think his smile says everything….
Frank Konsella skiing

Gary coming out the bottom.
Gary Fondl skiing Mount Arkansas

The turns in the apron were sweet, although difficult to see. Me.
Brittany Konsella skiing

Susan still rockin’ the craziness.
Susan Mol snowboarding

Although short, the northeast couloir of Arkansas is a solid line.
view of northeast couloir on Mount Arkansas

I’d even do it again 🙂
Mount Arkansas, basin

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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