(Last Updated On: July 4, 2015)
We’d been shut down from some loftier goals in the Aspen area that week due to exceptionally warm temperatures and soft freezes, but I just had a good feeling that something good was going to happen. And it did. A fierce thunderstorm rolled in on Thursday evening and when it parted, it left the skies high and dry. That meant there was going to be a good freeze.
We made plans the night before while gathering at the Red Onion. It would be me, Jenny, Jordan and his friend Keith (and Jordan’s dog Aja). Our goal was the east face of Twining, and then see what the weather brought…
We were pleasantly surprised as we pulled in to park at the top of Independence Pass and the temperature read 18-degrees F. It was a good sign, and the coldest we’d seen in a while. I knew it was going to be a good day.
We headed out toward Twining, skinning over a couple of inches of fresh snow.
The skin toward Twining Peas was easy and the low clouds made for some stunning scenes.
The morning was wonderful. Deer Mountain in the distance.
We followed the ridge to take a look at the east face of Twining Peak.
Jenny skinning with what many locals refer to as “Blarney” in the distance.
What I believe to be Williams Mountain – looking fabulous.
It was a downright party on the summit of Twining.
Looking back at Blarney.
While Jordan decided to ski a less steep face on Twining Peak with his dog, the rest of us opted to check out some couloirs. These couloirs were a tad tricky, especially given the new snow which was sloughing hard. The skiers right went went clean, but was icy at the choke. The skiers left didn’t quite go clean, as there was an ice fall and some rocks at the choke.
Keith navigating through the skiers left line.
The ice fall was a bit of a struggle, but he made it through alright 🙂
Jenny came through on the skier’s right line.
When we rendezvoused at the bottom of the line, we talked about options for our next ski. We decided the most obvious next choice, Blarney, was out, as the east faces were warming pretty fast. But, with the solid freeze, we knew that other aspects would still be good. We headed toward a peak across the valley, which I was originally told was Mount Champion. But, after looking closer at it on various maps, I believe that this is actually UN 13,736, which is immediately north and shares the same ridge line as Champion. Our goal was to ski the west face of this peak, shown in the shadows of this picture.
We dropped down to the valley floor and proceeded with the 2200′ climb to the summit.
We followed NW ridge for the most part, and skinned the majority of the time. The skinning took some valiant effort though, and I was sad I’d left my ski crampons in the car. I admired Deer Mountain on the climb.
I somehow missed out on the typical summit shots from Pt 13,736. But, the skiing on it’s west face was good. Really really good. Keith.
There was some creamy powder to be had, as Jordan demonstrates here.
More of Jordan.
It was a great ski day and one of my more favorite days of the spring. Thanks for joining me, Jordan, Jenny, Keith… and Aja too!
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