(Last Updated On: May 23, 2016)
Brittany and I headed down to Telluride to check out the snow conditions in the San Juans last week. One of our goals included the Lightning Bolt couloir. As is usually the case in the San Juans, the scenery on the approach was tough to beat. Wilson Peak and the ski area:
We had a great view of Telluride as we climbed out of the valley. Interestingly, the grass covered area in the foreground is a Superfund site due to old mine tailings.
The skiing potential kept increasing as we ascended. This S-shaped couloir was calling my name, though it looked to be past its prime:
Savage Basin had a lot of great looking possibilities as well:
We arrived in Telluride just a few days after a spring storm, and unfortunately much of that new snow slid once the sun came out. Meanwhile, the snow underneath the avalanche debris was still powder snow. What that added up to was a difficult climb for Brittany and I up the Lightning Bolt, generally sinking to the tops of our boots if not our knees.
We persevered, however, and were rewarded with the summit of Chicago Peak. The Sneffels range is behind Brittany:
It was a cool summit. Though we left from Telluride, we could now see Ouray below us in the opposite direction- driving home just how close the two towns are to each other.
We were able to ski right off the summit. Even though the lower couloir was choked with debris, the more northerly aspects of the route still had winter snow.
Even the debris skied better than expected, once the sun had softened it.
The line finished out in perfect corn conditions:
Our first day in Telluride was a success, so we headed to the town park for our first camping of the year, with another line in store for the next day.
Hungry? Get some: