(Last Updated On: May 8, 2019)
This post is part of a Throwback Thursday series featuring trip reports that we haven’t had a chance to write about until now! Look for them on Thursdays!
Last year, latter half of late April and early May I was on a self-designated bootcamp mission to climb and ski as much as I could in preparation to hopefully ski Mount Rainier in mid-May. Frank and I headed a little north where snowpack was decent for the year, where in Crested Butte and south, it was far sub-par. We made our home in summit county with hopes of tackling some things in the Gore and other ranges. We started out with a ski of West Partner Peak, then of Shit for Brains and Marjories. We had plans to hit up the Gore for Day 3, and our friend Larry was to join us.
We met at our rendezvous point near Frisco with the intentions of heading over Vail Pass. But I-70 chaos struck. the pass was closed, despite the fact that it was a perfectly weekday, and no bad weather had hit the area in days. Thwarted, we came up with a plan B, head up Fremont Pass and do some touring out of Mayflower Gulch. Drift Peak was on my list. But, as soon as we exited the highway, we found traffic backed up on the pass again. Another accident most likely. Now it was getting late and we had to quickly decide on a Plan C. Citadel. The letters matched, so it seemed fitting, and none of us had actually ever skied it. Even better, eastbound I-70 traffic was smooth sailing.
Standing at 13,294 feet, Citadel is often lovingly called “Snoopy”. Name comes from a particular view of it from the south. This photo of Citadel was taken while skiing nearby Hagar Mountain. To the upper right is the summit of Citadel, and the profile of the rocks looks like Snoopy laying down on his back, with a white collar around his neck.
We approached Citadel from Dry Gulch, gaining the southeast slopes pretty early on.
Once on the eastern ridge, we had some decisions to make about how to summit. We wondered if the south facing “Snoopy’s Collar” (on the left in the photo below) would be too warm to ascend, given our late start. But, after we saw a group of skiers descend it, we decided it was still fair game.
We dropped in on the northeast chute, toward Herman Gulch. Larry.
A look back at our descent route.
We had a second car stashed at the Herman Gulch trailhead. But, I’ve taken that trail once, and it was one too many. It’s tedious, and the bottom portions would involve a mile or more of hiking on dry trail. We knew the exit out Dry Gulch would be much easier. So, we opted to hike up and over Citadel’s eastern ridge and descend into Dry Gulch instead. Larry.
Another fun day in the backcountry, even in a less-than-stellar snow year. And, yet another peak checked off the list!