(Last Updated On: May 27, 2020)
As May continues, access to backcountry skiing in Crested Butte becomes more and more difficult. In contrast, areas around Fremont Pass, like Climax Corner and the headwaters of the Arkansas River, offer parking at the snow level – and skiing that’s a good bang for your buck in late spring.
I had had my eye on skiing Mount Buckskin ever since I skied Tweto a handful of years back. The northwest face of Mount Buckskin is intricate and intimidating, and doesn’t always go. But, we knew with the northwest aspect that we were likely to find good powdery snow – leftovers from a storm earlier in the week. So, we decided to check it out.
We skinned starting at Climax Corner, staying near the valley floor. As we rounded the corner, we caught view of Mount Buckskin in the distance.
We climbed the obvious couloir to the lookers right of the summit rock, where we found dense powder. We knew the descent was going to be good.
As we passed by the summit rock, we kept gazing at the intricate maze of lines that seem to come down from the summit. Alas, we could not find one that seemed to actually go. But, these lines are truly a puzzle, and we still kept looking.
At the top of the notch, we rounded onto the south side of the mountain, which was softening, but quite supportable still. Eventually we gained the long ridge and made our way to the true summit, which is quite a ways southeast from the false summit seen from the Arkansas Basin. Frank on the summit.
There are a few different ski routes off of Mount Buckskin. By far, the easiest comes up from Kite Lake. Speaking of which, we caught some great views of Democrat and Cameron.
This line on Cameron doesn’t always go. But, it did last year and it was my last ski of the season, on July 2nd.
Mosquito Peak and Treasure Vault Mountain.
Another ski descent option on Mount Buckskin is on the southwest side, accessed from Mosquito Pass trailhead. If I were to ski this mountain again, I’d probably go this way as it does look quite enticing. Lucky us, we got to enjoy the upper part of this face during our descent.
Frank, enjoying turns on the southwest side of Mount Buckskin, Mount Tweto in the background.
Me on the southwest side.
Lines just a bit west of the false summit seemed promising.
But, we didn’t see a way through at the bottom. And given that I am still recovering from my accident, we decided to go with what we knew, which was basically what we had ascended. So, we made our way through the notch and onto the northwest couloir. Me.
<img src=”https://14erskiers.com/blog/wp-content/gallery/buckskin_17may2020/DSC09385Frank.jpg” width=”800″ height=”535″ alt=”BBackcountry skiing on Mount Buckskinclass=”alignnone size-large” />
The upper part was filled with powder, and followed by delicious corn on the bottom.
And the corn continued through the moraine piles.
Aside from Mount Arkansas, Mount Tweto, Mount Buckskin, and the west face of Mount Democrat (which is rarely skible), the Arkansas Headwaters Basin holds some other amazing lines that don’t go to peak summits.
Unfortunately, we had a lot of “trap-door” to deal with on the way out. But we eventually made it!
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