Having recently moved to Northern
New Mexico, I was both disappointed and excited to learn via the internet that my friend Ryan was heading to Colorado to ski. I got in touch with him and plans were made. What to do? Once again, the magic of the internet showed me something I didn't know. I saw a trip report of the San Joaquin Couloir on TGR. Well, that looks fun!
This image is a San Joaquin Couloir image by lordhelmut014 on summitpost
that I boldly ganked. There is quite a bit less snow right now.
I met Ryan and Sam in Durango Friday night. Saturday morning we drove to Ophir.
The views from Lizard Head Pass are very nice.
My first view of Wilson Peak and I really want to ski it.
Things were really looking good when I found an outhouse above Ophir just when I needed one.
I let Ryan and Sam pass before I did the do.
That's South Lookout Peak and I'd like to ski it, too.
Crampons and/or ice axes could have helped but we were kickin' it.
Sam triumphantly reaches San Joaquin Ridge.
Ryan at the top of the couloir.
I skied into the couloir first. It was tracked but the snow was nice and soft. I cranked turns through the first choke and tucked into a sheltered spot. Moments later Ryan yelled, "Sky, Sam's binding just snapped in half!" After a bit of cursing I removed my skis and booted to the top to rejoin my friends. A web of Voile straps were summoned for the task and Sam was ready to give it a go.
Sam does it downhill on his improvised tele binding.
Ryan with the weight a bit more toward the tips on his Dynafits.
Ryan skis through the crux choke.
This line is quite aesthetic.
Sam and Ryan. The couloir is visible above Sam's shoulder and the web of Voile straps is visible on his left leg.
Then we skied down Bear Creek into Telluride. The scenery and terrain in Bear Creek are superb and Telluride is a beautiful town. The food and beer at Smuggler's was good. After eating, we hitchhiked to Ophir. Big thanks to the Galloping Goose driver from upstate NY and to Jett Guy for the rides.
Thanks for the awesome day, fellas! Way to make it work, Sam!
We had a nice leisurely morning in Durango today then I visited an old friend from college. After that, I took a drive up the road to see Purgatory and make a few quick turns before the drive home.
Some pretty scenery after last night's fresh snow.
Intriguing rock features next to the CO-NM border
Chama River Valley scenery near Ghost Ranch.