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Crestone Peak, Northwest Couloir

PostPosted: Sun Mar 31, 2013 10:34 pm
by skykilo
Ooooooooooh I've been wanting to jump on this one since I first saw it a few years ago. Conditions were far from optimal but yesterday, we deeeeed it.

Alpha Gaper (Micah) and Eric on the approach.
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Crestone Peak looked mighty intimidating from the upper basin. Two sections of the Northwest Couloir are visible splitting the middle. The ice flow is below the fall line of the Northwest Couloir. If you blow it in there, you'll probably die a few times before you stop.
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The line seemed improbable on first sight. We deemed the adventure and the summit worthy nevertheless.

So we found some extracurricular scrambling on the way to the col.
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The view of the Crestones from the col was spectacular.
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The first choke was skiable and snow conditions were good.
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Conditions up to 13,700 ft were prime.
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Then we found some entertaining alpine ice.
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Alpha Gaper on the ice.
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It was fun to scramble on the rocky side of the couloir.
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The gully to the summit was simple enough, with a few little steps. Eric's purple arm is just visible above Micah as he's pulling through the largest step.
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Summit squirt!
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Attaining the summit and getting down the upper couloir took time, so we missed the best light and conditions for skiing. It was still superb to ski in such a rarified location.
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Eric enjoys the descent.
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After dark, refreezing isothermal bullshit made for the worst possible snow on the descent in the lower basin. Time warped. But we survived unscathed.

<--SANGRES STOKE-->

Re: Crestone Peak, Northwest Couloir

PostPosted: Mon Apr 01, 2013 8:42 am
by huevón
That's so beautiful there. Scarey! Live a few times before you stop.

Srsly??? That's your ski route these days?
Image
skykilo wrote:It's another exciting picture on Ski Sickness

Re: Crestone Peak, Northwest Couloir

PostPosted: Mon Apr 01, 2013 9:28 am
by naomig
Ah yes, I am in trouble with Sky for thinking of wanting to do this stuff too. But it seems less of an issue if I'll be with him next time :)

Well done guys! Sick day! Sick photos! Sky is always the best partner for extracurricular alpine activities. (Lucky he's mine <3). Looks like everything I would want to do.

Eric, you shine so bright. And Micah looks like he's about to start a victory dance.
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Re: Crestone Peak, Northwest Couloir

PostPosted: Mon Apr 01, 2013 5:24 pm
by PeteH
Eric and his orange pants. So hot right now.

Re: Crestone Peak, Northwest Couloir

PostPosted: Mon Apr 01, 2013 5:35 pm
by ryanl
neat line. Had to look a few times to see Eric's forearm.

Re: Crestone Peak, Northwest Couloir

PostPosted: Mon Apr 01, 2013 9:20 pm
by E_$
that was a helluva trip, particularly fun climbing, some technical skiing w/ some fun softer frosting turns, all of it so exposed and so high...
excellent photography, Sky. many of them yet trigger an adrenal response. and then that summit shot makes me laugh every time--we're having a dork-off, and it's a dead heat.
after i get unburied later this week, will have to see if got any worthy pics on my camera.
climbering/skiing spring break in NNM / S Colo = success. have to admit all that sunshine starts to get under your skin...

Re: Crestone Peak, Northwest Couloir

PostPosted: Tue Apr 02, 2013 2:17 pm
by JoshK
Awesome! I never managed to make it to the Crestones when I was in CO, though I always wanted to. Looks like a superbly fun mixed bag of climbing. The cooler skiing looks surprisingly great too. Is the snowpack relatively light there this year? Supposed to be some good alpine rock routes in that group too, iirc?

These pics also make me realize I seriously need to invest in some more colorful pantaloons.

Re: Crestone Peak, Northwest Couloir

PostPosted: Tue Apr 02, 2013 2:36 pm
by skykilo
My impression is that the snowpack there is slightly below average this year. Far from the worst possible year, but it could be better and this is a dry range in the first place. That couloir does become much more skiable with spring storms in a good year. If we're lucky we'll get a couple fat spring storms and I might have to revisit it.

There is plenty of excellent moderate alpine rock in the Sangres. The Ellingwood Arete on Crestone Needle is in Roper and Steck's 50 Classic Climbs. The Prow on Kit Carson is totally classic too: Kit Carson, The Prow

Re: Crestone Peak, Northwest Couloir

PostPosted: Tue Apr 02, 2013 7:04 pm
by huevón
JoshK wrote:These pics also make me realize I seriously need to invest in some more colorful pantaloons.

I just got some Hunter Orange snowboard pants myself! I ain't gettin shot in no nashionul parks. Seriously, I'm still carrying around a .30-06 shell casing I found on Boulder Ridge to ward off the evil spirits.

Re: Crestone Peak, Northwest Couloir

PostPosted: Wed Apr 03, 2013 9:53 am
by danhelmstadter
such a cool looking range, way to get after it, great photos. i bailed on the approach to the south couloir cause of terrible conditions years ago.

Re: Crestone Peak, Northwest Couloir

PostPosted: Fri Apr 05, 2013 6:56 am
by DonJuanPakistan
Don't stop get it get it.