Photos (mostly) by Fritz Sperry.
Fritz met me at the trailhead just outside of Breckenridge, and we hit the trail at around 5:00am. As we made our way above treeline, alpenglo began to hit Quandry's northern slopes. Right now Colorado is about as green as I've ever seen it. The deep snowpack and heavy spring rains have turned our landscapes a lush green that reminds me a lot of the PNW, where I grew up.
Just above treeline, we lost the trail in the snow and got off route which required some awkward class 5 scrambling to get around a few obstacles. Let me just say that using a kneebar to mantle a slight overhang with skis and boots on your back is NOT easy! Finally, we got to the top of the last obstacle about 3 miles in and Fritz looks out at Atlantic Peak and our chosen line. 1500' vert in July? Lovin it!
Excited to be out skiing such a fun line on such a beautiful day.
As we approach the bottom of the couloirs, we spot a 300lb rock come ripping down our ascent line at 60mph. After discussing briefly, we opt to circle around to the NE slopes, which has no cliffs above. After a quick 1000' 40-degree snowclimb, we reach the top of the Atlantis Couloir.
A late night with little sleep and not enough water led to some altitude problems. The couloir starts about 400' below the summit, so I opted to get better hydrated and recover while Fritz continued on. Before long, he was back down at the top of the line, after skiing some nasty runnels that made his teeth rattle (glad I missed it!). I set up for some shots and Fritz drops in.
Half-way down, Fritz stops and sets up for shots of me rocketing down into the gut of Atlantis Couloir. We have very different styles. I love fast, big mountain skiing, while Fritz prefers to milk turns out of every last hard-earned vertical foot.
Such smooth corn! Unreal skiing something this good, this late in the year.
While a lot of work at 7 miles and 2800' of gain, including a quarter-mile detour with some class 5 thrown in, it was an amazing day, some amazing skiing, and great times with a good friend. After reaching the cars, we headed into Breckenridge to meet some friends for burgers and beer, reflecting on the blessings that allow us to enjoy what Colorado has to offer.
Edited by Brian Lindahl - 7/19/11 at 9:18pm