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Mount Quandry Cristo Couloir?

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
Has anyone skied this? Ever or recently? What is the snow climbing like? Crampons and ice axe required? When did you ski it? I'm thinking about doing it next weekend, is that too early? Thanks in advance.
post #2 of 12
Thread Starter 
Well I guess not, I'm going Sunday and I'll post a little trip report for those interested.
post #3 of 12
Thread Starter 
I climbed then I skied. It was lots of fun.

Well I wonder where that skier's bound. Is there some run, somewhere, someway out there that I've not found?
post #4 of 12
Believe it or not some else has read this post and would like more details.

What price freedom
dirt is my rug
well I sleep like a baby
with the snakes and the bugs
post #5 of 12
Thread Starter 
But I was so enjoying the conversation with myself. Here's my trip report from May 13,2001 on rockies.org. Enjoy!!

We drove up the Blue Lakes Road around 8pm Saturday
night. We were able to make it about 1 mile up the road to the first
parking area. Here we camped with about 5 or 6 other cars in the general
vicinity. It was a beautiful night abundant stars revealing more each
moment to those willing to watch, with the tune Barstools and Dreamers in my
head, I thought the lyric "Look at how the numbers grow" seemed perfectly

We awoke around 4am and hiked the mile up the road to the base of the dam.
Finding the coulior was simple as there were many footprints and
ski/snowboard tracks. It was a little warm in the morning, right around
freezing at 11,500 feet. The soft snow down low was somewhat disconcerting;
however, the snow pack was really solid once we reached around 12,000 feet.
We were fortunate to find kick steps for the majority of the climb with
solid consolidated snow perfect for cramponing. The main couloir was filled
with ski tracks, snowboard tracks, glissade tracks, and any and all tracks
for ascending and descending snow. We arrived at the summit around 8 am.
It was our first time up Quandary and what a summit!!! A warm sun with calm
winds was there to greet us. The snow was still pretty firm so we had to
wait about an hour for it to soften up.

On the summit we met two solo climbers and a group of four skiers, all of
whom ascended the couloir. After lounging about for an hour it was time to
start skiing!!!! No sound in the world can compare to that click of a
binding on a mountaintop, especially one at 14,265 feet. The ski descent
was absolutely perfect. The velvety silky smooth corn snow sliding beneath
the bases with just enough firmness to hold an edge where warranted. The
turns were plentiful and the slope consistent. I will venture that the
average angle of this couloir is 35 degrees and the steepest angle 45
degrees with variations depending on your exact route.

After negotiating the terrain park, a half pipe that had formed at the base
of the couloir we were able to ski right back to the car. 4 hours climbing
1 hour lounging and 30 minutes skiing. Total trip time 5 hours 30 minutes.

I would highly recommend this climb/ski to anyone as a perfect day trip.
Easy access, a consistent pitch, great summit, and probably for one more
week a summit to car ski descent.
post #6 of 12
Sounds similar to my weekend jaunt – and it highlights the good/bad side of Colorado skiing compared to the Wasatch.

In CO you are a little farther from civilization – which is good (better wilderness feel) and bad(longer drive, sleeping on the ground).
In CO you are a few thousand feet higher – which is good(longer chutes, colder snow) and bad (longer chutes to go up, less oxygen).

In the wasatch you are close to home – which is good (comfy bed, cozy wife) and bad (no wilderness feel).
In the wasatch you are a few thousand feet lower – which is good(Easier to breath) and bad (warmer snowpack – I don’t even think they had a refreeze last week, plus our hiking season is shorter).

My weekend jaunt; roll out of bed at 4:30am, pick up jimpd at 5:00am, drive to Alta, hike to top of Baldy, top out at 7:45am, goof around for ½ hour and ski down the main chute (43 max about 38 average, maybe a 1000 ft vert in the chute, 2500 base to top, soft snow, really soft down low), home by 9:30 am, just in time to take the boy to soccer practice.

One funny thing, though, you would expect the Wasatch to be more crowded but we saw no one on the way up or down – although we saw some people goofing around at the base and others who were just arriving.

Some questions – did the other hiker/skiers also use crampons? Did you use an ice ax or self arrest poles or just poles? Did you hike in Ski boots, or tele boots(probably not since you clicked in) or AT boots? What was the vertical from the car to the lot? how much vert in the chute?
post #7 of 12
Thread Starter 
I love the second season in Colorado, cool evenings, warm sun, velvet corn. I can't get enough of it. If the weather continues like it has been there shoul be great skiing here till the 4th of July.

More details... Everyone I saw was wearing crampons, the frozen snow in the morning makes them mandatory. I carry my ski boots and wear crampons on my mountaineering boots, heavy but you have to make due with what you have. I carry my ski poles and climb with an ice axe. The total vertical of this route was 2800 feet, of which 2600 is in the couliour. Just 200 vertical feet of skiing back down the road to the car.
post #8 of 12

Good writing. Take a camera next time and send the pix and prose to Couloir or BC mag. Luv the name of the run - sounds like a fancy pastry.

The major difference between both CO and the Wasatch, and the place where I reap the corn is that our summit tops out at just over 6000 which is probably lower than both your front yards at home.

Here, the couloirs are only about 800 - 1200 instead of 2700+ (yikes!) so there's lot's of yo-yo'ing... and for some reason we call them gulleys instead of couloirs? Whatsupwidat?

And here, we also get out of bed at more reasonable hours because: a. the snow doesn't start softening up top till around 10, and, b. it's the weekend!

I have a comment to one of harpos questions: My boots, lange L-10's, suck to hike in and so usually pack them on the first major ascent of the day, with crampons adjusted to my hiking boots. I haven't gone the way of AT boots yet because they just don't offer the support I enjoy on the descent. AT boot companys are currently coming at their designs from the climber side (stiffening up hiking boots) rather than the skier side (adding quality flex-loc devices and soft soles to alpine skiboots). My question is, why are the AT bindings like Diamir and Silveretta so far ahead of AT boot technology? Why haven't boot companys like Technica, Lange, or Salomon recognised this rapidly growing portion of the industry??
post #9 of 12
No AT boot is ever going to be as stiff as a Lange L10. But have you tried the Garmont GSM or Scarpa Laser? (The Scarpa Denali is stiffer yet, but not very good for hiking/climbing.) With some modifications, I am usually perfectly happy with my Garmonts, and I'm used to a Rossi KX for my racing & coaching. (The only problem I had was at Les Grand Montets, when the weather felt like room temperature and the boots softened up to indoor flex mode, but the snow was still somehow midwinter.) Although then again, I'm only 145 lbs. Lou Dawson's website has some good tips for stiffening up the Laser's, some of which could also be applied to the Garmonts. Another interesting mod would be to take the Atomic 9.50, screw off the hard plastic soles, and screw in some vibram soles.

BTW, the Lowa Struktrura is actually made by Tecnica, and many race coaches have a Tecnica- labeled version with the Tecnica Icon pumkin orange & black colors. And a stiffer version of the Struktura is coming out this fall.

As for Silvretta, given that it lacks a lateral toe release, I wouldn't praise its technology too much. I've also heard that Rossi has bought Emery, so look for a revival of that AT binding in the near future. Plus the new soft boots from Rossi & Solly would be natural candidates for AT versions.
post #10 of 12

Thanks for the wonderful summary of the day. I felt your words!
I was one of the four skiers. I too had a big smile on my face that whole morning. We left the summit shortly after you and found the snow near perfect with many lines along the edges velvety smooth and untouched. After skiing right to the car (I was parked closest to the snow closure over the road) I catnapped til mid afternoon and watched maybe 30 other skiers finishing their descent along the road. The late stragglers probably wallowed in a bit of slush at the bottom of that couloir.
Maybe I'll see you again up top!
post #11 of 12

Reading again I see your questions. As a group we were three on tele and one clicked in. We all used crampons and ski poles for easiest ascent. If the slope angle had been any steeper I would have switched to an ice axe. We observed a lone hiker descending the couloir (no crampons) while we were on our way up, and he appeared to slip at one point and then slid on his butt without much control for about 100 yards. He recovered fine and was on his way. Descending on foot I might want that axe in hand. Hope that helps.
post #12 of 12
Thread Starter 
Did you guys ski the main chute that day or did you sneak into that middle chute, skiers left of the main one. I saw you guys watching us go down and was curious if you decided to follow us down as the snow was 50 possible 65 times better in that chute then the main couloir.
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