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Challenger Peak Ski

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
Myself and some buddies of mine climbed and skied Challenger Peak last Memorial Day weekend. It was quite an event and I snapped some photos, check them out if you are interested.

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[This message has been edited by Widespread Panic (edited June 06, 2001).]</FONT>
post #2 of 15
Wow, great, thanks for sharing!

This Saturday might be my last day of skiing out East -- my guess is that Tucks will be reduced to about 400' vert, with little of the runout area remaining. (A woman died there last weekend after falling.)

But I am glad to hear that others are still going strong!
post #3 of 15
Where is Challenger peak?

The couloir in the background of the 3rd photo sure looks nice.

Thanks for sharing.
post #4 of 15
Thread Starter 
Challenger Peak is in the Sangre De Cristos of Colorado, it's really a sub peak of Kit Carson. The peak in the background is Crestone Peak and the North Couloir, if that thing ever filled up with snow it would be a great ski and snow climb.
post #5 of 15
You guys still skiing?? Now I´m REALLY jealous!!
post #6 of 15
Hey Widespread,

I just got back from 8 days of climbing 14'ers and thought you might be interested in some of the stuff I saw out there. We didn't take the skis....just climbing with crampons, ice axe, and used the rope a little. The following areas had spectacular looking ski runs (I was wishing I had my boards so bad):

There are 3 couloirs (well known routes) on the east side of Maroon Peak that would give a good 2500+ vertical feet of sustained, steep skiing. I was in one of them and couldn't believe how long it was.

The vicinity of Castle Peak has some of the nicest looking steep bowls I've seen anywhere.

The Cross Couloir on Holy Cross is definately skiiable. You'd have to climb out of it before you reach the bottom, where there's a 200' cliff. Good luck getting all the skiing gear in though....it's a damn long way in, especially with the road still closed.

I climbed that North Couloir you guys were talking about on Crestone Peak a few years back. It was skiiable in May of that year (1999)....stable snow all the way up and no ice at that time. I seem to remember it being really steep.

Incase you're interested (here's me bragging) we managed to climb 6 14'ers in 8 days -- North Maroon and the traverse to Maroon Peak, Pyrmid, Castle, Conundrum, and Holy Cross Couloir -- that's approximately 22,000 vertical feet! We only saw one person up on the mountain the entire trip.
post #7 of 15
Skied Crestone Peak, Crestone Needle (really) and Humbolt Peak when I was in College in about 1990. The snow conditions were just right - sticking in a line down the needle that rarely holds snow, and I was with a psychopath winter mountaineer who was training for a ski trip in the Caucases. Lucky to have lived, but it was a great time! Cool to see that folks are still keeping the faith down there. The Sangre de Christos have some of the greatest descents in North America . . . and are largely untouched.
post #8 of 15
Thread Starter 
that sure is some ambitious climbing I was exhausted after just reading about it, best part about climbing the 14ers this time of year is the lack of people you see up on the mountain.
Last year, I skied the left couloir on Maroon Peak and that was the single greatest day on skis in my life, we were camping down at the lake. From a subpeak of South Maroon we skied back down to our camp over 3,000 vertical feet in just over 1 mile. Highly recommended ski and climb. D

Did you ski the north couloir on Crestone or just climb it?

Do you remember what route you took down the needle? You couldn't be more right about the Sangres, there are some real plumb lines there that are hardly ever skied.
post #9 of 15
Widespread, Very nice! I walked down the left side of Maroon last week -- it forks into two couloirs about half way up if I remember correctly after being delirious from 19 straight hours of climbing? What time of year did you ski it and how smooth was the surface? Last week, it would have been a little choppy and there were some pretty deep "bobsled track" type of troughs running down it, but it still would have been SWEET to ski....definately planning on it next year. You always hear about how dangerous the Bells are, but I think those couloirs are pretty wide and there's really nothing to run into at the bottom. So I'm thinking you can almost let the boards really run in spots....do you agree?

Sorry, I only climbed up the North Couloir on Crestone. Skiing it would be an impressive accomplishment. You definately would not want to have a fall in that one......it's steep and there's a big cliff at the bottom.

Hey, does that link to your photos of Challenger work, or is it a problem on my end?

Todd, I'm curious too. Did you ski down the standard easiest-way up in the summer? I'm thinking that every other way is all vertical rock?
Don<FONT size="1">

[This message has been edited by donaldjacobsdj (edited June 13, 2001).]</FONT>
post #10 of 15
We did the N/Nw facing shot down Crestone, then humped back up the Needle and then another NW shot down towards the Colony lakes then up Humboldt for what was a very easy cruise after the other two.

They guy I was with has done a lot of skiing with Lou Dawson and ended up skiing a bunch of 8000meter peaks around the world.

Lou Dawson incidentally, thats THE man. You guys all know about him right? He has skied, from the summit, *every* 14'er in Colorado! He waited years for the right conditions on some of them.

Now the next challenge is for somebody to ski all of the 13'ers in CO, which would actually be far more radical since A) there are a hell of a lot more of them and B) a lot of them are just slivers of rock!
post #11 of 15
Thread Starter 
Lou Dawson, why he's my idol. His guidebooks are the best and he's also quite a talented writer too. Definitely the man!!

It looks like the server that I put those pictures on at work is down for now, it's a junk test server that goes down from time to time, so just keep checking back or if you want a picture I can email it to you. Whatever.

As for the Bells, we skied those chutes last year over memorial day weekend, the snow up on top was perfect velvet corn through some narrow chute, towards the middle there was quite a bit of avalanche debris and it was kind of junky and rough, then it smoothed out again in a bowl in the middle, then you had to ski down through the Garbage Chute, a 10-15 foot wide dump of ice and frozen snow that gets no sun, after that it was another smooth beautiful bowl to the lake.

You can definitely point the skis and let them fly down through the bowls, a couple of the chutes require some survival skiing skills though, that all depends on your exact route. I would guess Memorial Day weekend or anytime around there is just about perfect, one note this route gets sunhit way early, we left camp at 2am and were on top at 7 and the snow was perfect then.

My goal is to ski all the 14er's and all the 13er's and all the 12er's.
post #12 of 15
Lou Dawson has a nice website at www.wildsnow.com

I've done every 14 er in Utah - all 0 of them :>
post #13 of 15
Lou also, since he never sported a mohawk or wore neon, has been mostly overlooked by the media. A shame, but the nice side effect of this is that I've found him quite accessable. Several times over the last decade I've queryed him about things and gotten a fast and friendly response. Truly one of the quiet kings of the 'extreme' skiing/mountaineering world.
post #14 of 15
P.S. I just dropped Lou a line and let him know he was appreciated here and if he ever wanted to drop by that would be great. He may or may not, but anyway he's a nice guy and a wealth of knowledge so I thought I'd at least let him know his name has been popping up.
post #15 of 15
Thread Starter 
Since the best barometer of what kind of person you are is what other's say about you and not what you say about yourself, well then that must make a guy like Lou Dawson the man!! Humility and humbleness are such desirable qualities to possess, that's what makes a guy like Lou so freaking cool. In this day in age it's the machismo bravado attitude that permeates the world of skiing: I've done this and it was this steep and I'm so extreme cause I ski the XXXX's bandits. It is so refreshing to have a humble opinion from such an accomplished ski/mountaineer as Lou, soft spoken words speak volumes!!!

Hopefully we'll be seeing Lou around here and let me be the first to welcome him!!!
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