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Avalanche rips a new run on Tucker Mountain at Copper - Page 2

post #31 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by NayBreak View Post

This reminds me of my favorite movie quote, from Marlon Brando in The Score, context of planning a heist.

"Don't be so f*****g creative."

Words to live by. wink.gif


Naaaa, be Creative, Tball!  Make it an Epic Assault!  We'll toast your courage, determination, guts, and glory!

 

And maybe I'll buy you a beer when next I see you...

 

Mike

post #32 of 47
Thread Starter 

Which idea is creative @NayBreak?  Riding up Copper and avoiding snowmaking, trespassing through the Climax mine property, or a long trek from Camp Hale over 13,000 ft Jacques peak?  :)

post #33 of 47
^^^^all of them are creative. That's not the point of the quote.
Quote:
Originally Posted by tball 
It's probably a mucky mess up top, but at least it's a dirt road, so it will be better than when I slugged up top of Union Peak
Quote:
Originally Posted by tball 
Looks possible, just not sure how fun...

Those quotes are the point of the quote. Although you should still do it instead of a perfect Front a Range ride close to home biggrin.gif.

I skied the WROD today and drove four hours total to do it. More or less the same thing wink.gif
post #34 of 47
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by NayBreak View Post

I skied the WROD today and drove four hours total to do it. More or less the same thing wink.gif

 

OK, that explains it  :)  I am planning that perfect front range ride tomorrow, so I'm not completely nuts like you WRODers. ;)

 

If I ride up at Copper it will be after they open for skiing, so more than a week off.  The reality is it I'll probably just be on the road bike to Vail, since more snow has to fall by then???   If not, I'll probably head up the service road on the mountain and see how far I can get.

post #35 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by tball View Post

If I ride up at Copper it will be after they open for skiing

That's exactly what Mr. Brando was talking about biggrin.gif
post #36 of 47
Thread Starter 

I'd make a few turns first, of course!  I'm just not crazy enough to drive up to just ski the WROD, not without a big ride following as the main attraction!   :D

post #37 of 47
Thread Starter 

Too much snow after the last storm for a MTB ride up there to be any fun:

 

http://www.coppercolorado.com/winter/the_mountain/mountain_webcams/UnionPeak/index.html

 

If anyone skis Valentine's before me and post a picture, I'll buy you a beer!

post #38 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by tball View Post
 

Too much snow after the last storm for a MTB ride up there to be any fun:

 

What, no snow bike?

 

Mike

post #39 of 47
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by habacomike View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by tball View Post
 

Too much snow after the last storm for a MTB ride up there to be any fun:

 

What, no snow bike?

 

Mike

 

Fat bikes perfectly fit NayBreak's favorite line, IMO :)

 
Quote:
Originally Posted by NayBreak View Post

"Don't be so f*****g creative."

 

That ride would be, like, almost 3000ft of climbing. The only fat I can afford to take along is my gut!  Folks obsess over rotating weight on bikes... have you seen the tires on those things?   No thanks!

 

post #40 of 47
Thread Starter 

Valentine's, the new run on Tucker Mtn, is expected to open for the first time ever today!

 

 

Tucker opened on Sunday, but Valentine's and Fremont 1 have been marked as closed until today.  Kudos to patrol for clearing the downed trees enough to ski Valentine's this year, at least I'm hoping they did.  :)

 

Anybody want to hike around and check it out tomorrow?   I'm probably 70% there... depending on how the rest today goes.

post #41 of 47
Thread Starter 

Recon mission done:

 

 

They REALLY cleaned it up!  It's crazy, it looks like it has always been a run.  The patroller at the top said they started working in April, took a ton of trees out and burned them by the blackjack lift.   To get the machinery back there they built an egress road from the bottom of 1 and Valentine's to the blackjack lift.  That's a really nice improvement, and they can get a cat back there now in the winter.   

 

No word on an imminent lift.  Guys at the top echoed that Copper is really slow getting things done, yup.  After yesterday, now I'm back on the side of not wanting a lift.  :rolleyes It's really is nice to have that inbounds, controlled backcountry experience Tucker offers.  While the snow wasn't great because it's still a mess from all the control work and sitting in the sun (just opened for the year the day before), the hike around and skiing back there made my day yesterday when the skiing wasn't that great on the rest of the mountain.  It's nice to have the Tucker cat/hike as a option to get me skiing when my snow-snob self might not otherwise go.

post #42 of 47
Thread Starter 

Here's a picture from the Black Jack lift where you can see the egress road and how much they cleaned it up.  

 

 

Compared to a similar photo from last year after the slide:

 

post #43 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by tball View Post
 

Recon mission done:

 

They REALLY cleaned it up!  It's crazy, it looks like it has always been a run.  The patroller at the top said they started working in April, took a ton of trees out and burned them by the blackjack lift.   To get the machinery back there they built an egress road from the bottom of 1 and Valentine's to the blackjack lift.  That's a really nice improvement, and they can get a cat back there now in the winter.   

 

No word on an imminent lift.  Guys at the top echoed that Copper is really slow getting things done, yup.  After yesterday, now I'm back on the side of not wanting a lift.  :rolleyes It's really is nice to have that inbounds, controlled backcountry experience Tucker offers.  While the snow wasn't great because it's still a mess from all the control work and sitting in the sun (just opened for the year the day before), the hike around and skiing back there made my day yesterday when the skiing wasn't that great on the rest of the mountain.  It's nice to have the Tucker cat/hike as a option to get me skiing when my snow-snob self might not otherwise go.

That's nice.  The video makes it look a little flat but I know otherwise.

 

About the Lift - From the interweb thing.

 

Copper Mountain Resort

 

Good news for skiers and riders who are always down for some lift-accessed powder (read: everyone): Copper Mountain plans to build a new lift to the top of Tucker Mountain this summer. The Tucker Mountain area has been accessible by free snowcat trips from the base of the Mountain Chief Lift, but a short hike from where the cats drop off to the ridgeline discouraged some from taking advantage of all the terrain has to offer.

 

The revised plans for the Tucker Lift have it starting near the base of the Blackjack Lift before rising above 12,300 feet to Tucker Mountain's peak. From there, it's all downhill to expert terrain like the Fremont Glades and, to skier's left, The Taco and The Nacho.

 

A notice from the U.S. Forest Service lists the start date of the project as spring or summer 2015. The Tucker Lift has been in Copper's Forest Service-approved plans since 2006, but the latest iteration changes the route a little, reducing ground disturbance and the tree removal in the process. Because of the change, it's open to public comment until Jan. 30, along some other additions being planned by Copper, such as a composting toilet at the base of the Mountain Chief lift, snow fences along the Tucker ridgeline and a communication tower on the lift itself.

post #44 of 47
Thread Starter 

Thanks @ali pine!   That sure has been under the radar.   There hasn't been an article in the Summit Daily.   Copper must not have done a press release.  Did that patroller at the top not know... or not want me to know?  Interesting.  

 

Here's the best article I found:

http://summitcountyvoice.com/2015/01/07/copper-mountain-set-to-build-new-tucker-mountain-lift/ 

 

And the forest service page if anyone wants to comment:

http://www.fs.fed.us/nepa/fs-usda-pop.php/?project=45277

 

I'll get really excited for the Tucker lift by this time next year.  I need to get as many laps in this year as I can first!

post #45 of 47

I just discovered this thread, thanks to your weather discussion post, but maybe better late than never?  (If I'd seen it, I'd have posted something last summer. :))  

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by tball View Post
 

 Yay! The new run on Tucker is called Valentine's since the slide happened on Valentine's Day.  That's much better than naming it Fremont 1.5!

 

They added Valentine's to the map this year:

 

http://www.coppercolorado.com/winter/the_mountain/trail_map

 

I wonder if they actually got back there and cleared the trees enough to make it skiable.  I was assuming it would remain closed until they were clearing trees for the Tucker lift anyway.  Now I wish I got back there on my mountain bike for recon this summer.  Gonna be a few months until we know for sure.

 

I climbed Jacques Peak last summer, went along the various ridges other times, doing a half dozen hikes up in there and over near the front side of Copper, that lead me into that Union/Tucker/Copper Creek Valley and beyond repeatedly.  

 

Not knowing about the Valentine's Day slide, I discovered it quickly enough, the shoot with jumbled, downed trees, the strong vanilla-like broken tree sap smell and the endless chain saw sounds from up the new avalanche alley.  At least two crews going full time.  

 

The cutters were mostly hidden from sight up in the trees. I'd pass that area repeatedly on my way up or down, and each time they were up there cutting!!  

Then there were the fresh dirt logging lanes between that slide and Blackjack (smoothed by a groomer machine), the burned out piles of branches, presumably from high up in there, and the crew of Copper guys lounging around at the end of the day at the bottom of the Mt.Chief lift (with all their trucks - and a grooming machine too) - inviting me to go down the mountain with them for a beer, since it was close to quitting time.  Nice guys. 

 

So, yeah, they cleared it.  

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by tball View Post

 

 

I'm tempted, but I'm pretty sure there is no way back into Copper Bowl except going over the front side over the top of Rendezvous.  I don't think there is a trail or access from 91, and you'd have to cross the Climax property anyway.   Online maps seem to confirm that.   Anyone know differently?

   

 

There is an easy, legal access up into that Tucker/Union/Copper Creek valley, but by hiking, not biking, as far as I know.  

 

Directions as follows (kind of half a year late, but....:dunno):

 

On 91, just before the gated Climax Company turn off road shown on your above map, there is a large dirt public parking area on the opposite side of the road from Copper Mt.  This parking area is open, no problem, and you can leave your car there all day if need be.  (I have.)

 

After leaving your car, walk back almost due north and cross the road.  Then go north/northwest, then west, contouring slightly uphill into the trees, no visible trail, but quickly on game trails.  By doing this, you can just skirt the north, sharp end of the Climax Mine property, marked by brown border on the map, on gently sloping land.  Once around that point, still up in the trees, contour more to the left (west and southwest) just below the steep rise in the hillside.  Keep going, by roughly the path of least resistance.  

 

You will come to an open avalanche shoot that goes up Graveline Gulch, as marked on your map (or perhaps it's a minor second gulch, that would only show with greater definition).  You can either go up this shoot (in summer once most or all snow has melted), or cross it and contour up and across the hillside past that gulch.  Either way you will find game trails that make the routes fun rather than bushwacking, if you are careful.  I've done both routes.

 

The obvious Graveline Gulch route is interesting and relatively steep, but not at any point a rock climb; and if you eventually cross to the left and cut away up and around the slopes of Copper Mt., you will find old, abandoned mining/jeep roads that traverse/contour around into the Union/Tucker drainage at close to the elevation of the ski area saddle of Rondezvous/Blackjack.  From here you can just traverse over and down into the valley or up to Jacques.  

 

The second route up into the drainage is easier.  After maybe a quarter mile of contouring upwards, skirting to the west/southwest and above the Climax property on well defined but sometimes faint game trails, you reach the main gulch, at Copper Creek. The hillside along the way is not uniformly steep. As you contour up, you can find relatively less steep areas to favor.  It's easiest to angle gradually up into the Copper drainage a bit before reaching the creek itself.  

 

Once you are up in the drainage valley, the slope gets less steep and there are plenty of open glades to follow, mostly on faint game trails, all the way up to the Fremont and Avalanche runs, and after that, Blackjack.  There is a jeep road the rest of the way up the valley, to Mt. Chief at least.  

 

The downhill run back to the parking lot below might make a great wintertime ski adventure from Blackjack, no cliffs or hazards to dodge, lots of glades and tree skiing, seems like, good slope.  And legal.  No avalanche shoots I can remember on the Copper Mt. side.    


Edited by ski otter - 1/17/15 at 11:38am
post #46 of 47
Thread Starter 

Wow, thanks @ski otter!!   It's fantastic you made it back there so often in the summer!  Thanks for the detailed route.  

 

So, how long of a hike is it to the Black Jack lift from the highway?  Looks pretty quick, probably a lot faster than riding over top of Copper.   I want to get back there to check out the construction a few times next summer, and the hike is probably a much quicker option if I'm short on time.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ski otter View Post

 

The downhill run back to the parking lot below might make a great wintertime ski adventure from Blackjack, no cliffs or hazards to dodge, lots of glades and tree skiing, seems like, good slope.  And legal.  No avalanche shoots I can remember on the Copper Mt. side.    

 

I'm pretty sure that's not legal.  The only backcountry access gate out of Copper is the Colorado trail heading west to Searle Pass.  I've heard Copper is very strict about entering or exiting the ski area anywhere else, and if they catch you there's a good chance you'll end up with a $1000 fine.   Here's the map of the area showing a special Forest Supervisor's closure in addition to the ski area boundary:

 

post #47 of 47

You are right, my lapse. Hadn't thought it through.  Legal in the summer, hiking; not skiing in the winter, seems like.  But there were signs of skiers in there, even in summer (branches broken, ground worn by impacted snow, small object scraps, etc.).

 

Funny that from the same public parking lot you could probably legally cross-country ski or trek in any direction that avoided the Climax property - and Copper Mt. ski property.  I think.  

 

The time involved up to Blackjack:  I'm slow uphill, so for me an hour, maybe, conservatively.  At most an hour and a half.  Someone fast maybe 45 minutes or so.  Not much there to slow you down, with judicious route-finding.  Looks like aprox 1,100 vertical feet gain to Blackjack base, maybe 950' vert to the Valentine shoot base by the stream.  For me up to top of Jacques and back was around four-five hours, tinkering around, stopping at the top for lunch.  Fun.

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