New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Backcountry in Colorado?

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 
I live in Boulder and want to get out to the back country again before the snow melts.

Where are the good places? I was thinking Berthoud... Is there still snow?
post #2 of 24
Ever been to Indian Peaks? It could be a while until the Brainard Lake parking area opens yet. this wilderness area has many 12 and 13k peaks, beautiful lakes and lots of late snow. Its much closer to Boulder than Berthoud.

post #3 of 24
Definitely Indian Peaks. It's a *do not miss* if you're in Boulder. Plus, you can stop in Nederland when you're done and gorge yourself on schnitzel or elk bratwurst or Russian Egg at the utterly bizarre and totally delicious Black Forest.

Brainard Lake Road remains closed and likely will remain closed until mid-June or so, but it's an easy, flat hike up the road from the parking at the closure fence to the trailheads. (Or a quick snowshoe or skin in if the recent rain down here has put any decent coverage on the road--though even if the snow was decent, it's probably blown off in many places. If it's melted off, it's a quick bike up the road as well).

Gorgeous area, and lots of local resources and guides for good areas/avalanche information.

Do beware the wind, though. If wind is in the forecast, then the area around Brainard will be crazy windy. Can't tell you how many times we've abandoned winter adventures in the Indian Peaks due to gale force winds.

This guy's got some pictures from a ski trip to Arapahoe Lakes in the southern (Rollinsville/East Portal) area of Indian Peaks. The shots should make you want to go:

http://www.couloir.org/2006_1_0.php
post #4 of 24
All I can say is:

KNOW BEFORE YOU GO

I gather from your post that you are not a BC regular (at least not in CO). This time of year, wet slides are a real problem, especially if there hasn't been a hard re-freeze the night before. Take the time to observe your suroundings, especially on the way up. Look for a few tell-tale signs of instability:

- Snow sounds 'hollow' below
- Snow collapses below you as you pass by.
- Snow tumbles and builds huge 'snails'.
- You posthole up to your shin or higher.

These are all signs of instability, and its best to get off the snow and wait until a good re-freeze occurs.

Learn as muchas you can before you go out there!

Powdr
post #5 of 24
Colorado Mountain School out of Boulder has at least one may trip I think. If Powdr is correct and you are new to Backcountry, it might be a wise way to get started.
post #6 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mom
Colorado Mountain School out of Boulder has at least one may trip I think. If Powdr is correct and you are new to Backcountry, it might be a wise way to get started.
Good suggestion, and I second Powdr's post.

Spring in CO is not a time to mess around. That is one reason that Indian Peaks are so great for Boulderites, though. There are tons of people around here with a good deal of knowledge of the IP Wilderness. Very easy to find yourself a trip, informal or formal. Or at least it was a year or two ago. This pregnant lady stopped skiing for this season when the lifts stopped/slowed. Spring in the BC can be dangerous enough that it's past my personal risk threshold at the moment.
post #7 of 24
If you're going to ski Arapahoe Peaks, go ahead and give me the $10k and I'll kick you in the nuts. Its Boulder watershed land, so its a hefty fine if you touch the snow there. Be careful. You may want to look into some avy classes before you go out there.
post #8 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by mollmeister
... This pregnant lady stopped skiing for this season when the lifts stopped/slowed.
Did ya time that such that you'll be back on skis sometime into next season?
post #9 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Powdr
Did ya time that such that you'll be back on skis sometime into next season?
Wasn't exactly trying to time it, but I am sure it was in the back of my mind. I'm due in the first half of November, so I should be good to go next year, aside from the (TMI for some, perhaps) *hauling butt back to the lodge to breastfeed* situation that I encountered with my son, who sported his first lift ticket at the ripe old age of 11 weeks.

I pretty much got a full season in this year, too, although I slowed down a little bit starting at the beginning of March, after I knew for sure.

I figured someone would notice my timing. . .
post #10 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Harry Dunn
If you're going to ski Arapahoe Peaks, go ahead and give me the $10k and I'll kick you in the nuts. Its Boulder watershed land, so its a hefty fine if you touch the snow there. Be careful.
The area adjacent to Rainbow Lakes is Boulder's watershed. Brainard is not part of a protected watershed.

Mike
post #11 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by mollmeister
Wasn't exactly trying to time it, but I am sure it was in the back of my mind. I'm due in the first half of November, so I should be good to go next year, aside from the (TMI for some, perhaps) *hauling butt back to the lodge to breastfeed* situation that I encountered with my son, who sported his first lift ticket at the ripe old age of 11 weeks.

I pretty much got a full season in this year, too, although I slowed down a little bit starting at the beginning of March, after I knew for sure.

I figured someone would notice my timing. . .
Sorry about the thread hijack, but congratulations. The early years can be so frustrating to your skiing situation, but boy is it fun now for us w/ 8 & 11 year olds. The joy of skiing takes on a whole new meaning with kids that can rip up the mountain along side of you.

Powdr
post #12 of 24
Brainerd Lakes:

About 30 yrs ago on my way to Wyoming I pulled into the road to Brainerd Lakes (mid June) in search of an appealing place to camp, walked up the road and along the snow packed trail beside the lakes, found a place to set the tent in a location that was absolutely stunning. The next morning I walked up the snow covered slope beyond the treeline to a little ice covered tarn. The snow was perfect firm "to die for" corn and stretched way up beyond towards the divide. Unfortunately I had left my skis behind in the naive beleif that the season was over. I can't imagine what might be restraining those of you who live out there. What more could you possibly be looking for?
post #13 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Powdr
Sorry about the thread hijack, but congratulations. The early years can be so frustrating to your skiing situation, but boy is it fun now for us w/ 8 & 11 year olds. The joy of skiing takes on a whole new meaning with kids that can rip up the mountain along side of you.

Powdr
Can't wait. Got our firstborn up on skis this winter at 26 months, and he thought it was AWESOME. I am sure we have a few instances of crying ahead of us, but it'll be well worth it.

I still love to ski with my Dad, who got me started in the sport 24 years ago (now I'm 33 and he's 63), so I can't wait (hopefully) to have the same with my kids. . . and to have it last as long as it has with my Dad.

And interestingly, the development of our team of tiny skiers has got my snowboarder husband eyeing skis again for the first time in 12 years. He's been intrigued by the *new* equipment and now maybe has a reason to demo and then *invest*, as he's decided it'll be easier to help the little people from skis than a snowboard. Although we're both gearheads, so I have to be honest with myself. He just wants more stuff.
post #14 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by oisin
Brainerd Lakes:

About 30 yrs ago on my way to Wyoming I pulled into the road to Brainerd Lakes (mid June) in search of an appealing place to camp, walked up the road and along the snow packed trail beside the lakes, found a place to set the tent in a location that was absolutely stunning. The next morning I walked up the snow covered slope beyond the treeline to a little ice covered tarn. The snow was perfect firm "to die for" corn and stretched way up beyond towards the divide. Unfortunately I had left my skis behind in the naive beleif that the season was over. I can't imagine what might be restraining those of you who live out there. What more could you possibly be looking for?
Indian Peaks are a terrific spot. And we Boulderites are very lucky!

Very easy access, and yet some superb, quiet locations for snowshoeing, skiing, hiking, and general outdoor fun. I've hiked most of the major high points and often managed to avoid people, no matter how crowded the parking lot gets. . . it's all about shoulder season and *early to rise.*

Although I must say that I am an even bigger fan of points south of Brainard, in the Fourth of July Mine area. South Arapahoe Peak is my favorite hike in the Wilderness, with a detour south on the way back to the car to visit Diamond Lake for a dip (if there's been enough snow over the winter to fill it high enough for more than a wade).

As for skiing, I have done more snowshoeing than skiing up there, but there are some great spots, good snow, and some dedicated skiers. I have seen folks packing in skis for last runs down some surprisingly good corn well into June and even early July.

Ah, to live near the mountains.
post #15 of 24
I've been in the 4th of July basin as well, hiked the old stage rd to the divide, past the chattering marmots, hiked up Arapahoe. I recall hiking up a fairly large high angle snowfield on my way up Navaho pk, I think it was, in mid July. It would have been great skiing although lacking any run out. You folks really are lucky.
post #16 of 24
Anyone else notice the original poster is a "one and done"? Still, Indian Peaks is a favorite and special place. Mom's ashes were scattered among the wildflowers near Lake Isabel.
post #17 of 24
Thread Starter 
yeah, sorry for not keeping up with the posts. I dont have the discipline to check daily (hardly even weekly)

Thank you all for the advice! Unfortunately the buddy i was going to go with went back to steamboat for the summer already, so im left all alone and dont really want to try to drag any of my other friends somewhere like that (they dont have any bc gear.) so it looks like the season is almost done for me, and i say almost optimistically in hope that ill be able to make it out once more if i find the right crowd to go with.
post #18 of 24
an alert was just issued yesterday for wet slides due to increased warming. not a great time to be in the BC.
post #19 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by mollmeister
This pregnant lady stopped skiing for this season when the lifts stopped/slowed. Spring in the BC can be dangerous enough that it's past my personal risk threshold at the moment.
How awesome for you! Now you'll have two kids to do the Lake Effect Dance for us!
post #20 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rusty Guy
an alert was just issued yesterday for wet slides due to increased warming. not a great time to be in the BC.
Agreed. That goes for Wyoming as well.

I'm waiting for a cold spell before going back up. It's so warm here that nothing is freezing at night anymore except way, way, waaayyyy up high.
post #21 of 24
They even closed the East Wall at A-Basin yesterday because of it. They are obviously especially cautious after last spring's temp gradient release and resulting fatality.
post #22 of 24
Thread Starter 
an in-bounds fatality dp?
post #23 of 24
last year at First Alley now called David's run. My friend knew him well. That was his favorite run. The anniversary is coming up 5/20

http://geosurvey.state.co.us/Avalanc...=44#AB05202005
post #24 of 24
hello, I'm from ft. collins !! I love backcountry. I'm also into old-school cross-country skis from the 60s and 70s. I own skilom 141s (founded by madshus).
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home