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Hike To Terrain at Telluride

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
Hitting Telluride 3rd week in January, never hiked to back terrain. What equipment do I need to do it (backpack, ski sling or whatever).

Thanks in advance
post #2 of 16
I've never done it but I think most of the hikes start at around 12,000 ft. so a good set of lungs will be the most helpful equipment to have.  Telluride's website has a pretty good description of their hike-to terrain.  Check it out here: www.tellurideskiresort.com/TellSki/info/hike-to_terrain.aspx.
post #3 of 16
You are not requied to have a beacon, probe or shovel to access any of the on area terrain, but you should have a pack or sling to carry skis for climbing Palmyra Peak, which is accessed from the Prospect Lift.  Some of that climb is exposed knife ridge and you do not want your shouldered skis blowing you around. It is almost all rock and snow/ice covered rock that will make you wish you had AT boots on.  Some of the Gold Hill Chutes accessed from the other side can be done by climbing with skis on your shoulder.

It is also legal to go out a gate and out of bounds off the back of the area, and ski the Bear Creek drainage all the way to town, which is a 4,000+  foot vertical drop, but this is very dangerous terrain that should not be attempted without the right gear, knowing exactly where you are going, and be dialed in to the avalanche conditions.  Many people have died in there.

 

http://www.tellurideoffpiste.com/palmyra_peak/
post #4 of 16
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the link...do you just hike it in ur ski boots?
post #5 of 16
Most people just do it in their alpine boots, but hiking at close to 13,000 feet on slippery rock in the wind can be more exciting than the ski down.  The Bald Mountain and Black Iron stuff is pretty much a stroll, but if you go to the higher Gold Hill Chutes or Palmyra you are in for the real deal.  The hike up Palmyra can be 2 hrs, so you are giving up a good part of your $92 lift ticket for one run, but I guaranty you will never forget it.
post #6 of 16
Thread Starter 
Nice! Thx for the info. Can the weather change quickly up top?
post #7 of 16
The views at Telluride are spectaular.  You can see all the way to the Las Sal Mountains in in Utah and literally check the weather at Moab while skiing T-ride.  You can see five or six 14,000 foot peaks in the mountains around the Telluride area.  It you check the report and are alert, it is unlikely that you will be suprised by the weather.  Opening of the hike to terrain is always weather dependant, and the patrol will keep an eye on things.  If they do quickly close it because of clouds or wind they send a patroller up to sweep out the hikers.  I was not trying to scare you, it is just that I have done a lot of above tree line hiking with skis, and even if you are used to it, climbing snowy rock in alpine boots can be sketcy.  Just take it a step at a time and you should be fine.  Hike like a cat, always balanced.
Edited by mudfoot - 12/19/09 at 7:45am
post #8 of 16
The only comment I have that hasn't been already said is that those tellurideoffpiste maps look like they were taken during a higher snowpack than you'll probably get in mid-Jan, so don't expect stuff to be that filled in when you are there... I imagine most of it should still be skiable, especially if this southern storm track keeps up, but probably a bit more rocky than what is shown... maybe someone with local knowledge could chime in, but when I was there last Feb it wasn't even close to that coverage.
post #9 of 16
Thread Starter 
Hey slightly off topic, flying into Montrose, should I shuttle or rent a car, staying at bottom of lift 4 in Mountain Village.
post #10 of 16

Take the shuttle unless you are going to drive to Ouray or Silverton Mt.  Once you get to the Mt. Village you do not need a vehicle. The free gondola runs back and forth to the Town, and you can walk anywhere once you are there, plus there are shuttle buses around town.  That is one of the cool things about T-ride, it really is a self-contained walkable ski town.  You can take ski lifts up from either side, ski down on either side, or go between then on the free gondola. 

post #11 of 16

Hi, I am planing on hiking Palmyra next season if it is open during my visit.  Just wondering what the level of difficulty is for the ski down.  How would you compare it to other runs at Telluride.  The steepest run I have skied at Telluride is probably Little Rose (the first double black chute on the right of the Gold Hill Chair) and I can handle that.  I will ski almost any run that does not require mandatory air.  I like steep stuff; have skied the double-blacks on the town side of the mountain but did not find those that steep.  Have always wanted to do Black Iron bowl but can never find anyone to do it with.  Have not done much hiking in downhill gear (only Loveland Pass with a car shuttle) but have plenty of BC experience on less radical terrain in lighter back-country gear.  Highest I have hiked and skied down is Mt Dana in Yosemite National Park in CA; the top is around 13,300.  Though that was 15 years ago...  I ski around 10 days a year; off piste whenever I can; get bored on groomers; I ski a lot of expert terrain but my technique is probably between advanced and expert.  I don't ski extreme terrain, where losing an edge could mean death.  Am in good physical condition, but am not planing on taking more than 10 to 20 steps at a time once I approach 13,000ft.
 

Your post is from 2009; have you hiked Palmyra recently?  Have you hiked it more than once? 

post #12 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by ExWanabe View Post

Hi, I am planing on hiking Palmyra next season if it is open during my visit.  Just wondering what the level of difficulty is for the ski down.  How would you compare it to other runs at Telluride.  The steepest run I have skied at Telluride is probably Little Rose (the first double black chute on the right of the Gold Hill Chair) and I can handle that.  I will ski almost any run that does not require mandatory air.  I like steep stuff; have skied the double-blacks on the town side of the mountain but did not find those that steep.  Have always wanted to do Black Iron bowl but can never find anyone to do it with.  Have not done much hiking in downhill gear (only Loveland Pass with a car shuttle) but have plenty of BC experience on less radical terrain in lighter back-country gear.  Highest I have hiked and skied down is Mt Dana in Yosemite National Park in CA; the top is around 13,300.  Though that was 15 years ago...  I ski around 10 days a year; off piste whenever I can; get bored on groomers; I ski a lot of expert terrain but my technique is probably between advanced and expert.  I don't ski extreme terrain, where losing an edge could mean death.  Am in good physical condition, but am not planing on taking more than 10 to 20 steps at a time once I approach 13,000ft.

It's steep and deep! No mandatory air, but a lot of optional air biggrin.gif. You should be fine, Its a little narrow at the top but it opens up. you can make it very challenging, but if you take the main path down senior's it should just be steep, blissful powder skiing!

post #13 of 16

I've booted up Palmyra twice in one day when it  opened up with more than a foot of soft on it after a recent storm and have been up there about a dozen other times last year. It's quite a bit steeper and more of a sustained steep than little rose; difficulty mostly arises from possible tough conditions, but any advanced skier should be able to get down safely. Boot up to Sunrise or Tram Shot and take a look at the face, if you're not feeling it, those two are nice low risk shots down into the basin. The boot pack is about as interesting as the ride down sometimes. I would recommend some sort of ski carry, as use of all fours can be helpful in some parts. Pic is about half way up to the summit from Sunrise. It's fairly steep in spots; the pic is not square though, but you get the idea.

 

 

post #14 of 16

Thanks Spooky and skirockiesftw!  That is a good idea to hike up to Tram Shot or Sunrise to get my feet wet and check it out.  Maybe I will actually do it this time rather than just salivating about it.  Looks like it would be great with good coverage and conditions. 

post #15 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by mudfoot View Post

It is also legal to go out a gate and out of bounds off the back of the area, and ski the Bear Creek drainage all the way to town, which is a 4,000+  foot vertical drop, but this is very dangerous terrain that should not be attempted without the right gear, knowing exactly where you are going, and be dialed in to the avalanche conditions.  Many people have died in there.

 

http://www.tellurideoffpiste.com/palmyra_peak/

Thanks so much mudfoot.

 

 

Yeah!  My best ski run ever  anywhere period was 7 or 8 years ago down the Bear Creek drainage from top  all the way to town.  I arrived after 15 inches new overnight

for a bluebird day.  I had done a run here 30 years ago then FS closed the area for 25 years but on petition they reopened Bear Creek a year or 2 before this trip.

 

I unloaded at the top of Gold Hill lift and find patrol had just opened a gate  and a few people were hiking up. I joined in. They made you walk a half mile or so along

the ridge (before Revelation lift in this area) then I dropped in:

 

 

A huge bowl (Delta Bowl?) with untracked very light powder dropping 1500 vertical feet (VF) truly bottomless; steep & deep. 15 inches on top of 10 inches on top of who knows how

much more. Incredible beyond belief.yahoo.gif  Next after a wide easy cliff band was another 1000 VF of same,incredible,incredible. Finally after a second cliff band

(tighter) a final 500 VF of untracked powder as if it would never end - but a  bit less deep and medium density.  And a final cliff band - this one with a 20 VF cliff drop. As

luck would have it a nice rope went over the edge. I tossed the skiis and poles down and then used the rope to climb down.  The runout from this point to town for 1/2 mile or so was

a snow covered road with thin cover ending right at a town lift.  I'll never forget this run !

 

I only did about 3 runs that day but I'll never do better than this one. I was on cloud nine for 3 days afterward.  Just typing this brings back such an amazing thrill.

smile.gif drool.gif  beercheer.gif

 

 

A variation off the above quote shows the entire Bear Creek area:  http://www.tellurideoffpiste.com/bear_creek/

post #16 of 16

After several trips to Telluride over the years, a friend and I finally took the plunge (pun intended) and tried some of the hike-to terrain.  The first two days we were in Telluride none of the hike-to terrain was open, which was probably good, as my 54 year-old sea level-acclimated body probably wasn't ready.  On day three it snowed most of the day and the next day the patrol opened up the road/boot pack off the Prospect lift.  We debated hiking that day, but the conditions were so nice everywhere that we just skied off the lifts.  The next afternoon we hiked out about 20 minutes from the Prospect lift and dropped in where other people were dropping.  Amazingly, two days after a storm, we had fresh snow almost all the way down to the run-out back to the Gold Hill lift!  It was so nice that we immediately did it again.  I'll add just a few thoughts that might be helpful to other "novices" considering this:

 

1.  Some sort of ski carry is essential - we both had backpacks with a diagonal ski carry.  I'm 54 years-old, and in good shape, but I couldn't have made it if I had to carry my skis over my shoulder the entire way.

 

2.  Powder cords would have been nice.  My friend had a ski release and the two of us, along with two good samaritans, spent about five minutes searching for his ski.

 

3.  No backcountry gear (probe, shovel, beacon) is necessary.  It's avalanche-controlled and patrolled.

 

4.  I consider myself an advanced, but not expert skier.  I ski blacks and double-blacks in-bounds, but have limited side-country and back-country experience.  My friend is less accomplished than me.  I found the experience enjoyable; he found it challenging, but do-able.

 

5.  As Mudfoot eluded to, if your goal is to maximize your return from your $92 ticket, stick to the lifts.  We spent 3.5 hours getting two runs.  I try to get to Telluride at least one time every season.  After this experience, all future visits will include some hiking!

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