Montezuma Basin — First 2008/2009 TR

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This post by WildSnow.com blogger  

We’ve had a couple of “sticky” storms this fall, which by all reports resulted in somewhat unusual coverage on the high peaks of the Elk Range here in Colorado. So we checked it out yesterday.

Backcountry Skiing

WildSnow guest blogger Dave on his Kilowatts, Montezuma Basin yesterday.

Backcountry Skiing

What would a day with WildSnow be without some gear testing?

It is time. We’ve got a pile of new gear here at HQ. Dave is testing the Outdoor Research Transcendent down puffy, and OR’s excellent Omni Glove. I’ve been a fan of the Omni for a while. This year’s version is slightly thicker and makes an even better cold weather but still light-weight option, what with PolarTec Wind Pro stretch fleece, but I liked last year’s slightly thinner version for spring skiing and high intensity uphilling.

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We're also testing the much vaunted Garmont Radium, all good so far, real-world review coming once we've been out on them for a while.

Colorado backcountry skiing

Fourteener Castle Peak has amazing coverage and has already been skied several times from the summit this season. We were short on time so didn't go for the summit, instead enjoying excellent snow on the Montezuma snowfield.

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I got to drive the Dawson family Jeep, so the day was complete.

Montezuma Basin

For some reason I like this better than a cable car -- but each to his own. (Dave photo)

Comments

13 Responses to “Montezuma Basin — First 2008/2009 TR”

  1. Andrew October 16th, 2008 9:00 am

    Awesome early season turns! I’m new to Colorado, but experienced in the backcountry. Without a 4×4 is this a realistic day tour from the Castle Creek Trailhead?

  2. Lou October 16th, 2008 9:32 am

    Sure Andrew, just start early and be ready for a hike.

  3. Kirk October 16th, 2008 11:42 am

    Lou, it looks like you’re using the Radiums with a Diamir binding. I was under the impression that the boots could only be used with Dynafits. Can you advise?
    Thanks!

  4. Lou October 16th, 2008 12:02 pm

    Wow! How did you get that impression? Nearly all AT boots, Dynafit compatible or not, have standard “DIN” shaped soles that will work in any AT binding. Glad we could clear that up!

  5. onyourleft October 16th, 2008 2:26 pm

    Lou, more about the Radiums please. My birthday money is burning a hole in my pocket. Love to hear a comparo between the Radiums and the BD Factors.

  6. Evan October 16th, 2008 3:13 pm

    Holy bitchin’ Jeep! Looks like it will take you more places than a cable car would anyhow!

    Anyway, your first TR got me in the mood to share some more early season stoke… you probably heard we got a big storm last weekend here in Montana: about 60 inches in the Tobacco Roots! It was like the middle of winter! Here’s the link to my first TR of the season, from Sunday Oct 12th:

    http://www.oronaut.com/2008/10/13/october-white-room-insanity/

    Cheers, and keep up the killer work here on WildSnow! I read it daily, and your equipment weight list fills a serious void on Teh Internets. :)

  7. Lou October 16th, 2008 3:35 pm

    Evan, that’s amazing!

  8. dave downing October 16th, 2008 6:14 pm

    @Evan — WOW!

    @ onyourleft — biggest difference for me between the Radiums and BDs, foot volume. The BDs fit my WIDE foot much better straight out of the box. So that’s a good place to start.

  9. Geof October 16th, 2008 11:16 pm

    Wow… Castle looks great already!! Headed up Sat for some turns on Greys. Prolly not as good as Montezuma, but still turns! Here’s good on ya!!

  10. Carl October 17th, 2008 3:42 pm

    Looking good. Would it be correct to assume you needed chains to make it past that ice right before the waterfall? I was up there on Monday but parked before the ice, about 10,800ft.

  11. Lou October 17th, 2008 3:55 pm

    Carl, I’d bring chains but wouldn’t bother chaining up till you’ve walked up the road there and scouted it. Most of the road is dry or has packed snow/rocks with good traction.

    I could have used chains for busting the snow up higher, but now that’s done for you (smile).

    I’ve gotta get some chains for my 35s, but my little worn out V6 probably doesn’t have enough power to really do them justice. Rebuilding that engine needs to be done, perhaps this winter for evening relaxation?

  12. dave downing October 20th, 2008 3:36 pm

    anyone looking to hit up Montezuma or anything else soon, remember WAX. yeah, the stuff you put on your skis last Christmas? It’s helpful I found :)

  13. Lou October 20th, 2008 4:26 pm

    And remember your tire chains and/or studded snow tires, as I just heard the ice flow on the road has gotten long enough to be problematic if you don’t have some steel for traction.

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Welcome to Louis (Lou) Dawson's backcountry skiing information opinion website and e magazine. Lou's passion for the past 45 years has been alpinism, climbing, mountaineering and skiing -- along with all manner of outdoor recreation. He has authored numerous books and articles about backcountry skiing and is well known as the first person to ski down all 54 of Colorado's 14,000-foot peaks, otherwise known as the Fourteeners! Books and free back country news and information here, and tons of Randonnee rando telemark info.

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