Independence Pass Skiing Mega Day, Colorado…

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This post by WildSnow.com blogger  

…At least it was for me, some of you gel inhaling human lungs might need twice as much. But just over 6,000 vert at around 12,000 and 13,000 feet burns plenty of fat, so I’m happy and so are companions Bob Perlmutter. and Jason Gregg. I’ll not go into too much detail as I’d hate for this route to become crowded (that is a joke, please laugh).

First step, drop off Blue Peak. You can take any number of options.

First step, drop Blue Peak east. You can take any number of options, all get you down to Blue Lake and the Two Mile Run. The higher peak in the background is Mount Champion. Click image to enlarge.

In general: Summit of Blue Peak down to Blue Lake, climb a few hundred vert out of Blue Lake to a bump, ski Two Mile Run north, climb about 2,000 vert back up west to summit of what I’m going call Geissler Zero, 13,366 feet, north of Blue on the Continental Divide. Ski westerly down Geis Zero then do the classic Three Summits of Geissler. Details and maps for all this stuff can be found at our guidebook website. Here are some photos to get you excited for tiring yourself out at high altitude. Hint: bring more than a liter of water for the day — don’t ask me how I gleaned that tidbit of infinite wisdom.

Ski mountaineering in Colorado.

Bob starting the Two Mile Run. This unusual feature skis you north _up_ the main drainage. Click image to enlarge.

Skiing the backcountry in  Colorado, Geissler Mountain.

At the summit of Geissler Zero, you're around 4,000 vert into the project and looking at the sweet southerly face of Geissler One. Yes, that is a backpack in the way. Not my most shining moment as a photographer.

Skiing off Geissler Zero

Jason skiing off Geissler Zero, with the nice couloirs of Blue Peak in the background. Click to enlarge.

Bob and Jason top Geissler Two

Bob and Jason top Geissler Two. Click to enlarge.

Bob on the last of our 6 summits or high points, Geissler Three.

Bob on the last of our 6 summits or high points, Geissler Three. Looking southerly. Now down to the cars at the trailhead. Click to enlarge.

When the weather is right and the snowpack solid, head out and see what you can do! For planning purposes, please know that we didn’t run around this stuff like we were Lycra clad rando racers. Instead, the whole project took about 7 hours. All three of us were whipped, least of all Bob who’d just come from an eight day stint at sea level. He rallied, even though he had the heaviest boots. But I expect nothing less from the man.

Reminder, we will BBQ on the Pass at Upper Hairpin parking, this coming Saturday June 4, 11:00 am after skiing Blue Peak and Geissler area. Please join. Folks bring everything from their own portable BBQ to just a sack lunch. We’ll have some coolers with ice and a small grill. Nice time to meet new folks and just enjoy the alpine without running on home.

Comments

13 Responses to “Independence Pass Skiing Mega Day, Colorado…”

  1. Jim May 31st, 2011 7:48 pm

    Louie, Could you report on PNW conditions? Thanks.

  2. Scott Nelson May 31st, 2011 8:08 pm

    Wow. Right on Lou! Superfit, superfit, he’s superfit (from the Rick James’ tune Superfreak). Amazing conditions up there right now.

  3. scott hemmen May 31st, 2011 8:12 pm

    It did not look like this yesterday. Great shots thanks.

  4. Louie May 31st, 2011 10:26 pm

    Unfortunately can’t comment on the conditions much, finals are kicking my butt so I haven’t been skiing in a few weeks. I’ve heard it’s been pretty good though.

  5. Forrest June 1st, 2011 7:12 am

    You are making me miss Colorado.

  6. Jason Gregg June 1st, 2011 10:38 am

    This was my first chance to tour with Lou and Bob, though I usually cat ski with Bob a couple times a winter, and I consider myself very lucky. Thanks again for including me.

  7. Lou June 1st, 2011 11:41 am

    Lee, any beta on PNW or Coast conditions?

  8. Lou June 1st, 2011 11:43 am

    Back up on Blue again this morning. Looked like another day you could tour all day, lots of smoke in the air and some clouds.

  9. Scott June 1st, 2011 12:57 pm

    Yeah all that smoke in the air today was definitely making me feel a little hypoxic. What a contrast from yesterday.

    Agree on the all day thing. Just started to soften up when we finished at around 11am, Blue Peak area that is. We started at 7:00am ish, still too early.

  10. Mark Soot June 1st, 2011 3:43 pm

    Thanks for the Indy trip reports. The hard freeze on Monday was welcome along with the clouds and wind today which kept conditions ripe until noon. We skied the NE face of Treasure yesterday and the 3 Geissler tour today. Excellent spring conditions. Thanks for skiing!

  11. Lou June 1st, 2011 5:22 pm

    Good job Mark!

  12. Jason Gregg June 2nd, 2011 6:57 am

    Lou was talking about inside mouth sunburn in the parking lot before this tour. I really hate getting sunblock in my mouth so I always try to be very careful putting it on. Anyway I new the tour might be long but wasn’t quite clear just how long so when we headed up Blue I decided I was going to keep my mouth shut, literally. But about 2/3rds up I forgot and with the bulk of the day spent around thirteen thousand feet, I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that I got it. It’s not a good thing, next time I’m going to cake my lower lip with Zinc and tape my mouth shut.

  13. Lou June 2nd, 2011 7:54 am

    Yeah, and then I had to go to the dentist for some work. The tech smeared Lidocain all over the burn and it helped, but later, yowie! What happened with me was because of the wind I didn’t wear my sun hat as much as usual, which shades my face from above (my burn is from that, not snow reflection), but a bandanna over the face for part of the day might have been key. Just more time out than normal…

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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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