Independence Pass 20th Annual Skiers’ (and Riders’) Barbecue BBQ

Post by blogger | May 27, 2013      
Before the grill was fired up, a short tour up to the Geisslers.

Before the grill was fired up, a short ski tour up to the Geisslers. Water colors from ice overflow in a wetland tarn. Click images to enlarge.


Enjoying sublime vistas and sussing out peaks while waiting for the snow to soften for perfect backcountry skiing.

A Tyler sighting at Independence Pass on a Geissler.

A Tyler sighting at Independence Pass on a Geissler.


The barbecue is fired up. Time to go.


Goodies on the grill. We'll need a bigger one next year.


The final stage - smoke 'em for the ski mountaineers.


Quite a few beautiful and very rad WildSnow girls showed up. Can you spot the WS sticker?


The hairpin turn below the top of Independence Pass. Some day we hope to get enough people in the Independence habit so as to lobby CDOT to open the road a week or so earlier every year for ski touring access. Be there next year to join us for another fun get together and we'll talk about how to accomplish that. Perhaps our BBQ will evolve to be a movement!


Please Enjoy A Few Suggested WildSnow Posts


23 Responses to “Independence Pass 20th Annual Skiers’ (and Riders’) Barbecue BBQ”

  1. Erik Erikson May 27th, 2013 7:42 am

    Looks like a nice BBQ.. Maybe next year me (and some other Euro-wildsnow-readers?!) can join you – lets make that international !! 😉
    But honestly I have a question: I am thinking about visiting the US and especially the rockys this summer/fall. I would apprecicate any information about possibilities in Colorado concerning good mountaineering / hiking; where to stay (cheap), if one can rely on busses or needs to hire a car and so on. Hope I do not misuse that blog by such a question, as it is not about skiing.

  2. Lou Dawson May 27th, 2013 8:47 am

    Hi Erik, we’re comming on to summer so general mountain recreation is a good subject. I can tell you right now that you’d be best to hire a car unless you are staying in one place with specific bus transportation. If you’re coming to Colorado, best mountaineering is probably Rocky Mountain National Park. Or for moderate to easy just hike our 14,000 foot “fourteeners.”

  3. Pete H May 27th, 2013 9:18 am

    For summer time mountaineering and / or skiing you’re better off going to Cascadia (Oregon, Washington, B.C.).

  4. Josh May 27th, 2013 9:30 am

    How do we lobby the cdot to open pass earlier? It has never made much sense to me on why they can not open road earlier, especially when san juan county and ouray county gets there back roads plowed in april and may.

  5. Scott Nelson May 27th, 2013 9:42 am

    Thanks again for the Brats Lou. Just what the doctor ordered after a tour. And great shot of Tyler. Fun times up there as always.

  6. Lou Dawson May 27th, 2013 9:53 am

    Josh, this summer I’m going to check the chain of command for how they prioritized and set opening dates for snow covered State roads here in Colorado. I have a suspicion that ultimately it’s a matter of public opinion combined with getting public officials on our side. If they just opened it 7 days earlier that would be perfect, and would still fall in the period when the snow has stabilized enough to mitigate avalanche hazard (combined with the heli bombing they do every year anyway).

    What is more, they don’t have to open it to the top, they could have “staged” openings, with it opening one week early to the upper hairpin where we had the BBQ, and to Lackawanna Gulch trailhead on the eastern slope side.

    It’s all very logical and would be a great enhancement to Colorado recreation and tourism.

    So we’ll see how it goes.

    FYI, prior to the early 1970s the road was never gated.


  7. Dave Field May 27th, 2013 10:23 am

    Glad to see some shots of current skiing and seeing folks get out there and enjoy the traditional end of season rites. It would be great to see more pictures of the stuff skied. Did somebody actually unicycle up there or was that just a skill test offered in the parking area?

  8. Erik Erikson May 27th, 2013 10:37 am

    Thanks Lou and Pete H. Just checked Cascadia on the web, looks good also!

  9. Lou Dawson May 27th, 2013 10:51 am

    That’s Mike Tierny and his uni, he does long distance, he was doing a big day that day and stopped to chat. He’s famous for his uni rides… Lou

  10. Andrew Lyons May 27th, 2013 5:39 pm

    couldn’t make it up to Indy this weekend from NM, but could you give a guess as to how viable the snow will be in the next couple of weekends for skiing? Say thru the weekend of the June 15th. Rough guess will be fine. And have you heard any reports from the San Juans? Many thanks.

  11. Lou Dawson May 27th, 2013 6:10 pm

    Hi Andrew, I’d guess it might last through another week, depends on when the dust layer exposes. Sounds like we’re going to get some cloudy weather and if it’s not to warm it’ll snow up there and that will renew the surface. Or so says Obewanskinobi as he peers into the astral plane and gleans the future due to his exalted status as one of the 7 skivatars of the millennium.

  12. Rob B May 28th, 2013 8:54 am

    Looks like a great time! What do you think the window will be this year for skiing Grizzly Peak? Hoping to get that one in soon…

  13. Bill H May 28th, 2013 9:54 am

    Hey Rob, \

    The main north facing Grizzly chute had two large crown lines that were easily visible from the Mtn Boy ridge yesterday.

    No way to tell from that distance if it was just new wet snow from April, or if it cleaned it out down to basal layers from Dec, but both crown lines had a big enough shadow that I’m guessing each was several feet.

    Overall it currently looked trashy in the bottom 1/2. The more NE terrain to skiers right looked nicer coverage and smoother.

  14. Steve May 28th, 2013 9:56 am

    I was under the impression that backcountry skiers are now mainly eating vegan burgers and raw soy and oats, especially in Colorado. It’s nice to see some good old-school meat on a grill.

  15. Lou Dawson May 28th, 2013 10:48 am

    Check latest diet wisdom from folks such as JJ Virgin… things have changed, more science less voodoo…

  16. Andrew Lyons May 28th, 2013 8:40 pm

    Thanks Lou. Coming up this weekend; get it while we can, no?

  17. pete anzalone May 28th, 2013 9:52 pm

    Thanks Lisa and Lou. It was fun seeing you both on a gorgeous day.

    Now, how are we gong to get CDOT to get that road opened a couple of weeks earlier? Any backcountry skiers among the CDOT brass?

  18. John Perkins June 15th, 2013 7:47 am

    Hey Lou, any word on what the snow is like up on the Pass this week? Any recommendations for a mid-June ski tour from the top of the Pass? Thanks.

  19. Lou Dawson June 15th, 2013 12:28 pm

    John, too much dust now, though you could probably find some patches of white… Lou

  20. Lou Dawson May 19th, 2014 6:17 pm

    21st annual BBQ ON THE PASS looks like it’ll happen this coming Saturday May 24, 2014 with weather day on Sunday following. This is a social media crowd sourced get together! Invites are flying across the fiber optic cable, be there.

    We are gunning for spring 2014 up on Indy. It appears that a series of storms in May could have covered up the dust layer. In any case, the brats will taste good. All are invited, let’s get together to close out the season in human powered style! Lou

  21. Scott May 19th, 2014 6:37 pm

    Might even get some fresh snow by then! See you there!

  22. jed May 20th, 2014 12:30 am

    May a Cali visitor, fresh off Mt. Hunter (where I did briefly meet the Big 3 Big 4) crash the party? Pardon my ignorance of Rocky geography, but can I get to where the crew will be from the Leadville side? What’s the ski and dining schedule? What shall I bring?

  23. Lou Dawson May 20th, 2014 7:21 am

    Hi Jed, word is that folks will gather around 11:00 am Saturday, May 24, with weather day the next day, Sunday. If you’re in Leadville, just drive over Independence Pass. See your maps on phone (grin). On the west side of the Pass there is a hairpin turn at timberline with what is usually a large parking area though that depends on plowing, not sure of exact distance but perhaps a mile drive from Pass summit down to the hairpin turn. Please introduce yourself. If you’re traveling, no need to bring anything special, all the folks usually have lots of food. Remember this is a casual unofficial gathering of folks who get the word out through various channels such as social media. Lou

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