Congratulations Ted Mahon — All 14ers Skied, Completed With Descent of Capitol Peak

Post by blogger | April 21, 2008      

I just got of the phone with Ted Mahon of Aspen. He’s been working on skiing all 54 Colorado 14ers, and completed his quest yesterday with an 18 hour epic on Capitol Peak. He and Al Beyer found a new ski route down the south and west sides of the peak. More info here ASAP. Meanwhile, great job Ted and Al! (And who would have known, we now have three summit ski routes off Capitol Peak, the mountain that just several decades ago most people thought was completely unskiable.)

Colorado extreme skiing on Capitol Peak.
South side of Capitol Peak, ski route marked with small red dots. Mahon and Beyer roped up for some sections and the route involved at least one rappel. Why am I not surprised? In all, what a surprisingly elegant and creative line. Makes everything on the Grand Teton look old school, doesn’t it?

Another view of the new line. Please click image for massive enlargement.

Another view of the new line. Please click image for massive enlargement.

Colorado extreme skiing on Capitol Peak.
Looking down on lower portion of route. I hope this angle of view was from the recon flight, otherwise these guys need a psych eval (just kidding).


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22 Responses to “Congratulations Ted Mahon — All 14ers Skied, Completed With Descent of Capitol Peak”

  1. bob yates April 21st, 2008 12:11 pm

    ted mahon is a great guy, great to have met and skied with you in greenland a few years ago ted. awesome job and i will be out your way in june, hoping to have a beer with you

  2. Pete Sowar April 21st, 2008 12:51 pm

    Unbelievable line!!! The pucker factor must have been off the charts.

    What a way to cap off the project.

  3. randosteve April 21st, 2008 1:02 pm

    Props to Ted for sure…but the “old school” comment about the Grand is a bit over the top. Seems like many new descents (maybe not on the Grand) could be put together by involving what looks to be a big traverse on this Capital Peak line. Not really…’like a drop of water’.

    Sounds like that Landrey line on Capitol is getting lapped these days after Dav skied it…much like the Grand. Maybe you Colorado guys are just playing catch up.

  4. Joel April 21st, 2008 1:55 pm

    My backyard is cooler than yours.

  5. Lou April 21st, 2008 2:47 pm

    All in good fun Steve, just joking around.

  6. Frank April 21st, 2008 2:50 pm

    randosteve, I will agree with you that lines on the Grand aren’t old-school. Many of the lines on the Grand have more ropework than I personally find aesthetic (as does this line on Capital), but that doesn’t make them old-school.

    Landry line getting lapped? Hah, that’s funny. I’m pretty sure that nobody skied it last year, even after Davenport supposedly opened the floodgates in ’06. Why? It’s still not a route that is in shape very often or for very long.

    I think that one of the aerial shots of this line makes it look like more of a traverse than it really is, FWIW. It flows pretty nicely after getting on the W face from the S, at least to me.

  7. Lou April 21st, 2008 3:04 pm

    The Landry Route is definitely not a trade route yet. Still tough to find in condition is the main reason. But the definition of “in condition” has become slightly looser as ski gear and technique evolve, and that helps.

  8. randosteve April 21st, 2008 3:10 pm

    Yeah…I know you’re just kidding Lou. Just my Teton pride showing through.

    Have fun spring skiing!

  9. Lou April 21st, 2008 3:39 pm

    I will say this: whether it’s in the Tetons or Colorado, I’m always glad to see some new routes.

  10. Doug April 21st, 2008 4:03 pm

    Didn’t mean to digress Lou. I just have a tough time dealing with the Teton “style” at times. Reminiscent of the “holier than thou” telemark sub-set who spend most of their day parallel skiing. I just know from spending the dry snow season in Colorado and a couple of months exploring the greater Yellowstone in spring/ early summer, I tend to run into more “attitude” when I drift into the Tetons. Can’t take away from the wondeful new line those guys just skiied. Congrats Ted and Al!

  11. ethank April 21st, 2008 6:13 pm

    Thats to bad that you ruffled randosteve’s ego Lou. What an amazing ski descent! Anyone who has been on Capitol in the winter, or hell even the summer knows how technically demanding it is. I dont think it is fair to judge a ski descent by photos taken from a plane (water drop comment). Finding lines that are in condition for a ski descent even with the winter we have had can be challenging on Colorado 14teeners. I find it amazing that Ted and Al had the ambition, determination, and balls to find and ski this new line. Nice work boys! And as far as the catch up comment I dont think we need to catch up to a place where you cant find a parking spot or where you get in a fight on a bootpack (Teton Pass).

  12. Lou April 21st, 2008 6:20 pm

    Oh, that was just some good natured trolling, something I’m extra compelled to do after I’ve noticed that the movie Steep virtually ignored early Colorado extreme skiing history in favor of the Tetons (I’m guessing they replaced Colorado with the base jumping parts). I’m sure Steve will give me plenty of grief next time I see him, that is until I outski him (grin).

    As for Colorado, we do have it good, at least during the good snow years…

  13. ethank April 21st, 2008 6:34 pm

    I know you guys are buds Lou and its all in good fun. But the catch up comment seems a little odd. They did manage to have a good segment in Steep on Seth. Thats one Colorado guy who does not need to catch up to anyone.

  14. Lou April 21st, 2008 7:16 pm

    Yeah, Internet humor and give-and-take is always iffy. Probably better for a forum or chat room atmosphere. I started it, sorry about that.

  15. Andrew_L April 21st, 2008 7:25 pm

    Wow, another big Colorado line gets sent! You guys are sure enjoying a fantastic season. But fess up…did you make a deal with Diablo to trade with the Sierra’s snowpack? 🙂

  16. John Gloor April 21st, 2008 8:34 pm

    Very impressive guys! Congratulations Ted on completing the Fourteeners. That looks like a challenging snow climb without the ski descent added on top. Does anyone know if Capitol has been skied on tele’s before? It could be another first for Al

  17. Mike Marolt April 21st, 2008 11:29 pm

    Super style and awesome accomplishment Ted!

    And also very cool Al; getting it done as well!

    Mike Marolt

  18. Mark Worley April 22nd, 2008 8:14 am

    Congrats on a cool new line and getting the 54 done! As to “lapping” any of the aforementioned peaks/lines, I don’t buy it. Sure, more folks are skiing big lines like these, but it’s purely by increment. People talk about a popular couloir around here, Dragon’s Tail, like it’s a highway. I’ve seen four other skiers up in there all season, and yesterday was a perfect day with not one skier besides me in sight.

  19. Joel April 22nd, 2008 10:58 am


    I still can’t fathom skiing the knife ridge. All 3 descents on Capitol bring HUGE pucker factors to the table, but skiing the knife ridge is the one that gets me the most. Skiing the knife ridge – I’ve tried to picture that, and it’s just unfathomable! Something about both sides of the ridge falling away makes it very intense for me….the feeling of walking a slackline with huge relief, no tether and if you fall, you probably die. I’ve got a bit of fear of heights, which plays into it. When skiing a face or couloir, it’s manageable, the ridge, that’s just nuts man.

  20. Lou April 22nd, 2008 1:48 pm

    Joel, when I skied the Knife Ridge it had a fairly wide cornice top I could scoot along, probably about 7 feet wide in places. It’s level, so I just stepped along the length of it, with care. My partner belayed me, but more psychological than anything as once you’re farther than about 30 feet from the belay you’re looking at a huge fall if the cornice breaks. The better skiing is before the Knife, but it involves quite a bit of traversing as you don’t want to drop below the level of the Knife. When this route is in condition, it’s a good way of skiing the peak. But the Knife doesn’t always have the cornice on it, so as with many other Fourteeners the key is to get it in condition. March is probably the month for that, after a series of storms.

  21. Seth I Anderson April 22nd, 2008 10:22 pm

    Huge congrats Ted and Al! Both on completing the 14er ski like Lou and Dav but also upping the anti in Colorado is inspiring to me. Not that I’ll break my 55 degree mark, but I do appreciate YOUR boldness. I’d love to see photos!

  22. Derek April 23rd, 2008 12:51 am

    Hossack-MacGowan on the Grand. Google it if you must;)

    On that trolling note. Incredible new line on Capitol. Always fun to see the envelope opening up more and more. Progression is good. And thanks for covering it.

    Like we discussed before. Get the funding, and we’ll cover the history of ski mountaineering in Colorado on film. It would be a fun project, if it was funded to get it off the ground.

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