Mount Sopris Skiing, Elk Mountains, Colorado

Post by blogger | April 22, 2006      

Got out yesterday for my yearly traditional climb and descent of Mount Sopris, the big white peak that looms in your face when you drive from Glenwood Springs, Colorado, to Aspen.

Chase Harrison on Mount Sopris
Chase Harrison was one of today’s insta-partners, this is him reaching the summit. That’s Capitol Peak in the background.

The backcountry skiing on Sopris was good, hard frozen corn lower down (nice because it’s frequently bottomless muck), winded powder and some breakable up high — but my climb had a few wrinkles. Greg invited me along with his crew, but I got to the trailhead before they did and felt like getting started instead of sitting in the car. Theory was that I’d warm up then take a few breaks in the peaceful night and do some quiet time while they caught up. The woods were incredible – spiritual – with owls hooting and a slice of moon hanging low.

But it was cold. Winter cold. With wind. So every time I’d stop the chill would sink in and movement became mandatory. Consequently I couldn’t wait for Greg and ended up solo in the upper bowl. Luckily another another party was up ahead breaking a nice boot track, so I caught up to them for a hello and what do you know, the crew included some folks I knew. Insta-partners! Mountain camaraderie — gotta love it. Terry, thanks for the brew at the T-head, and Greg, let’s try it again — next time I’ll ride with you from town.

FYI, the Dinkle Lake Road is open to the summer trailhead from the north (Aspen side), and from the Carbondale side is open to within a few feet of the trailhead. Lower trail is still mostly snow covered, but that won’t last for more than a week once temperatures warm up. Like I’ve said in previous posts, because of dirt layer in snowpack this may be a rather short spring season for big descents, though we should be okay above timberline for a few weeks yet, more if we get a few storms.


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