I got another exciting phone call from Chris Davenport yesterday evening. He and his crew went up to El Diente on Thursday morning and nailed three different routes from the summit. Still feeling energetic, the crew went for Mount Wilson (south Wilson) and dropped a difficult and unusual route from the exact summit, then went over and backcountry skied Wilson Peak! They did 8,000 vertical feet and were out for 15 hours.
This is a super exciting development as it represents the “enchainment” of a peak group that is rarely done that way. As they seem to be doing with amazing regularity, “Team Dav” experienced nearly perfect backcountry conditions caused by an unusual run of cold weather, as well as enough clouds during their big day to shade the snowpack and keep it from rotting out.
I truly believe Davenport is providing the first highly public demonstration of how a new blend of gear and technique is changing Colorado fourteener skiing (user wider skis combined on aggressive lines, while not bothering with nearly impossible climbs up their chosen modern-style ski routes). This approach takes what’s possible several steps beyond what my generation did up there. Gotta love it — real progression of the sport!
Looking back on this spring, it appears that the Elk Mountains and parts of the San Juans have a very unusual snowpack. The snow is “welded” and still fairly deep, with excellent coverage on summits that are frequently too wind scoured to ski and require starts a few feet below the summit cairn.
Again, congratulations to Dav and crew for a superb job. They’re headed up to Chicago Basin next — I can’t wait to see the report about that one. “Kids in a candy store” is an understatement.
And speaking of candy stores, we’ll be out on our 5-day Trooper Traverse next week, so I’ll be on somewhat of a vacation from blogging for that period. I’ll file a full trip report upon my return, and extend that with a series of gear reviews covering items we tested during the trip.
(Wildsnow geek notes: Our hosting company switched us to a different server to try and speed things up a bit, that’s why we were down last night and this morning. Everything seems to be working now — I hope you all notice a difference in speed. Also, if you make a comment you’ll notice some numbers that display. To prove you’re a human, please add the two numbers together and enter result in the box. I’ve been getting large amounts of comment spam and had to do something about it — sorry for the inconvenience.)