Aside from a mid-week warming trend that shut things down a bit, Colorado backcountry skiers have been nailing terrific lines that are usually out of condition by this time. On North Maroon Peak, Bob Perlmutter and Neal Beidelman skied the famous north face Stammberger Route (IV D14 R3) this past Tuesday, while Monday morning Dave Bourassa and friends had a fine adventure in the Bell Cord Couloir between South and North Maroon. Elsewhere, people have dropped many other excellent lines, such as the north face of fourteener Mount Democrat (IV D7 R2).
You probably notice the funny looking number/letter combos in the text above. Those are “D System” difficulty ratings. We’ve been doing a huge amount of work on this new rating system. I’m certain it’ll be useful for guidebook writing — am using it in the new edition of my Colorado fourteeners guidebook. Whether it catches on for general use is an open question — we’ll find out in a few seasons. In the meantime, the only way the D System will work correctly is if we have a big list of examples, preferably routes that are somewhat known in the backcountry skiing and riding community. If you care to contribute an example route, please check the list here and email me your examples using the “contact” option in our website menus.