Contrary to my prediction of a couple good weather days, our high altitude conditions in the Colorado Sawatch were rather rainy and cloudy the past few days. We thus got a quick classic descent of Grizzly Peak on Monday, but after a night or rain in the area and clouds Tuesday morning we decided that fly fishing and breaking camp were better options than pushing the climbing and skiing. Not to say we couldn’t have done something this morning, but I’m for a more reasoned approach than trying to audition for a gong show. My son Louie was along for this adventure, along with his friend Jason, who’d never shot the Griz so the choice of route was logical. As for the couloirs of mystery mountain as shown in previous post, they’ll have to wait till another trip up to that area.
|Jason skiing the top section. Conditions varied from smooth, to rough, to bottomless muck down near timberline. I’ve skied the couloir quite a few times and it’s usually less than ideal in terms of snow surface, so finding most of it fairly smooth was a welcome surprise.|
|Grizzly as seen from Independence Pass. Check another backcountry skiing trip report for more info.|
|The boys climbing. Something about those ice axes is very appealing. I guess it’s that tool thing.|
|Louie makes some turns. Soon after this the clouds came in heavy, but camp was fairly close. We stayed at the Portal Campground, near Grizzly Reservoir. This is one of the most aesthetic improved campgrounds I know of in Colorado. It’s slated for possible closure, thanks to USFS, need we say more?|
|I’ve always enjoyed this visual, with Grizzly Lake punctuating the bottom of the couloir.|
|Jason a few turns from the top of the couloir. Chuting the Griz is somewhat a rite of passage for any Aspen area ski mountaineer. Congratulations Jason!|