The Weather Was Iffy, but We Got Classic Grizzly

Post by blogger | June 5, 2007      

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.

Colorado backcountry skiing and mountaineering on Grizzly Peak.
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.

Colorado backcountry skiing and mountaineering on Grizzly Peak.
Grizzly as seen from Independence Pass. Check another backcountry skiing trip report for more info.

Colorado backcountry skiing and mountaineering on Grizzly Peak.
The boys climbing. Something about those ice axes is very appealing. I guess it’s that tool thing.

Colorado backcountry skiing and mountaineering on Grizzly Peak.
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?

Colorado backcountry skiing and mountaineering on Grizzly Peak.
I’ve always enjoyed this visual, with Grizzly Lake punctuating the bottom of the couloir.

Colorado backcountry skiing and mountaineering on Grizzly Peak.
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!


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7 Responses to “The Weather Was Iffy, but We Got Classic Grizzly”

  1. kd June 5th, 2007 6:30 pm

    Don’t you have to work?

  2. Lou June 5th, 2007 6:56 pm

    KD, I work my tail off, but am totally self employed so flextime is my middle name this time of year. Also, a significant part of my work is to go backcountry skiing, for content creation, guidebook research, etc. It all works together, and believe me I’m very thankful for that.

  3. Larrry June 5th, 2007 7:48 pm

    I know it’s a tough job Lou, but somebody’s got to do it. And, you are the right guy for the job. Keep up the good work.

  4. Don J June 5th, 2007 8:27 pm

    Lou, I hit the Griz today (Tuesday). Thanks for the steps up the chute, they helped a little.

  5. Sky June 6th, 2007 2:08 pm

    I always love skiing shots with the alpine lakes in them; it’s a beautiful aesthetic, even more so after the lake melts and splashdown looks possible.

  6. Geof June 7th, 2007 5:02 pm


    I too love the Portal campground… Anyway we can petition to not let it close? That entire valley is sublime. For any that haven’t ventured down it’s bumpy road, it’s a must do. Really, you could camp just about anywhere. A backpack into Grizzly Lake is awsome, not tough and get’s some SERIOUS wow factor! I’ll have to put that couloir on the list. There is wreckage of a plane about 2/3rds of the way in off to the left.

  7. John Rehmer June 9th, 2007 2:38 pm

    I skied the Grizzly Chute 6/8/07 after 4-6″ new in storm. E. side, then center, then W. side. Dust on crust. A sluff had come down the upper part in storm 6/7/07. Not as good a tour as 6/2005 for me when there was much more snow. Went to the 13,988′ summit & saw goat tracks. Two from Boulder, CO. Ken & Rick watched me while they toured the bench high on the E. side of Basin. This morning 6/9/07 the army arrived – 6 vehicles at trailhead, 6 at Jct. of Lincoln Ck. Rd. and Highway 82 and a group at campsite #8. Season is ending! Best to B. Perlmutter who I met 5/26/07 on NE couloir Blarney. I was impressed – he also did 2 chutes on Blue/Twinning the same day. Lou’s Photos inspired me to go – Thank You!! John Rehmer AAC, ACC

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