Youngest Extreme Skiers in Colorado do Holy Cross Couloir (Post date July 7, 2005)

Post by blogger | July 7, 2005      
Climbing Holy Cross Couloir.

Climbing Holy Cross Couloir.

On July 1st, the Kloser family of Vail made a high camp below Mount of the Holy Cross, a Colorado 14er known for its easterly cross shaped feature consisting of a couloir and horizontal snowfield.

The next day, Mike Kloser and his progeny, Heidi, age 12, and Christian, age 11, climbed and backcountry skied the Cross couloir, one of Colorado’s most well known extreme ski routes IV D11 R3. Even at their early age, Mike’s well prepared team had years of practice under their boots. They’d previously climbed numerous 14ers, were well versed in snow climbing techniques such as self-arrest, and as ski-town residents have the requisite downhill skills for just about any descent. While skiing such terrain is not for everyone (or every family), it’s gratifying to see the practice and preparation that led up to the Kloser’s descent. I’ve always advocated taking a careful and serious approach to our Colorado 14ers, nice to see the Klosers doing the same — and reaping the rewards.

Mike Kloser is one of Colorado’s most gifted athletes, he’s known for his success in endurance sports and is a member of the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame.

According to Kloser’s wife Emily, who was also along on the trip (but didn’t ski):

On Friday evening July 1st, we hiked in and camped at tree line just below Bowl of Tears. Heidi, age 12, and Christian, age 11, carried all their own equipment in on the sometimes tedious and mosquito ridden climb. We set out at 6 am July 2nd for the Cross. Two teams were ahead of us but Mike picked a great route and we were now leading the groups. At 7:42 we arrived at the bottom of the Cross Couloir. Mike rigged some safety ropes across the couloir. Two climbers set out at 7:55, then Mike, Heidi and Christian and two other climbers began the ascent at 8:05. The kids, with their skis on their backs, crampons on boots and ice axes in hand, passed the climbers ahead and climbed out of the couloir right at 9:00am. I waited at the ski out since I recently had ACL surgery (and was relieved that I had an excuse not to ski the Cross.)

Heidi and Christian Kloser skiing Cross Couloir.

Heidi and Christian Kloser skiing Cross Couloir.

With the snow condition as close to perfect as they get for this time of year, the three clicked in to their bindings and began the ski. After stopping several times so dad could get more photos, they were back down to my location in the couloir. The first words from Heidi were, "Let’s go do it again!"

On a serious note: This was not a whim. Mike had carefully planned this for years. The kids have practiced their "self-arrest" skills on steep snow fields for years. They have climbed 30 of the 14ers. They know how to move quickly and efficiently on talus and steep slopes. They are both very solid and accomplished skiers. And most importantly, it was something they wanted to do.

>Mount of the Holy Cross, Cross Couloir is the vertical slot, lower cliff portion is not usually skied though it fills in during some years.

Mount of the Holy Cross, Cross Couloir is the vertical slot, lower cliff portion is not usually skied though it fills in during some years.


Please Enjoy A Few Suggested WildSnow Posts


  Your Comments

  Recent Posts

Facebook Twitter Email Instagram Youtube


  • Blogroll & Links

  • Welcome to Louis (Lou) Dawson's backcountry skiing information & opinion website. Lou's passion for the past 50 years has been alpinism, climbing, mountaineering and skiing -- along with all manner of outdoor recreation. He has authored numerous books and articles about ski touring and is well known as the first person to ski down all 54 of Colorado's 14,000-foot peaks, otherwise known as the Fourteeners! Books and free ski touring news and information here.

    All material on this website is copyrighted, the name WildSnow is trademarked, permission required for reproduction (electronic or otherwise) and display on other websites. PLEASE SEE OUR COPYRIGHT and TRADEMARK INFORMATION.

    We include "affiliate sales" links with most of our blog posts. This means we receive a percentage of a sale if you click over from our site (at no cost to you). None of our affiliate commission links are direct relationships with specific gear companies or shopping carts, instead we remain removed by using a third party who manages all our affiliate sales and relationships. We also sell display "banner" advertising, in this case our relationships are closer to the companies who advertise, but our display advertising income is carefully separated financially and editorially from our blog content, over which we always maintain 100% editorial control -- we make this clear during every advertising deal we work out. Please also notice we do the occasional "sponsored" post, these are under similar financial arrangements as our banner advertising, only the banner or other type of reference to a company are included in the blog post, simply to show they provided financial support to and provide them with advertising in return. Unlike most other "sponsored content" you find on the internet, our sponsored posts are entirely under our editorial control and created by WildSnow specific writers.See our full disclosures here.

    Backcountry skiing is dangerous. You may be killed or severely injured if you do any form of ski mountaineering, skimo randonnee and randonnée skiing. The information and news on this website is intended only as general information. Due to human error and passing time, the information, text and images contained within this website may be inaccurate, false, or out-of-date. By using, reading or viewing the information provided on this website, you agree to absolve the owners of Wild Snow as well as content contributors of any liability for injuries or losses incurred while using such information. Furthermore, you agree to use any of this website's information, maps, photos, or binding mounting instructions templates at your own risk, and waive Wild Snow owners and contributors of liability for use of said items for ski touring or any other use.

    Switch To Mobile Version