New Colorado Guidebook: ‘Making Turns – Tenmile – Mosquito Range’

Post by blogger | January 3, 2013      
New Colorado guidebook covers ranges nearer Denver and other population centers.

New Colorado guidebook covers ranges nearer Denver and other population centers.

While Colorado is not having the best winter for skiing our big lines, spring usually rolls around with some sort of corn and isothermic snow season that allows at least a few weeks of good drops. Thus, while it might be a drag for author Fritz Sperry that he released his new guidebook during this thin winter — there is still time for Colorado skiers to study Sperry’s 290 page tome and make plans for the epic. Also, to be fair we do have some backcountry skiing in Colorado now, though you do have to be savvy to get it (which is where guidebooks help).

For curious skiers and riders outside Colorado, our Tenmile and Mosquito ranges are subsets of the Colorado Rockies that are closer to Denver than the mountains around Telluride, Aspen, and Crested Butte. Comprising a stunning variety of 14,000 and 13,000 foot peaks, skiing in the Tenmile and Mosquito was relatively undocumented prior to Sperry’s book (this author’s 14er guidebooks had some info, and other stuff was floating around the web and elsewhere.) Now, with about 65 routes shared with text and color photos, the mystery is done.

If there are any faults to ‘Making Turns,” the lengthy introduction is probably where I’d suggest a change. It could be shorter, thus making the book smaller or allowing room for more routes. Truly, nowadays one can find so much how-to information for backcountry skiing that expending nearly 25 pages on a ski mountaineering primer seems a bit much. This especially true of a book with a preponderance of advanced routes that should only be attempted by experts anyway. On the other hand, Sperry’s sections about wildlife and altitude issues unique to these ranges are useful for the newcomer, though they could be condensed.

Making Turns is organized along familiar lines. Routes are numbered with a two digit system, e.g., “1.1” is the first peak in the book, first route on that peak. Simple, and easy to add the numbers to maps and photos. All the trailheads (lots of them, which is good) are in a chapter of their own near the start of the book. Trailhead navigation is sometimes the main purpose of a guidebook, so not having to dig around in each chapter for parking information is a plus. Rather, arrive at your general area of attack then easily flip through the trailheads for specific logistical magic.

I've never seen a guidebook with so many photos. Some are repetitive but most contribute.

I've never seen a guidebook with so many photos. Some are repetitive and appear to confuse quantity with quality, but most contribute by showing the terrain.

One thing that struck me as funny, but ultimately good, is the sheer number of photos in ‘Making Turns.’ The ease of digital photography and modern printing are no doubt to blame. The photos are so numerous (I lost count) you could call this a fault, as some of the ski and climbing shots are repetitive. But the sheer exuberance of these Colorado guys sharing their stash makes up for it. The whole thing reminds me of a Facebook page or some other sort of social media (or a blog?) where you’ll never have a shortage of images, especially hero shots. Plenty of the images are essential route photos, so it all works fine and many of the action shots do illustrate the terrain.

‘Making Turns’ is nothing less than awesome. It is exactly the kind of guidebook I’ve been wanting to see more of here in North America. Detailed for a smaller area; lots of color photos, good trailhead descriptions; no hesitation to suggest routes that range from easy tours to funky billy-goating. Highly recommended if you want to explore Colorado on skis, or just want another interesting guidebook for armchair travels.

Fritz blogs here and that’s where you’ll find his book for sale.


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8 Responses to “New Colorado Guidebook: ‘Making Turns – Tenmile – Mosquito Range’”

  1. Cameron January 3rd, 2013 10:09 am

    As a local skier, I was surprised to see some very obscure lines in this guidebook. Nonetheless, it is an excellent resource for a mountain area that is less glamorous then others but still offers up the goods. Now if only it would start dumping.

  2. Lou Dawson January 3rd, 2013 10:19 am

    I thought the obscure lines were kind of cool, as there are certainly plenty of major ones detailed!

  3. Rob S January 3rd, 2013 1:05 pm

    Lou – there’s also a guidebook out recently (2010) on the San Juans, “Cold Smoke” by Andrew Klotz. Very detailed with topo maps, Google Earth screen shots, and photos. In some cases it provides GPS reference points in UTM format. A great resource for us southerners. 🙂

  4. Daniel Dunn January 3rd, 2013 11:35 pm

    Thanks for covering this Lou. The book covers my stomping grounds, so I’m going to buy it, support Fritz, and compare notes. Thanks!

  5. Caleb Wray January 4th, 2013 1:28 pm

    Congrats on the book Fritz. I know the amount of effort you put in on this project. It must be nice to see the completed work finally sitting on the bookshelf.

  6. Doug January 5th, 2013 10:00 am

    A slight typo that caught my teaching eye..

    One thing that struck me as funny, but ultimately good, is the “shear” number of photos in ‘Making Turns.’

  7. Lou Dawson January 5th, 2013 10:06 am

    he he, I wish I could say that’s intentional! Indeed, I knew it was sheer, but the fingers just did the walking… thanks for the correction.

  8. Avner Avesar January 6th, 2013 6:48 pm

    Can anyone suggest any commercial guides in the US or Canada that provide backcountry downhill skiing access with snowmobiles?

    I have done a few snowcat ski trips but snow cats are slow and I was wondering if there is such a thing as guided snowmobile access that may be around the same cost and provide more runs in a given day.

    Avner Avesar

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