Yesterday morning Ann Driggers and I set off to hike and ski the big north couloir on Potosi Peak – one of the most aesthetic couloirs in the San Juans, and a line that has been high on my to-do list for many years. With an ample June snowpack, sunny weather, and freezing temps at night, this was a perfect opportunity to get it done! Here is Ann climbing up the steep couloir.
Ann arrives at the summit! In the background is the Amphitheater above Ouray, and the Uncompahgre Wilderness above that.
[+] View it larger! Yankee Boy Basin and Mt. Sneffels, as seen from the summit (13,786 ft). Still a lot of snow up here!
Ann’s photo of me snowboarding off the summit, with the endless San Juans in the background.
Me again, snowboarding down the couloir. The couloir is well shaded, the snowpack had frozen solid the night before, and the wind was keeping it cool during the day. Thus, the snow was still firm when we dropped in at noon, making the line feel even steeper and scarier that it could have been. We probably would have had to wait at least several hours more for the snow to soften properly in the couloir, but then the rest of the run would have been slop. Tough call…
After exiting the couloir, the snow quickly changed to the soft spring corn that we love so much!
A recon photo of the couloir we climbed up and skied/snowboarded down (taken on June 30 last year).
We skied all the way down the basin then hiked four miles out the summer trail. Success!