Cathedral’s Pearl

On Friday I met my friends to hike and ride the Pearl Couloir on Cathedral Peak, a rugged 13,943 ft. mountain in the Elk Mountains near Aspen, Colorado.

Cathedral Peak, Aspen, Colorado
[+] Approaching the Pearl Couloir, which is the curving chute above Ann’s head in this photo. Though the weather was cloudy and threatening to storm, and we knew the snow conditions wouldn’t be optimal, we decided to head up the couloir anyways.

Pearl Couloir, Cathedral Peak
[+] Bootpacking up the steep Pearl Couloir.

Pearl Couloir, Cathedral Peak
[+] The last section up to the summit ridge was very steep, requiring some nerve-wracking scrambling up rocks and very steep snow.

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Trust for Public Land – Wilson Peak

I am pleased that the Trust for Public Land recently published a magazine article about Wilson Peak featuring one of my photos of this iconic mountain near Telluride. I am even more pleased that access to Wilson Peak has been secured by the Trust for Public Land after years of being blocked by a Texan developer.

Wilson Peak, Colorado

Wilson Peak is one of Colorado’s most beautiful and most recognized peaks, and in 2007 a Texan real estate developer who owned some mining claims below the mountain closed access to the standard hiking route (all other routes involve much more dangerous mountaineering). After negotiations with the National Forest Service made no progress, The Trust for Public Land stepped in and was able to purchase critical portions of the property in order to reopen and protect public access.

You can read the online version of the article here.

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Skiing Abrams Mountain

Abrams Mountain is the big pyramid-shaped peak that you see towering at the head of the Ouray valley as you drive in from the north. Today we skied/snowboarded a fun 3,000-foot line down this mountain. There’s so much snow up in the high country still; we’ll be skiing into July probably. Here’s some pictures.

Hiking Abrams Mountain
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Skiing the Raggeds

On Sunday we skied/rode a great line in the Ragged Mountains of Colorado. This line provided a healthy 4,000+ vertical feet of skiing/snowboarding, from the summit to the road.
Many of these photos can be enlarged by clicking on them.

Springtime snow hiking
Hiking to the summit, which a big Elk Range backdrop.

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Davenport’s Ski the 14ers book

Ski the 14ers

In 2006 – 2007, within the span of one year, Aspen skiier Chris Davenport skied down ALL of Colorado’s 54 fourteeners (mountains over 14,000 feet). You can read all about this epic project on Chris’s website: SkiThe14ers.com.

Chris had a bunch of filmers and photographers join him for many of the climbs and descents, and they made a 42 minute movie about the quest. Unfortunately the US Forest Service won’t let him release the movie because of some technicalities about filming permits.

So, I was super excited last week to hear that Chris published a coffee table book about the project, and I bought it soon thereafter. I knew this book would not only get me pumped on the spring riding season which is pretty much upon us; but it would also provide me with some inspiration for ski photography. Indeed, the book is full of amazing ski photography by Christian Pondella and Ted Mahon, among others. It’s also got a good amount of text to read about Chris’s experiences on each mountain.

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Ouray’s Snowiest Winter: 253″

According to the The Ouray Plaindealer we’ve had the snowiest winter in 60 years of records, with a whopping 253″ in town… over 21 feet!

Snow in Ouray
Storm clouds clear out of Ouray after a 3-foot dump in April

21 feet of snow is almost twice the average for Ouray. I don’t know the winter snow totals for higher up in the mountains… maybe twice that amount? It’s been an epic winter for sure.

Summer Can Wait

Who said it was spring? Winter has come back with a vengeance in April. Just like last season, March and April have switched places… March was dry, April has brought the snow. Today it felt like mid winter, with 16ºF temperatures, deep powder, and mayhem on the pass. Here’s some pictures from our morning line.

Roger Schimmel skiing some fresh powder
Roger Schimmel skiing some fresh powder.

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Chimichanga

Another great line! I’ll call this one “Chimichanga” (*name changed to protect the innocent). The weather turned nasty today as a storm rolled in; nevertheless, the same powder from our last little storm was still well preserved on this long north face. Like yesterday’s line, this route was also a new one for me. It’s so great to keep exploring and riding all these sweet lines that I’ve had my eyes on all season. Click each photo to see it bigger.

backcountry snowboarding
Here I am laying out a high speed carve. Photo by Parker McAbery.

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Champignon

This morning some friends and I rode a nice big line which I’ll call “Champignon” (*name changed to protect the innocent). 4-6″ of fresh powder, perhaps more blown in, on top of a soft base provided perfect conditions for hauling some serious ass. Here’s some photos (click each photo to see it bigger).

Skinning up high
Skinning up, almost to the top. In the background you can see more of our playground.

Backcountry Snowboarding
Here’s a shot of me dropping in; photo by Jon Neau. Look at all the terrain in front of me!

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Dreaming of Summer

It’s April, it’s snowing, and we still have two more months of snowboarding ahead (this is a good thing). But as each day passes I’ve been thinking more and more about summertime. Here’s a few photos from a backpacking trip I did last summer in the San Juan Mountains near Durango, Colorado.

Pigeon Peak

Lily on the lookout for marmots. Lilly carries all her own stuff, and even some of my stuff too! What a team player.

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