Mt. Sneffels Descent

This morning my friends Parker and Aimee and I hiked up and snowboarded down Mt. Sneffels, the iconic fourteener above Ridgway and Ouray. Oddly, this was only my second time on this local 14er; the first time was way back in June 2005 when I rode down a different line, also with Parker and Aimee.

Snowboarding down Sneffels
[+] Parker McAbery snowboards down Mt. Sneffels.

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Memorial Day Ride

Windy and unsettled weather up on the pass today. We did a nice long route that I’ve had in mind for the last few months. The mountains in this area form big broad basins above treeline, offering mellow skinning up above 13,000 feet. We splitboarded up one basin and rode down an entirely different one.

Skinning above treeline
[+] Fortunately the wind was to our backs during the whole hike up.

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Late May Powder Day

Jeff and I were pleasantly surprised to find some fresh powder this morning up in Yankee Boy Basin. Not a whole lot of powder, but powder nonetheless. The surface below was fairly soft and the new 4-5 inches of snow was pretty well bonded, providing some great cruisey late season pow turns.

Camp Bird Road snowpack
[+] Making progress on plowing Camp Bird Road. It’s almost to the spring trailhead now. What a snowpack!

Skiing by Sneffels
[+] Jeff Skoloda skis some powder with Mt. Sneffels behind.

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Skiing Kismet

On Saturday some friends and I skied/snowboarded down Kismet, a 13,694 foot peak neighboring Mt. Sneffels. A solid overnight freeze, bluebird skies, and perfectly smooth snow made for a dreamy high-speed cruiser descent.

Gilpin Peak
[+] Skinning up Kismet, with Gilpin Peak, also 13,694′, in the background.

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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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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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