Jay Getzel starting up the couloir with his Mountainsmith Mayhem 35 on Mount Evans
Jay can be seen with his Mayhem 35 crossing the flats before entering the bottom of the couloir.

Late spring and early summer are a time of year when most folks are tuning their bikes, planning backpacking trips and working on their tans…for those of us in the Rockies, High Sierras and Pacific NW, this season can be a great time to venture into the high peaks in search of fun, stable snow and some great corn skiing.  Last week, I headed up to ski a beautiful looking line on Kelso Mountain, a 13,000 footer adjacent to the very popular 14,000 of Grays and Torreys.  Arriving at the bottom of the couloir around 7am we found far less snow than we expected given the late snowfall and north facing aspect.

Not to be denied, we remembered that the Mount Evans road had just opened and this provided easy access from Summit Lake (12,800 feet) to the summit via a variety of snow routes.  With our start being a bit later than planned, 1 or 2 or the more aesthetic lines had to be avoided due to the temps and school bus size cornices hanging in the sun.  We opted for a north facing couloir that looked like it might hit the summit ridge and provide a great descent from the 14,264 foot summit of Mount Evans on mostly continuous snow back to the car at Summit Lake.  Our crew of wily outdoorsman included myself and some old outdoor industry friends including Darrin from Smartwool and Drew from Dynafit (both Colorado based outdoor brands) and our buddy Tom that runs a food truck in the burgeoning mobile food market in the Denver area.  We hit the snow around 8:30am and made solid time on our nearly 1,500 foot ascent to the summit ridge, arriving just after 10am.  I was armed with my Mayhem 35 All-Terrain pack and it carried quite well with axe, crampons and skis all securely strapped to its light and nimble frame.  After kicking steps in the firm but softening snow for over 1,00 feet and some exciting moves on snow, rock and ice (in ski boots nonetheless) we popped up to the summit ridge and hung out briefly to take in the 360 degree vistas and get prepped for the fun descent.

A stellar day in the mountains that had us returning to 80 degree temperatures in the front range that I took advantage of with some quality pool time with my family.  From 14,000 feet and skiing to cannonballs at the neighborhood pool over the course of 8 hours, not a bad day in CO.

First view of the line we climbed/skied after cresting the first knoll above Summit Lake looking over Jay Getzel's Black Diamond ski tip
First view of the line we climbed/skied after cresting the first knoll above Summit Lake
The full line of the descent in view on Mt. Evans
The full line comes into view…
Great views abound as we make our way up the side of Mt. Evans (Summit Lake below).
Great views abound as we make our way up the slope (Summit Lake below).
Jay Getzel kicks steps in the snow on Mt. Evans
Some clever photography may have made this look a little steeper than it was. The bulk of the line was 30-35 degree with the steepest sections just shy of 40.
Mountainsmith Mayhem 35 on Mt. Evans in Colorado
We dropped our packs where the snow ended just shy of the summit ridge…The Mayhem 35 staring down the descent.
Our friend Darrin from Smartwool making a few precarious moves to exit the top of the couloir onto the summit ridge of Mount Evans.
Our friend Darrin from Smartwool making a few precarious moves to exit the top of the couloir onto the summit ridge of Mount Evans.
The group on top of Mt. Evans in Colorado
Some awesome views into the Colorado high country
Mountainsmith’s fearless leader Jay Getzel…all smiles at 14,000 feet on Mt. Evans
Mountainsmith’s fearless leader…all smiles at 14,000 feet.
Darrin from Smartwool making first tracks down the perfect corn snow
Darrin making first tracks down the perfect corn snow…
Jay Getzel laying down some fun telemark turns as the couloir opens into the snowfield below on Mt. Evans
Laying down some fun turns as the couloir opens into the snowfield below.
Nothing like a cold one after a great day in the mountains in a Mountainsmith I heart fanny packs coozie
Nothing like a cold one after a great day in the mountains.
Mountainsmith koozies in front of the couloir that was skied on Mt. Evans
The line we skied is just over the right hand beer, angling up and left to hit the summit ridge…We Love Fanny (Packs)!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One comment

  1. There are many places I have visited for summer vacations and Colorado is among the best. I was mesmerized by the friendliness and the hospitable nature of the residents, the great climate and the great mountains and the springs. The residents of Colorado are the best part says Ron Virmani, they welcome all visitors. I started my hike at the Glenwood Springs. Glenwood boasts the largest hot springs pool globally. There is also the Yampah Hot Springs and the recently opened Mountain Hot Springs.

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