Dead Dog Couloir: June 20

Last weekend, my buddy Cam and I set out to ski the hourglass chute off Grizzly Peak. Underestimating the temperatures, we left Boulder around 6:30 and started skinning around 8:30 from the upper A-basin lot. We were instantly greeted to warm wet snow, but continued our approach for maybe an hour, hoping the snow would get better as we got higher up. It didn’t, and we decided to turn around and ski back to the car. It is important to note that the day was not a failure. We made the right decision considering the conditions and made it back to the car safe, getting some fun turns on the way back.

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Cam, skiing back towards the car.

I did however, have a feeling of incompleteness. All week I was itching to get back out and ski again. I had been in contact with a friend and fellow CU student, Alex, about getting a line in. We had been talking and decided that on Saturday we would attempt the Dead Dog Couloir on Torreys Peak. It is a popular line that is pretty easy to access, and although it gets a bunch of traffic, we wanted to cross it off our lists. We both agreed that if we were to do it, we needed to do it EARLY.

Alex picked me up around 3:30am on Saturday morning and we headed to the Steven’s Gulch TH.

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Driving up to the trailhead in the dark.
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We weren’t the only ones.

We reached the trailhead around 5:15 and began our hike out.

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We reached the bottom of the apron around 6:30 and began our ascent. There was a good freeze from the night before, making for a nice hard bootpack to begin our climb.

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Bottom of the chute was pretty turbulent with old avy debris.
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3-4 foot ruts running down the bottom of the chute.
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Getting through the mess.
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The snow became much smoother towards the top half. Here’s Alex on the final push.

We reached the summit around 830 and enjoyed the view from 14,275 feet.

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Striking a chord on my first 14er!

It had warmed up significantly, so without too much of a wait, it was time to ski!

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The top half of the descent was excellent- smooth, soft, and carvable. The bottom was a little tricky with rocks, ruts, and slushy snow. We finished skiing a little after 9 and made our way back to the car.

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I ended the day by meeting up with some friends who were camping at St. Mary’s glacier. I got there around 730pm and decided to hike up to James Peak and see the sun set. By then, I was gassed, and it was time to drink some beer.¬†IMG_5469

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