| The Deming Drop
Deming Peak and the Gores
Mountain : Deming Peak (12,906 ft)
Route : South Face (ascent), “Deming Drop” (descent – per Stan Wagon’s Gore Skiing page)
Climbers/Skiers : Myself, Ben (Benners), Rick (Mtnfiend) and Mike C
Roundtrip Mileage and Vertical : Approximately 11-12 miles, 5000-5300 vertical from Meadow Creek TH in Frisco
After a full season of badgering Benners to venture out of the mindset of skiing nothing but 14ers for the rest of his life, I was able to convince him, with a little help, to hit his 3rd 12er of the year on a line I had been borderline obsessing over for the last 2 years, but never got around to. The Buffalo Trailhead located at the top of Wildernest in Silverthorne, offers access to a couple popular, year round accessible ski lines, mainly on Red Peak and Buffalo Mountain. Just down the road in Frisco lies a somewhat elusive trailhead known as Meadow Creek, which isn’t really a trailhead one would use to spend a weekend of ski mountaineering. There is one peak, though, worth venturing back there for. Deming Peak is that peak.
Ben and I met up with Rick and Mike in Golden bright and early at 3am and made quick time to the trailhead, hitting the trail around 4:45am. Around 1 to 1.5 miles in, we hit snow, kind of, but enough to warrant throwing on the planks and skinning.
morning over Summit County
bridge crossing along meadow creek trail
The trail, even when covered in snow, is relatively easy to follow and we popped out in the meadow below Eccles Pass with a stout view of the Tenmile.
And continued skinning up towards our goal, Deming, and its southern face.
skinning towards South Face Deming Pk
After reaching the base of the face, we loaded up on some grub, some red bulls, some salt n’ vinegar Pringles, and followed Ben’s skin track up the face.
Rick and Mike w/ Pk.1 in background
We reached the ridge connecting Deming to Eccles and were treated with some pretty nice shots of the range.
a really cool line
Minutes later we reached the summit and feasted like true primates. High fructose corn syrup congealed $1.49 Kroger fruits, processed pig dong, melted junior mints and a large handful of Sour Patch Kids, complimentary of my office’s candy jar were enjoyed by all. What would the world do without food like this? Probably a lot, but after climbing all that way, we were indifferent and appreciative of its temporary nourishment.
Mike and Silverthorne massif
couple a guys with a nice view
We couldn’t help but notice the plethora of ski potential in this range from the summit of Deming. The Gores are kind of what ski mountaineering is all about. Rugged, remote and long approaches in rarely documented regions, kind of the tri-fecta of spending time in the high country. A thing of note regarding this peak. I noticed on the register a lot of entries with the last name “Deming”. According to Joe Kramarsic’s Gore book, John Deming, a miner, and his large family explored “every square inch of their backyard” back in the day and then beginning in 76’, descendents have made an annual climb of the peak. There’s a unique piece of Colorado peak climbing history to balance out the focus on skiing. For all you retro summit register fanatics, the Gores are a solid place to venture in to and seek these out. You don’t have to worry about some reject droppin’ trow and takin a #2 in the register tube either.
Around 10am or so, we made our way over to the reclusive “Drop”. Its surely an exciting entrance.
First glance is intimidating, especially since you can’t even see down the entire route. Lucky for us, mother nature had been splooging all over the central mountains, so coverage was not a problem. Ben and Rick dropped in first (same exact shot but a cool one, I thought atleast)…..
Ben dropping in
Rick dropping in
The top probably reached an angle of 50-55 max for 30-40 feet then transitioned to a mellower slope. We all agreed on a consistent 40 degrees from just below the summit to the apron. Here are a few hero shots of us that give the online illusion that we are all really nasty skiers, but in reality, more or less a couple of average mountaineering joe’s just out having a good time ripping up some turns in a seldom visited basin of Colorado’s finest range (yep, I said it).
opening up a bit
Not sure exactly how long this line goes for, but it feels like enough to warrant the effort to slog back there. I’m going to guess we had about 1300-1400 vertical feet of sheer bliss. Only bad news is when we reached the bottom, it was revealed that Ben’s GoPro was defective. After a few choice words regarding the “made in china” mark, we gave up hope on fixing the damn thing and quickly made way for a weakness in the ridge between Eccles Pass and Deming’s summit, as the day was growing old and the snow getting pretty soft.
Ben and some choice words about cheap labor in China
traversing over to our way out of this basin
looking up the Drop
Instead of traversing to Red/Buffalo Pass, then traversing over to Eccles, we opted to just climb straight back up to the ridge and finish off the day with some low angle turns lower down on the Deming ridge. We zig zagged on skins most of the way back up and were forced to boot up the scree for the last 100 feet or so. Ben and I got up there first and aired out our feet to a fine vantage point, planning future ops in the region for all times of the year.
Then Mike and Rick popped up over the ridge, making for a classic shot nabbed by Ben…
Mike and the Gores
The ski down the SE Face of Deming was interesting. We all basically straightlined it out of fear of wet slides, since this face appeared to be peeling off like the layers of an onion.
the mountain is melting
We reached treeline with surprisingly minimal poling and were able to keep our momentum till the creek crossing, ending our day on a fine note.
all classic days come to an end
We got back to the hour 9.5 hours after setting off, dumped our heads in the creek and then feasted at the refined establishment better known as SmashBurger. Ammonia based beef filler turd burgers with the works, Orange soda, and parmesean, garlic fries were enjoyed by all. In the words of Bruce Dickens, I’ve got a fever, and the only prescription is more deeply inset ski lines in the Gores.
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):