| The Endless Season continues
Ckimb and ski descent of Grizzly Peak (A), 7/17/2011
As I have mentioned to almost everyone I've met lately, I am pretty sure I have skied in Colorado in all months of the year - but I know I have never done it all in one year. With record-breaking snowfall last winter, this seems like the year to do it. Mind you, in any year one can find 100 feet of snow, make 6 turns and brag about it. So I have set myself a goal of at least one TR-worthy ski descent each month until the snow flies again (yes, on-piste skiing counts for this purpose).
Gerlinde and I were visiting some friends in Aspen a week ago and paused to make a few turns on Independence Pass on the way home. We got a great view of the north couloir of Grizzly Peak and immediately started thinking about skiing it. Most of my skiing partners are telling me they have hung up the boards for the summer (Benners made this very run his season finale), but when it came to the point we had no trouble rounding up a crew of die-hards.
Our group included Mike and Catherine, whom you will of course remember from my TR for Conundrum in June 2009. Since that time Miss Caleah Snow Sladdin has joined the family:
(Caleah didn't actually ski; her skis were in the shop getting tuned.) Gerlinde:
Tracee and Ray:
A better picture of Tracee:
And myself, here at the summit:
Canine companions: Riley...
... and Slinky.
Caleah brought her bugle just to make sure Papa was paying attention:
We left the trailhead and walked up the Grizzly Creek valley on a carpet of wildflowers. The day was perfect:
Mike hiked with Caleah, allowing Catherine to ski:
Grizzly Lake, with the peak above:
Looking down on the lake while climbing the couloir:
Snowmass, Capitol and the Bells from the summit:
The crew lounging in the sun:
Cathy tops out:
Once everyone was fed (including Riley), we geared up to ski. Unfortunately I wasn't able to get any pictures that did anyone justice. Still, here's Ray:
We paused on a bench just below the lake to take skis off...
... while Caleah continued to charm!
Apres-ski in July consists of beers in the cooler and brats on the grill at the trailhead!
I mentioned the carpet of wildflowers in this valley - like much of the Elks, they are truly magnificent. On the way up it was too dark to photograph them, so... These beauties grow really high up, near the summits:
Lower down there are fields of Indian paintbrush:
And this splendid mountain blossom, which is so popular that I have even seen folks in town cultivating it on their lawns:
Thanks for reading!
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):