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Putting together a list of lower-intermediate descents

Posted: Fri May 20, 2016 5:38 pm
by fluxrad
I skinned up Quandary with a buddy of mine yesterday with the intent of descending Cristo. Conditions were near perfect, but as we summited we nope'd out of it and came down the east slope. Some of it had to do with not being able to see beyond the roll-over (just below the rocks about 100'-200' below the summit). But much of it was a lack of confidence at not having done anything like it before.

I skied Sunrise Couloir about six years ago, which is apparently more difficult than Cristo. But, this was with a larger group, so there was some Kodak Courage involved. You could also see the whole line from the entrance. I'm curious about recommendations on more intermediate descents to get more comfortable skiing bigger lines — something in between the East Slopes and Cristo as far as difficulty. If you were making a list, what would you put on it? Maybe more like D5-D7?

Re: Putting together a list of lower-intermediate descents

Posted: Sun May 29, 2016 9:15 am
by Goat9
Fluxrad, I see that you are in Denver and I listed some Front Range options below. There are many great moderate lines to get your comfort level established. You can find more information on these and other routes at http://www.frontrangeskimo.com" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Woods Mountain Watrous Bowl: This is just above I-70 from Herman Gulch and a little steep but not too long!

Mount Parnassus NE Face and North Face Drainpipe: These are quickly accessed from Ruby Gulch Trailhead. A step up in exposure and steepness from Watrous Bowl. NE Face has a complicated entry.

The chutes on Point 13,418 next to Pettingell Peak are good for couloir skiing. They are wide enough and a bit steep but not too bad. Pettingell's SE Face is easier, and you get to ski right off the summit!

The Bancroft Bowl on Mount Bancroft has a steep roll over into a big bowl.

"Bailout" on James Peak is a really fun big bowl that is a good introduction to the James Peak East Face couloirs.

A bit further in, but it is the spring classic: SE Face of Mount Toll. Ski from the summit, with a little bit of exposure. Steep but not too steep. Nice sustained pitch.

There are a lot more on the website and it includes the "D" rating system.

Re: Putting together a list of lower-intermediate descents

Posted: Sun May 29, 2016 11:15 am
by BillMiddlebrook
fluxrad, were you the tele skier we saw near the summit yesterday? The three of us were on our way over to the North Couloir.

Anyway, here are a few easier 14er skis:
Grays Peak - East Slopes
Mt. Bross - "S" Gully
Mt. Bross - "Dolly Varden Gully"
Mt. Bross - East Slopes from Moose Creek
Mt. Elbert - East Ridge proper
Mt. Lincoln - East Slopes
Mt. Sherman - South Slope

Have fun!

Re: Putting together a list of lower-intermediate descents

Posted: Mon May 30, 2016 11:08 am
by fluxrad
This was on Thursday, my buddy was on a split-board and I was on an AT setup. We did meet two guys on their way up to do North Couloir, but didn't see 'em after the TH. Looked like everyone dropped into Cristo.

Really great list guys. Thank you!

Re: Putting together a list of lower-intermediate descents

Posted: Mon May 30, 2016 11:22 am
by eyost11
Lincoln east slope was in great condition yesterday, except the rotten snow/ice below the falls. I didn't ski it, but did summit and glissade about 2,000'. Very short approach if you are as lazy as I am.
You would have to pretty creative to stay on continuous snow all the way down to the falls, upper half looks worth it.

Re: Putting together a list of lower-intermediate descents

Posted: Mon May 30, 2016 1:28 pm
by Liquid Shadow
I want to thank OP for this thread, it's exactly what I've been looking for too. Also thanks to Goat9 for the last minute ideas: I went up Watrous Bowl today and it was awesome! Didn't summit Woods Mountain though because I ran out of time, did a little bit of skiing just below the bowl. Had a blast!

Re: Putting together a list of lower-intermediate descents

Posted: Tue May 31, 2016 4:58 pm
by jkillgore
I still think of Cristo as being an entry level couloir. Hard to go appreciably easier, but there are certainly others in the similar class.
Good options are listed so far. Drainpipe on parnassus is a great intermediate. Only steep at the every entrance, with a bit more character at the bottom than other lines in this class.

Others front range lines that come to mind:
Tuning Fork on Torreys
North Couloir on Squaretop
SE face on Hagar
Notchtop Couloir on Notchtop
Crooked couloir on audobon
Curvaceous couloir on Paiute

Re: Putting together a list of lower-intermediate descents

Posted: Tue May 31, 2016 5:16 pm
by AlexeyD
Great topic! I am also voraciously lurking for ideas for myself :)

A couple from someone of what sounds like similar ability to OP:

SE slopes of Coon Hill - very quick, good bang-for-your buck tour in this category (D5-6)

Squaretop, NE Slopes to Squaretop lakes (right-most gully going down to the upper lake if looking from the bottom), D6-ish.

I'll second the Tuning Fork - that's a great suggestion. There is not really much of a rollover; you see the whole line from the top, and it's LONG and fairly sustained, which is great for building confidence on longer steeper lines (at least for me).

Here are that have been on my list:

Kelso Mountain, north gully (D5)
Mt. Toll, SE Face (D7)
Paiute, Curvaceous Couloir (D7)
Silver Couloir, Buffalo Mountain (D8)
Cristo Couloir (though I could imagine bailing too, haha)
Torrey's Emperor (D10 or 11 I think? would definitely need strong partners and my big boy pants on...)