Peak(s):  Kelso Mtn  -  13,164 feet
Date Posted:  06/11/2013
Date Climbed:   06/05/2013
Author:  mtnfiend
Additional Members:   benners
 Kelso Quickski - An After Work Outing   

Stats: About 2500ft, 2 miles RT, and 3 hours car-to-car

What: Kelso north couloir
When: June 5, 2013
Who: Ben (benners) and Rick (mtnfiend)
How: Parked at the base of the couloir where the run out hits the road. Wearing trail runners with boots and skis on our backs, we set off at 5:40pm, crossed the creek (Ben more "gracefully" than I) and headed up the lookers right ridge.

Ben gives the camera a smile after tripping and landing face first into the creek. He was only partially soaked.

Checking out the snow and our ascent ridge.

Taking in the views and evening shadows

We even got in 15 seconds worth of a little scrambly-bambly along the ridge (or scramble-bamble if you prefer).

Making good time on dry ground.

One hour and 50 minutes of grunting landed us on the summit. Ben poses with the Steven's gulch giants.

Never get tired of the views, made more impressive by the rare undercast to the east.

Ben summit hand stand with Edward's in the background.

Some photos, food, and a transition to ski boots had us skiing by 7:50pm.

The first few turns off the top were a little crusty and we could tell the snow had already started to refreeze (even the parts still in the sun). Perhaps being 30 minutes earlier would have made the snow conditions perfect top to bottom.

Ben demonstrating excellent form off the top.

Damn good snow for 8pm.

Skiing this late in the day feels weird. But it sure was fun!

Ben having fun with the wind rolls.

These rolls held the steepest terrain, but I'd guess the main gully was a comfortable 35 degrees at the most, and probably closer to 30 lower down.

Working our way further down the ridge before dropping into the center of the gully.

After dropping into the gully proper, the snow along the right was still soft while the snow in the shadows along the left was refreezing

Ben flirts with the soft stuff.

This is 2500 feet of pure fun.

The sun angle produced some amazing views.

The bottom 300 feet continued to be fun and playful - the original alpine slide.

We skied until the snow ended (about 10,900-11,000ish), and transitioned back into shoes - throwing the skis and boots on the pack.

A successful, and this time uneventful, re-crossing of the creek had us back to the car at about 8:30.

Which was just in time to enjoy a couple beers before getting stuck in I-70 (face-palm).

All in all it was a solid outing, and aside from the road closure on the way home, we might just have to plan another short after-workski before the snow is totally gone.

Thanks for reading.

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
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 Comments or Questions

Great pics!
06/12/2013 04:29
Sunset skis are the best! I skid peak 9 today at 7:30pm good conditions. Whats next Coon Hill? Im hungry for more sunset skis...


06/12/2013 05:23
again Rick for joining and for the use of that truck you named after a giant Asian lizard. This was indeed a unique experience and one I hope to repeat again this year. Maybe not though, it's been damn hot in the mountains from what I've heard.


06/13/2013 02:42
Interesting post-climb beverage choice, lads. Did you guys listen to The Eagles on the drive home too?

Now come at me!!!

Note: The creek crossing looks stiff.

Twilight Turns
06/13/2013 04:12
Looks like everyone got a 1st place award. On the approach a few days ago, we crossed the creek at the same spot, but returned uphill from the old mining structure at a jeep road. A tad less technical and ski boots helped keep the kicks dry.


06/13/2013 15:29
If Rick's truck had a functioning CD player it's very possible we would have head banged to Hell Freezes Over, yes.

The creek crossing was awesome. I somehow torpedoed head first straight into it, the upper-half of my body underwater and my legs above water. Not sure how it happened really, but we had a good laugh (after Rick realized I wasn't going to drown).


Cool way to do this peak
06/13/2013 15:36
A consolation walkup in the summer, an easy ski, but add in a sunset and a quick jaunt from Denver and now you are talkin.

Ben was laughing at me when I feel in to La Plata Creek. Karma (kidding). Looks like you guys had a solid outing. This is a solid F you at Corporate America - we still can have fun on a weekday.

PBR, Kinco gloves and F-150's - thats what Colorado does!


06/13/2013 17:46
Elliot - Thanks man. We should get out one more time before all the snow melts!

Ben - Thanks for badgering me about this until I caved. It was definitely worth the effort.

Natalie - Skiing at that time of day was surreal.

Papi - PBR has it place, and time.......

Jon - Why haven't we skied together yet this spring!? I blame your busy work schedule.

Brian - you should reconsider the choice to hang up the planks for the season.


What a great idea
04/02/2015 19:45
Why didn't I think of that??? Awesome pix - loved the sunset shots.

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