Peak(s):  Aetna, Mt  -  13,745 feet
Date Posted:  04/07/2016
Date Climbed:   04/02/2016
Author:  Powder_Moose
 Mt. Aetna Ski   

I don't know if anybody else has trouble looking at things consistently without wanting to ski them, but it's an issue I have pretty consistently! This goes for the Mt. Aetna off of Monarch Pass, which calls to me: "P Moose, come skiiiii meeeeee" every time I drive through. So on Saturday, we did!

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4/2 conditions, sorry for the grainy zoom


Arriving at the trailhead at bit before 8a, we were please to find snow more or less all the way down to the parking lot. Good news! We hit it an arrived at the bottom of the couloir in about a little under an hour and two miles. There was a well-broken track to this point.

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From there, things ramped up substantially. One thing I'll say about this couloir - it's huge! From the base, it's 3000' of more or less consistent pitch 35 degree angle. We kept our skins on for the first 2/3 before booting up the remainder, ultimately attaining the climber's left ridge for the last 300'. I'm not sure if we were definitively better off by getting to the ridge vs. just finishing the boot up the couloir. I think it was a wash in terms of time saved.

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This is a spectacular summit! On a day like Saturday, you can see pretty much every major range in the state - Sawatch, Elks, Sangres, San Juans, Front. You really couldn't beat the day - no clouds, no wind. We grabbed lunch on the summit and then dropped off the ridge.

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There were a few variations to ski off of the summit


As mentioned, the skiing itself is a pretty straightforward. It's one 3000' tall pitch never much deviating from the 32-37 degree range. It's a fun ski! Conditions allowed us to really open it up at times. Consistent snow quality, top to bottom.



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Andrew finishing up


After that, it was a gloppy ski back to the car and back to Golden! Solid day!



Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
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 Comments or Questions
aholle88

I spy a wet crown..
04/07/2016 19:29
that we set off on our way down before you guys! Good to see you up there, conditions were certainly good other than that little slide up top! You made the right decision going up the snow to the left, that talus on the right was pure hell haha


Powder_Moose

Thanks for laying down the track!
04/08/2016 10:03
@aholle88 - I was wondering if you guys would bubble up after I posted this. Killer day...nice work getting first crack at it. Yeah, it was that first 100' that was a little loosie goosie...


Hoot

On my list
04/09/2016 15:19
Nice report, pix, and video! Thanks for posting.


zombiewolf

Trailhead?
04/11/2016 09:59
Nice shots and TR. Where is that TH for Aetna?


Powder_Moose

Re:Trailhead?
04/11/2016 13:58
@zombiewolf - we parked in a dirt parking lot near Monarch Snowmobile Tours and Rentals - they were nice about letting us park on their lot since it was later in the season, but I believe they own the lot. If you were to try to do it in peak snowmobile season you may want to ask them.


zombiewolf

Thanks
04/14/2016 21:40
Thank you


pfiore1

Shhhh
04/30/2016 21:07
You're posting my secret snowboarding run, for many BC skiers in Salida, this is a secret gem, despite having the Lost Wonder Hut just below it. When I lived in Salida, I splitboarded Aetna at least six times and glissaded and sledded it a couple more times. The access, angle and length of the run is superb. I'm just joking, mostly, about keeping this route on the hush hush. Although it is nice to have places others aren't aware of or where you have the solitude and privacy to yourself, these secret gems also need to be shared with the public, to an extent. Reminds me of a Backpacker Magazine cover page and article saying "10 of the Most Beautiful and Unknown Secret Places," well not anymore, thanks a lot Backpacker Magazine.

Anyways, glad you had a great run on Aetna and shared it, maybe more people will go up and have a great ski mountaineering experience. Have you tried across the valley to the west and skied Clover or Monumental peaks? They're pretty nice as well, but not as nice as Aetna.



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