Peak(s):  Silverheels, Mt  -  13,822 feet
PT 13,001  -  13,001 feet
Date Posted:  06/05/2019
Date Climbed:   06/01/2019
Author:  bergsteigen
Additional Members:   SolarAlex, MonGoose, BillMiddlebrook
 Summer is cancelled!   

Mt Silverheels

  • mileage: 8.98
  • elevation gain: 3,642'
  • trailhead: Hoosier Pass
  • partners: Bill, Nick, Alex, Hugh
  • May 31

Back in 2015, a group of us (Bill, Zach, Alex, Craig and Rob) had attempted to ski a north facing line off Silverheels, but a line of thunderstorms started up early in the day and we had to back off when our skis started buzzing and the storm hit us as we were down in the basin waiting it out. I have since gone and skied a SE line in 2016, but for Alex, he wanted another go at the northern line that rarely comes into condition. Too bad Zach couldn't get off work to join us. There was lounging.

So at a reasonably early start just before sunrise, we got on our way. Well Bill and Nick got on their way, I had a series of ooops's. Wrong skins for my skis, and dead batteries kept me going back to the car. At least Alex was able to fix one ooops as he arrived later with Hugh to catch us on the uphill.

The sequence of issues that made me late in starting, also allowed me to capture a very cool fox. I had stopped to take off my shell, when this fox comes running up from my right. He had a look at our skin track, and looked like he might want to come with us, when he went over to my left and started listening for movement under the snow. He didn't seem perturbed by my presence, until I got up to start skinning uphill again. Then he ran back over to my right to wait my passing. After I was further uphill, he resumed hunting back to the north again.

Hello there!
Walking closer

Let's go skinning!
Hunting with a birdie

Fox waiting me out

After the fox distraction, I continued uphill to catch Bill and Nick. Nice views of the Mosquito and Tenmile.

Pano west

Higher up on the ridge, we finally started getting views of Silverheels and Alex and Hugh caught and passed us.

Silverheels north face looking flush with snow
Skinning closer to the peak

After some downhill skin skiing, which is always tricky, we were ready to start the final uphill to the summit. Here Alex and Hugh put in the skin track for us, as promised. Had a few other animal visitors along the way.

Animal kingdom
Nick heading up, with the long ridge behind

After plenty of switchbacks, and only a couple slips, we made the breezy summit.

Pano west

Pano east

Nick summitting

Since Hugh had to get to work, him and Alex took off quickly off the summit to ski a north east line that required a reascend to the ridge from the east. Bill, Nick and I were going to ski a more NW line and hung out a bit longer on the summit.

Pointing out our intended descent line

The snow was pretty money for the descent. A little crusty but my DPS skis plowed through it quite nicely. I did have to hold them in check a bit, as they did want to charge the slope. In perfect powder I likely would have charged. Not quite ready to test the release mechanism of the new Shift bindings!

Me skiing - Photo Credit: Bill
Nick kicking up the snow

Bill throwing snow in front of his "favorite" 14er
Bill laying out a turn

Me skiing - Photo Credit: Bill

Nick skiing with a view

Me coming down the last bit - Photo Credit: Bill
Me enjoying the ski - Photo Credit: Bill

Our turns
Nick airborne!

Today was my first day with my new Canon M6 camera. I can say that I'm quite impressed with it! The rapid fire option to capture skiing action is amazing. It also leads to almost 400 shots to sort through. With Bill being such an amazing skier, it becomes hard to pick the best shots!

Our ski strokes on the canvas of snow

At the base of the line, we decided to regain the ridge immediately instead of dropping lower into the drainage and ascending to the last high point before the final ridge drop. With all the ups and downs on the ridge, in hindsight, I probably would have dropped lower and reascended later. But we were also wondering at snow quality lower down too. Would have been no downhill skin skiing the direct way. Pick your poison!

Regaining the ridge

After the long ridge, we finally reached the spot where we could take the skins off for the last time. There was some lounging!

The Quandary trench is IN
Zach, there was lounging

The final drop down to the cars was money! Perfect corn turns all the way home! Great day out, getting retribution on a line that had shut us down a few years ago.

Last ski down the ridge was $$$$$$$

Pt 13,001

  • mileage: 7.06
  • elevation gain: 2,715'
  • trailhead: One stop west of Independence Pass
  • partners: solo
  • June 1

I've been skiing off Inde Pass for quite a few years now. Opening day/weekend can be a real treat. So I headed up as soon as I saw it open!

I've skied all of the 13ers off the pass, and a bunch of unranked 13ers and 12ers too. For a few years I've had my eye on 13,001, a favorite from scrambling it a few summers ago. The SW face that is easily accessed from the pass doesn't always come into condition. Last year, the snow was so horrible, it was difficult to even find something to ski, and the view from East Geissler was dry and rocky. This year I figured it had to be in.

I met Brad and Ryan going for a traverse early that morning, and they took off a bit before me. As I was getting ready, I ran into Lou Dawson, and he assured me that 13,001 would be in this year. So my adventure of "IF" was less so, but it was reassuring to know I had a good chance to ski the peak today.

Brad and Ryan going for their objective

The surrounding hills looks pretty white with snow, and I was pretty excited for a willow free ascent and descent in the drainage.

East & West Geissler
The south side of the pass with Grizzly distant

The hordes!!!
Lone skier with Grizzly

Group skinning up East Geissler, with West behind

Twinning looking stacked
Grizzly zoom

I made pretty good time up to the pass, where I got my first view of 13,001. It was perfectly in from the summit! A bit of slide debris to the east of the line from the pesky rocks, but it would go nicely!

Pt 13,001

Of course, with every project, I spot new ones. Some tasty lines surrounded me!

Hot damn, that's a sexy peak. My next project in the region!

I transitioned to ski down the firm north slope and traversed as far as I could over to 13,001's slopes. From there I donned my crampons and did an ascending traverse over to the line on firm but previously slid snow.

Looking at the steep SW slopes of 13,001
Back sides of the Geisslers

After a short uphill, I was on the summit 6 years after the first time I was on top!

Pano south

Pano west

New project looks IN

Since the east ridge I had to ski down to my SW face was hot already, I skied down it quickly and over to my line to wait for it to warm a bit more.

Dropping from the summit

Waiting for my line to warm

There was a light SW breeze coming up my line that was keeping it quite firm and a bit icy. I waited along as I could, but I knew the basin below would be a sauna and the snow would be cooking. My ascent back to the pass was safe, but I also didn't want to skin soup. So after about 20 minutes, I had to ski it. The upper narrow section was firm but edge able, and the lower part was nicely corned up since it was out of the wind.

Pt 13001, from the base of the line Here
Pt 13,001 from back on the pass

Once back on the pass, it was delightful corn turns all the way back to the trailhead. No willows, stream crossings or thin snow like last year! Had a great time catching up with friends at the trailhead for a little BBQ!

Till the next time Inde!

My GPS Tracks on Google Maps (made from a .GPX file upload):

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50

Comments or Questions

One Fox to Another
06/05/2019 20:50
Great shots again, O!

But please don't cancel summer!


searching for Batman
06/06/2019 05:56
The fox was looking for that Batman shadow moment.


MtnHub stole...
06/06/2019 09:00
... my line!!! Nice one, Otina!


06/06/2019 09:07
Really cool shots of the fox! Nice report!


06/06/2019 18:51
You have the best luck coming across the animals. Careful IDâing projects in current conditions, it might be another decade before the line is in again! ðŸ˂


Thanks for the inspiration
06/09/2019 09:52
I've dealt with major orthopedic injuries and 6 surgeries since 2015-your trip reports always provided a wealth of info and eye candy for me when I was healthy but these past four years, I've lived vicariously through them! Also, I know you were injured several times and seeing you come back to killing it on skis helped motivate me! I'm ready to get after it again this year and just want to say thanks for sharing and keep the awesome reports coming!


06/10/2019 15:30
Doug and Jay - This is why itâs good that I donât decide the seasons. Or as the Marvel fans might say - Donât let me have the infinity stones!

Darin - It did seem the Fox was posing for me!

Lodging - yes, always a bad idea spotting lines when itâs not a drought year! I can hope itâll be in next year.

Koeffling - I got sooo lucky with my timing and the Fox!

Ctlee - The inspiration is both ways! Knowing I have so much support in the community keeps me coming back! Though I do hope this is the last time. Iâm not quite back from this most recent injury, but itâll happen! May you recover strong too! Keep at it!

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