Peak(s):  Twining Pk  -  13,711 feet
Date Posted:  05/31/2009
Date Climbed:   05/31/2009
Author:  Nice Axe
 Blue Peak Northwest Couloir   

Itinerary: hike/skin/snowclimb to summit of Twining Peak (13711') from Upper Hairpin TH (~11400'); ski descent to ~12500'; ~400' skin up East Geissler Mountain
Who: Nice Axe (Amy) and scotthsu (Scott)
Elevation climbed: ~2700'
RT mileage: ~4 miles
Time: 4 hours 40 min (stops included); Summited in 2 h 20 m

At 13,711' Twining Peak is the 141st ranked peak in Colorado and takes its place among the bicentennials. According to Lou Dawson, Twining is more commonly referred to as Blue Peak, so named by Aspen locals when it was first skied in the 60's.

We slept in the car at N. Fork Lake Creek TH (~10800') on the east side of Independence Pass. This is one of only a few no fee areas to park & sleep. We drove over Independence Pass to Upper Hairpin TH and started hiking at 6:20am with skis on our packs. We were able to start skinning after gaining roughly 200'.

On the trail:

It was mellow skinning on firm snow. The infamous dust layer was mostly covered by the recent snow falls.

Skinning in the upper basin with an early view of the NW facing couloir we would ascend:

This basin is a playground that, in addition to Blue Peak, offers access to East and West Geissler and Linkins Peak.

Amy skinning with East Geissler in the background:

Around 12800', we strapped our skis to our packs and donned crampons for a very pleasant and sustained snowclimb up a NW facing couloir that brought us within 100 vertical feet of the summit. The snow was very firm and we were both glad we brought our crampons.

View of the steepest section of the snowclimb about 4/5ths of the way up:

We topped out at 8:45am. Scott enjoying his summit:

Soulful. Image by Scott. Photo Caption Contest: "What did one whippet say to the next?"

After a snack on the summit and soaking in the views, we started our ski descent. We were anticipating a pretty rough descent given the snow conditions climbing up, but we wanted to take a crack at East Geissler. The weather forecast predicted 40% thunderstorms and clouds were already looking threatening. To our surprise, the ski wasn't at all bad. It wasn't corn, but it was nice enough to get some good turns.


Scott enjoying his turns and navigating some old wet slide debris:

A look back at our line. The left sloping couloir right of the summit that nearly reaches the top:

Hmmm, any good lines here?? That's Grizzly Chute in the distance (Click here for TR).

We started up East Geissler after skiing down to about 12500'. We encountered pretty rotten snow and it was starting to snow, so we decided we'd enjoy coming back to this basin some other day. We were back to the car by 11am.

Amy still able to get a few turns on East Geissler. Notice the point release in the background:

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

Very cool Amy and Scott!
06/01/2009 03:29
That ”Spray” photo is wicked! Nice job and nice TR!

spray :)
06/01/2009 09:03
yeah that spray photo really is wicked! If only the sun was out. Nice report


I forgot to ask...
06/01/2009 14:42
Have/are you guys planning on skiing anything last minute up here?!

Nice Axe

06/02/2009 01:28
for the comments! Spray photo courtesy of Scott (obviously )

Caroline, we‘d love to catch up with you before the snow disappears. We‘re traveling this weekend, but maybe in the next few after that. Or if you‘re interested in a traditional climb (i.e., no ski descent) there‘s a whole summer ahead of us. Let‘s stay in touch!

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