May 11, 2010

Buffalo Mountain and The Citadel

Yesterday Dane, Ava and I skied the North Couloir on Buffalo Mountain.  This peak lies at the southern edge of the Gore Range and only a few miles from Dane's place.  The North Couloir is sustained at 35 to 40 degrees for about 2500 vertical feet.  The snow surface didn't warm up and soften quite like we had hoped, but it was great fun on a big line anyway.

Dane digging a snow pit at the top of the North Couloir on Buffalo Mountain

Dane midway down the North Couloir

This should have been a reasonably quick 3000 feet up and 3000 feet back down to the car, but we had some navigational difficulties on the way down, which added an extra few miles of bushwhacking.

Today Dane and I skied the Northeast Couloir off of The Citadel.  The Citadel is a unique peak in the Summit County region of Colorado because it miraculously escaped the scour of the glaciers during the more recent ice ages.  Consequently, it is much steeper and more jagged than most other mountains in the area.  We had a great tour where we went up the valley (Dry Gulch) on one side of the mountain and skied down the valley (Herman Gulch) on the other side where we had stashed a car.  We were pleasantly surprised by the fact that we were able to ski from the top as the guidebook we consulted made this seem unreasonable.

North Face of the Citadel (we skied the only continuous snow line from the summit)

Lower down we discovered this confined gully which held great snow!

Once again, conditions were a bit on the icy side up high but improved as we descended.  The leading edge of a big forecasted storm hit shortly after we got back to the car, so skiing in the near future might be more wintry than we've had for the past several days.

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