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Cooper Peak

sean shean cooper creek

A grand entrance to a beautiful basin.

Well, we’re not sure if Cooper Peak is an official name, but we were told the summit is marked as such on certain old maps of Ashcroft.

Cooper Peak, or Unnamed 13,220 ft. as I read it on some maps, is technically part of nearby Star Peak. But unofficial status aside, it was worth every kicked step up to its airy summit. It’s in a beautiful basin above Lindley Hut and has incredible views from its summit. read more>>>

Spring

Sean, up at Ashcroft.

Sean, up at Ashcroft.

Spring has arrived. The ski areas are calling it a season, the snow has been melting around town, and the backcountry conditions are shaping up at the higher elevations. Aspen had an above average year in terms of snowfall but we saw three dust events, one of which was pretty significant. How that will affect our spring ski season remains to be seen, but it won’t keep us from getting out in the meantime. read more>>>

2014 Elk Mountain Grand Traverse

2014-Elk-Mountain-Grand-TraverseAnother Elk Mountain Grand Traverse has come and gone. The annual 40 mile ski race from Crested Butte to Aspen has become a rite of spring for Christy and me, we’ve done it 13 of the 17 years it’s been held, the last seven as a couple. We’ve always loved the event and we’ve encouraged anyone who’s curious to check it out.

Unfortunately, for the 3rd time in the history of the race the conditions up high were deemed too dangerous for it to follow its intended course to Aspen. There was a lot of snow and wind in the days before and to send 400 people (200 teams of two) through avalanche terrain in the middle of the night would have been irresponsible. We can all respect a decision made in the interest of safety, so the alternate course now dubbed the “Grand Reverse” was implemented and those of us that stuck around skied in and around Crested Butte.

It wasn’t our first time on the Reverse course. We did it as a team the last time conditions warranted it, five years ago (2010). I even participated when the first Reverse was called back in 1999, when the GT was only in its second year. It’s too bad that 15 years later it’s more or less the same boring course. It was disappointing to not be able to complete the intended route, but we were there and it was paid for so we decided to make the best of it. At least the East River Valley section wasn’t a dry hike this year. read more>>>

GT Training Day

Spruce Creek

Along Spruce Creek, on the way to Margy’s Hut.

With one week to go before the Elk Mountain Grand Traverse, Christy and I wanted to get in one final long training day. We had a lot of ideas for fun new ways to log some miles, most involving high ridges and/or summits, but as the day approached, the weather once again made the decision for us. We would have to fall back on an old favorite— McNamara to Margy’s— in order to escape the snow and winds that were forecasted. read more>>>

Hayden

Hayden beckons.

Hayden beckons.

A real backcountry ski day was long overdue.

That’s not to say that training days and races on the rando gear don’t count. It’s just that we really missed being out on a regular backcountry ski day, with the heavy packs, a normal lunch instead of race food, and a real ski objective. read more>>>

Power of Four

power of four

The weather challenged everyone from the start, pictured here, all the way to the finish.

What a day….

As we drove to the start of the race in Snowmass, the storm’s intensity increased. Despite the March 1st date, it was actually raining, so heavily that our windshield wipers were on high as if we were driving through a summer thunder storm. read more>>>