backcountryskiing_blue.jpg 482x56

4th of July TR, 2006
Treasury Mountain 13,462'

Brittany and Frank

While Frank’s friends were getting ready with their “couch on wheels” and another “couch on skis” float for the 4th of July parade, we decided to go skiing. We hoped to get back in enough time to join them in the holiday debauchery.

We drove up Slate River road to where it dead ended at Paradise Divide due to rockslides near Yule Pass. We were on foot the rest of the way. So, at 8:30 am, we put our skis on our backs and headed up the Yule Pass trail/road.

Here is a picture of Yule Pass road.

About half way between Cinnamon and Treasury we headed up the ridgeline toward the saddle between them in order to get to Treasury. We look at the time. It’s nearly 9 am. We don’t think we’re going to be back in time for the parade at 11:30.

Looking back down the valley toward Crested Butte. So beautiful and green! We’ve had a drought year on the Colorado Front Range and everything there is so brown. It’s nice to see green here.

Here’s the peak we’re going for: Treasury.

On the other side of Treasury, there’s two couloirs called the wine bottle couloirs. Our plan was to ski one of those. When we got to the summit at 10am, we noticed one of the couloirs was melted out. Oh well. But the next one is looking pretty good.

Frank at the top of the couloir.

But wait. What’s that at the bottom????

Check it out! Huge rockslide happened! Woah! And it must have happened just in the last couple of days from some serious rain that the area has been experiencing. The rock fell on top of the snowfield below. And check out the chunks of snow on top of the rock. That snow belongs in the couloir we want to ski! Dang it! The rock slide took out part of the snow in the couloir!

The line doesn’t go. We can’t ski the couloirs. Check out the freshly cut rock in this pic. Guess this face is where the rock slide started.

So, what’s the plan? Plan B is to try to ski the snowfields on the NE face where we hiked up and do it quick enough so we can be back in town for the 4th of July Parade. Besides, Frank has his whole parade outfit already on :) Check it out! If you’re going to celebrate Independence Day, you might as well do it right.

First, enjoy the views from the summit! Beautiful! The south couloir off of Maroon Peak… someday…..

Snowmass... Another "someday".

Time to ski!!!!!!!!!!!! This cornice looks pretty fun. Hmmmmm…..

But it kind of has a flat landing, which is what I’m dealing with here. It was still fun!

Frank tearing it up in full uniform.

Brittany makes some turns. I was happy I didn’t forget my lei this time :)

Looking back at our tracks. They start on the snowfield on the right of the pic, then we worked our way across the other snowfields to the bottom of this one.

But we still have much farther to go! The skiing was actually pretty darned good. We look at the time, almost 11. We’re having too much fun skiing, and we probably won’t be making it back in time for the parade afterall. Bummer… well, sort of…. b/c I was fully entertained about what was about to happen….

This time of year the snow is quite patchy, as you all know. Many of us get lazy when it comes to crossing patches of rock and dirt and we don’t bother to take off our skis. MUST KEEP SKIS ON :eek: :p I don’t know how all of you deal with it, but usually I try to gingerly step or sidestep across the patch of dirt and rocks until I reach the snow. I’m amazed at how the bases of my skis are still in such good shape considering how many times I’ve dealt with rocks in this way this spring. But Frank has another method.

He just pretends there are no rocks or dirt. It’s just dirty snow :D

I expect a huge crash, which is why I’m taking pics. But no such luck. Frank clears the patch like it’s nothing. :cool:

And I was fully entertained by the whole scenario. Skiing on the 4th of July, in a silly gaper-esque-yet-retro-kind-of-cool costume, right over a patch of dirt and rocks. I even have a pic of him with no snow in it. Classic :biggrin: That’s all.

Well, we had a pretty fun ski the rest of the way. We followed a drainage down pretty far and got over 1000’ of vert. Not bad for 4th of July plan B, really. We hiked up another drainage to traverse back over to the road, and followed the road back to the car. We didn’t make it back in time for the parade (Sorry CB folks!) but we had a lot of fun anyway AND we made it out of there in time to beat the afternoon thunderstorm that was moving in quite quickly.

The scenery in the area is beautiful and the pics don’t do it justice. But I’ll try here anyway.

Think "blissful winter ski lines" here :)

Summer skiing is in full force. I think I’ll try to make it out there a couple more times before I head to Argentina in August:tongue: Until then….. keep smiling, y’all :D

Photos courtesy of Frank Konsella