Getting a high mountain tune up

Skied my second 14er this year.

Let me rephrase, I skied my third 14er of all time, the second of this year. With a deep and mostly stable snowpack going into the summer months, it’ll be a while before high country mountain biking is in so I figured why not ski a couple big(ger) objectives?

Looking up towards the summit from the southeast on our way up. Dead Dog couloir is the prominent feature here, starting just off the looker’s right side of the peak and running to the cirque floor. We watched two groups of two skiers climb and descend this couloir on our way up…

The Mayor bootpacking it into the cirque below Grays Peak (out of frame to the left) and Torreys Peak. At this point the snow was still firm enough to walk on without skinning, though looking back we wonder if throwing the skins on would have made for a faster approach. We’d see three point release wet slides (!) come off the rock bands to the left of the peak on our way up, about an hour or so after we saw the skiers in Dead Dog…

In the wide open cirque below both peaks, we did finally need to throw the skins on as the snow was getting soft and we were punching through bootpacking. This picture was taken on the apron below Grays Peak, looking north at Torreys…

Nearly to the saddle…

Once we gained the saddle between the two peaks, the climbing got steeper and more wind-swept, leaving the skins on would have had us too close to the cornice overhanging the cirque, so we booted up dry, rocky, safe terrain to gain the summit…

Me, arriving at the summit of Torreys, with Grays Peak in the background…

The crew at 14,267′ on the summit of the 11th highest peak in Colorado. L-R is me, The Mayor, and The Mayor’s Son…

And now, it’s time to ski! The Mayor, mayoring. At 68 years old this past December, this dude is an inspiration. I am humbled and grateful to call him a friend…

How was the snow? So, so good. Pretty perfect spring corn, IMNSHO. You could throw a turn wherever and whenever you wanted on the wide-open face. Humping a fairly heavy (by alpine touring standards) pair of sticks to the top didn’t hurt none, either…

Ten hours and ten miles later, all smiles and safely back at the truck…

Looking back on where we stood just a few hours earlier…

* All images courtesy The Mayor’s Son https://www.instagram.com/khall104/

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