Sunday, June 5, 2011

Trip Report: Skywalker Couloir-South Arapaho Peak (13329 ft.)

Date Climbed: 06/05/11
Peak: South Arapaho Peak (13329')
Route: Skywalker Couloir- Steep Snow, AI 2 1500'
           5 miles, 3300' gain
Start: 5:40 am   Summit: 8:02 am   End: 11:00 am
Gear: crampons, helmet, 2 alpine tools (I like to move fast)

Todd and I left Boulder at 4:30 am and drove up through Boulder Canyon to Nederland where we met Brian. From Ned, we hopped in Brian's car and drove to the trailhead. We started up the trail/footprints. The snow was soft, but manageable. It took about an hour to make it to the base of the couloir where we took a short break to put on our crampons and don our ice axes.

Mt. Neva
We started up the couloir which was only about 35-40 degrees steep in the beginning. 

This soon changed. About half way up the couloir steepened to around 45 deg. then 50 deg. The last 200 ft were in the 60-70 deg range. The steepest route I've ever done. Great exposure. 

Todd waving

Todd about to top out

Had to downclimb to pose for a shot on the route.

The snow in the couloir was perfect alpine ice/styrofoam. So far the best climbing surface I've ever encountered. I topped out first and shot some photos of Todd and Brian as they came up. It was Todd's first really winter mountaineering experience, and Brian's first time in a while. We all convened at the top of the route and then made our way to the summit where we debated a traverse to North Arapahoe Peak, but we were to hungry and decided to leave it to another time.

View from the summit of North Arapaho Peak and the Arapaho glacier
Toward Boulder, somewhere out there in the haze

We descended back to the car by way of the normal trail. It was an amazing morning of mountaineering and I will be coming back to this one many times.

View of South(left) and North(right) Arapaho Peaks from the saddle

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