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.
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 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|