After seeing six cars parked at the Cleaver last weekend, I do realize the power of the blog and promise Walt to try and spread the love out farther afield, though I don’t think I’ll be bareback riding any elk to disguise my ski tracks. Thus, I’d heard a few weeks ago that Road 505 was plowed, so yesterday was our day to head up to an alternate zone.
Road 505 is one of many “water roads” that the Fryingpan/Arkansas diversion project built some years ago for system maintenance. For some unknown and greatly appreciated reason, they plow their roads early in the spring but generally do not gate them. What a treat for backcountry skiing! (For route details, see backcountryskiingco.com)
|I love shooting photos of Dave’s dynamic ski style. We did a northerly line up high on Peak 505, then wrapped around to this easterly corn.|
|Peak 505 as seen from parking at plow turnaround, it’s the easiest peak to get. Left dotted route is a stupendous shot you can get from summit to valley, shorter line is fun north face you can play on. This and Mount Boddington (all names informal) are about 3,000 vertical, for something bigger you can climb North Mount Massive and get a bonus 14er.|
|Nick Thompson brought a real camera, and knows how to use it. Mount Boddington above Dave, North Massive peaking into the photo at upper left. Oh, almost forgot to mention Dave is on Black Diamond Method boots, planks are Kilowatts with Freeride Plus, pack is a BCA Alp 40 which I think he’s growing fond of for carrying more than a toothbrush.|
|Myself, not quite a fluid as Dave but having just as much fun, thank you very much.|
|Our tracks on the north side. I lobbied for simply dropping the bountiful corn shot from the summit east, but was outvoted by the youngsters. What is is about kids these days? They’d rather ski rocks and breakable crust than corn snow? What has the world come to!|
|BJ on the corn I finally manipulated the crew into skiing.|
|Every time I get up here in the spring this large cornice is falling or has cut loose big. It’s one of the most unstable cornices I’ve seen in Colorado, so beware.|
|BJ beats his Soobie on yet another Colorado dirt road. I was wondering out loud if they make lift kits for these, turns out they do. All you need is about 3 inches more underneath and you’d be able to drive most roads for climbs or skiing trailheads. But then, I think I’d prefer one of the new diesel Cherokees coming out this year. One of those would be better for towing my snowmobile.|
505 if highly recommended for spring corn skiing, and is also accessible via snowmobile in winter. It’s an especially good location if you live in Basalt, the town at the base of the Fryingpan Valley road that gets you up there. If you go, park with care so as not to block the road or take up too much parking space. Wouldn’t want that thing gated, now would we?
WildSnow.com publisher emeritus and founder Lou (Louis Dawson) has a 50+ years career in climbing, backcountry skiing and ski mountaineering. He was the first person in history to ski down all 54 Colorado 14,000-foot peaks, has authored numerous books about about backcountry skiing, and has skied from the summit of Denali in Alaska, North America’s highest mountain.