Had to deliver grandma Patricia (my mom) back to Crested Butte, so Louie and I loaded up our skis and the Nytro and headed over to the other side of the Elk Mountains. I’ve backcountry skied around Crested Butte quite a bit over the years, more back when it was less developed and it was even tough to find ski partners. We’re talking 1970s. Now things are amped — if only the weather would cooperate (warmth and clouds continue). Even so, we made a quick hit on Red Lady this morning, perhaps something tomorrow.
|On the drive, it’s obvious we’re in full melt season. Bear Creek waterfall on HWY 133 is just a drip most months, now it charges down like a hundred fire hoses.|
|Pit stop in Paonia, traditional Colorado independent junk food. Louie skulks out with a malt and BLT. Sorry Gran (she’s a health food consumer), boys will be boys.|
|We had big plans for our first tour, but a warm night dictated something quick so we skied Mount Emmons, Crested Butte’s signature mountain that’s better known as Red Lady.
Emmons is said to be made of molybdenum ore, and the miners want it. So that’s the issue of the day around here. Pesky problem is that many of those cool Crested Butte mountain bikes couldn’t be made without moly, so there is some soul searching going on. Bottom line, can you make a decent bicycle out of plywood? (In all seriousness, they can probably get plenty of moly elsewhere, so let’s hope CB isn’t industrialized…)
|Climbing this morning.|
|Dropping in. Camera looking towards Crested Butte.|
|The graduate. By now, he’s worked off the visit to Peppers. Not to worry, we’ll recharge on the trip back home.|
|Skiing down to the road was still reality, though marginal.|
|Another view of skiing Red Lady bowl. You can see the Crested Butte flood plain down below, filled with water from what could become a record melt off.|
Being here in CB reminds me of something excellent about Colorado. It’s amazing how many “mountain towns” we’ve got packed into our Western Slope region. Each place has its own menu of incredible Rocky Mountain ski alpinism, along with a unique social and recreation “feel.” Silverton, Ouray, Aspen, Carbondale, Ridgway, Telluride, Estes, Lake City, Crestone, Leadville, Crested Butte. The list goes on. One thing cool about backcountry skiing the state is visiting such places.
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.