Clouds roiled around us — shuttering the sun like a disco strobe as a strong southern wind raked the summit of Castle Peak. Carl post-holed the last few feet to the summit, while Bill and I tried to figure a way with less effort, but without straying too far onto the east face.
It is October, when Colorado mountains are usually dry as a banker’s hands, scoured and useless for meaty backcountry skiing descents that leave you feeling like you did the mountain justice — that you honored tradition by skiing it the way it was made to be skied. Such ski descents in October? Not likely — but this October of 2002 is different. Central Colorado has a ton of snow, look for an excellent season at resorts such as Aspen, and backcountry such as…everywhere!
We climbed the ridge to the left (East Ridge), using the summer trail which was easily bootable with a bit of punching. The ridge down to the couloir required a bit of monkey business to ski from the summit, but it was fun. Couloir had difficult snow, but Carl and I made turns. Bill left his skis down below because he’s still learning about backcountry skiing, but he had a good time as well.
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.