Peak:  Mt. Ouray (13er)
 Route:  West Ridge Variation
 Range:  Sawatch
 Posted By:  sctbke
 Date of Info:  10/20/2021
 Date Posted:  10/20/2021

All is well out there still after the snow this week. 3 inches of fresh accumulation this morning, that was melting quickly by the time I returned to the car around noon.

Road is still open, snow covered today but it'll melt soon. I started at the cabin, some hunters are staying there, make sure to bring some bright colors along if you're hiking this in fall/early winter, I was happy to have my orange Melanzana along

Climbed via the west ridge, some large drifts are starting to form already that I had to navigate around to gain the ridge. There was a strong wind from the north today, most of the surface rocks had blown off and left the snow in the gaps between the rocks. Left the car at 7:50 and summited at 10:20. Strong winds at my back most of the way up.

The wind chill was extreme enough that I decided to bail directly south off the summit into the basin that the ridge wraps around, instead of descending facing into the wind. The slope is steep and somewhat loose for about 2,500 vertical feet, but ended up being decently reasonable even in the snow. I descended facing the wall with both hands and feet, and was in the basin in about 30 minutes. It kept me out of the wind and on warmer ground. I cut through the center of the basin, went up the middle couloir on the other side, and traversed right aiming slightly downhill. Ran back into the trail about a quarter mile before the cabin, and by then the trail was a bit of mud and some snow in the shade. Photo attached, ascent in green and return route in red

Photos (click for slideshow):

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