Peak(s):  San Luis Peak  -  14,023 feet
Date Posted:  05/18/2009
Modified:  12/03/2009
Date Climbed:   05/16/2009
Author:  doumall
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 White-N-Brown... Red-N-White   

San Luis Ski Descent
Trailhead: Equity Mine 4WD at 11,400'
Ascent of South Ridge
Ski Descent of East Face and Upper Cochetopa Creek
5200 vertical, 13 miles


San Luis has been a bit of a thorn in my side for the past few years. I intended to ski it during the winter the past few seasons, but never seemed to get the right combination of conditions, time and partners to do it. On Saturday, my first view of the Yawner Gullies, a route I intended to ski, made we wonder if this mountain was toying with me.

Image

Photo: Debbie Baker

I knew however, I had the right partners:

Debbie
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Photo: Joe Brannan

Prakash:
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Photo: Joe Brannan

After whacking some willows instead of following the road, we hit the first pass on the day. If you do this route and you can find the old mining road which is not on the map, follow it to around 12,300', it will make your life easier. The snow was still very firm so we took care while getting down over the cornice.

White-N-Brown:
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Photo: Joe Brannan

We then traversed on skis down across the Upper West Fork of Spring Creek Basin.

Traversing:
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Photo: Joe Brannan

Along the way, it was clear we didn't want to backtrack this exact route in the heat of the day.

Objective Hazards:
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Photo: Joe Brannan

After Debbie and Prakash reluctantly ditch their sticks...
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Photo: Joe Brannan

...we headed up the Colorado Trail to our next pass. A few of the La Garita Mountains hold interesting terrain:

Rugged Corner of the La Garitas:
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Photo: Prakash Manley

Next? Traverse across the Upper East Fork of Spring Creek Basin.

I Hope It Froze:
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Photo: Joe Brannan

Promising:
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Photo: Joe Brannan

Unfortunately, it didn't freeze. We found conditions best described as swimming...

Perhaps Freestyle?
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Photo: Joe Brannan

We knew the ridge route on the way back would be best at this point. Staying low on the descent did afford some spectacular Hoodoo viewing:

Ancient Volcano Hoodoos:
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Photo: Joe Brannan

Next? The final climb up the gentle yet deceivingly long South Ridge.

1600 vert to go:
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Photo: Joe Brannan

Springtime is here. The clouds briefly appeared threatening over Organ:

Organ Positron?
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Photo: Joe Brannan

But as is common in the early spring, there just wasn't enough juice in the sky to get the clouds really building. We slogged up to the summit and claimed our kill:

Summit Brutality:
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Photo: Joe Brannan

After I scoped out the East Face and deemed it a go for skiing, we took a half hour snooze and ate some lunch. The air is so fresh up there. Eventually we decided to part ways. Debbie and Prakash back down the South ridge, me down into Cochetopa Creek...

Summit Ski #53:
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Photo: Debbie Baker

Tight But Continuous Off the Top:
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Photo: Debbie Baker

Fun slush was found on the gentle East Face:
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Photo: Debbie Baker

Follow the Snow!
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Photo: Debbie Baker

The upper route:
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Photo: Joe Brannan

The lower route:
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Photo: Joe Brannan

The route, in general:
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Photo: Joe Brannan

I climbed back out to the South Ridge, were I found Debbie and Prakash waiting in the sun.

Spot them? (hint, two tiny black dots just right and down from center)
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Photo: Joe Brannan

After another four hundred feet of hiking up, we skirted around point 13,155:

This route: UP DOWN UP DOWN UP DOWN UP DOWN UP DOWN UP DOWN UP DOWN
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Photo: Joe Brannan

Some scrambling through the crumbling hoodoos:
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Photo: Joe Brannan

And yet another climb back out of Spring Creek had us gazing out upon San Luis for the last time:

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Photo: Joe Brannan

A long day deserves some Red-N-White:
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One left... thanks for following along.



Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
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Comments or Questions
RoanMtnMan
User
Pieced it together.
05/19/2009 03:47
I admit I was skeptical when you told me you were going down there. Looks like it held in for you though. Funny, the last time I was up there I believe we stashed some Silver Bullets in that same stream. Good work!


Tempelton
User
Hoodoos?
05/19/2009 04:08
I did this route last summer and wondered about those precarious boulders sitting on top of those spires... they are volcano hoodoos? What does that mean?


Gahugafuga
User
Yikes!
05/19/2009 04:16
Last Memorial Day my partner and I skied the Yawners and were pretty much on continuous snow from the moment we parked his car 3 miles below the normal trailhead until the moment we got back to the car. There‘s no way we would‘ve gone through with it had we seen what you saw at the first pass. Kudos on your perseverance.


killingcokes
User
Sweet
05/19/2009 04:51
Wasn‘t sure if that was gonna get dun this year.

You inspire Joe.

Debbie and Prakash I bet you guys wish you hadn‘t dropped those skis with that ”swimming”


Easy Rider
User
Dedicated
05/19/2009 06:40
All of you!

Hondo Canon looks too far, but less up&over


maverick_manley
User
are you...
05/20/2009 22:29
going to put up that Wetterhorn report or what? Lazy ass !


hippitahoppita
User
Well done my friend
05/21/2009 04:42
Easily your best title for a TR so far.



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