April Powder on Eva and Witter

      15 Comments on April Powder on Eva and Witter

At the east end of Chinns Lake scoping 12,884′ Witter Peak. Photo by Derek.

In 2011 Brian and I attempted to ski Mt. Eva from the Fall River drainage but had to turn back at treeline as gale force winds threatened to blow us into the Troposphere. What we knew at the time was that on good snow years Eva’s southeast face can offer up some excellent skiing, so we kept it in the back of our minds. This past Saturday we finally got around to heading up for a second attempt, and this time we were treated with much better weather and great skiing conditions.

After rendezvousing with an old friend, Derek Dreschel, we motored on up the Rainbow Road and parked the car at a switchback a half mile up from Fall River Road. From there we made our way up the drainage to Chinns Lake to the south of Fall River Reservoir.

Working our way higher into the basin between Witter and Eva.

Mt. Eva sits on the divide just south of Parry Peak and north of Mt. Flora near Berthoud Pass. In the summer this peak makes for an easy day trip. In the winter it is often climbed as a ridge run from Colorado Mines Peak over Flora, and in the spring its southern flanks tend to hold good snow. Eva’s unranked neighbor to the south, Witter Peak, also has some interesting skiing off its northern flanks. Together the two peaks make for a good combination.

Mt. Eva’s summit (13,130′) looking north towards Parry Peak. A few years ago we skied the visible face on Parry and although the snow sucked, the route was at least in. This year it does not appear to be. We chose wisely I suppose. Click to enlarge.

We hoped the 5 inches of fresh snow we plowed through on the approach would be a foreshadowing of good skiing to come, and indeed it was. Though the skinning was definitely more work, the safe powder skiing up high was well worth the price of admission. We took a long meandering route through the basin to the south of Eva and circled up its southwest ridge to the summit.

After the 4 hour ascent it was on to the skiing, which we did in two long pitches (one off the top and down the upper-southeast face, then a second on the lower-face after crossing a flat bench).

Stacking powder turns off Eva’s summit. Sometimes windloading is a wonderful thing.

Looking back on our ski tracks off Eva from Witter’s northeast ridge later in the day. Photo by Derek. Click to enlarge.

We headed south towards Witter and took a long break at the base of its northeast ridge. While we were sitting there we noticed a solo skier following our route down Eva and moving fast. A few minutes later the mystery man popped over a knoll and we realized it was our buddy Mike, who had planned on joining us but accidentally slept in when his alarm didn’t go off. Well, he was sure determined to catch up and did so quite impressively. After letting Mike catch his breath, we threw skis on the pack and worked our way up Witter’s northeast ridge.

A look at Witter’s northeast ridge from earlier in the day. We climbed the obvious snow line to the right of the cornice and then skied the face into the couloir on the left.

Mike reinforcing the booter. Photo by Derek.

After a thousand foot ascent we topped out on Witter and dropped in down the east face. The first few turns off the top were steep but the snow was excellent. A hundred feet down we funneled into the “Welcome Couloir”, which also held good snow. Some ski shots:

Derek took firsts down the Welcome Couloir. There were a few sharks lurking beneath the surface in a few places but on the whole the skiing was great.

Brian lower down. Click to enlarge.

Mike taking a slightly different route. Photo by Derek.

My turn(s). Photo by Derek.

And another of Brian. Click to enlarge.

Tired and ready for a beer, we skied down past Chinns Lake and then down the road back to the car in about 15 minutes. For those who are interested, our total stats for the day came in around 10 miles and 4,800′.

Back at the car we enjoyed a brew from Denver Beer Co.  The peaks on the can must be Eva and Witter.

This duo made for a nice day out in the Front Range. Special thanks goes to frontrangeskimo.com, which provided us with some convenient beta. The Eva and Witter pages can be found here and here (we skied route 2 on Eva and route 1 on Witter).

Bring on more April showers!

15 thoughts on “April Powder on Eva and Witter

  1. Brandon Chalk

    Solid lines there, Ben. Well done, boys. Two 13ers, spring pow, and a nice bluebird spring day…not much can top that.

    Reply
      1. Brandon Chalk

        Right on, Conners. I do like them lowly 12ers. Not much Gore lately, bud, unfortunately. More rock climbing and not all day skins & runs. Hopefully, soon enough, though. Kristine & I are gonna hit up the ole Deming Drop a week from Friday (weather permitting), so stoked to get out with her for a full day.

  2. Faja

    Hey Ben – some amazing snow is what you guys found – like wow!!!!!! And here I thought it was over for any more pow- it looked like u guys were taking some face shots – Love ya FAJA – when we doing Buffalo ?????

    Reply
    1. Ben Post author

      Faja! Haha. That’s one of the perks of backcountry skiing I suppose. The snow stays better up higher for longer. Let’s do it in the next 2 weeks.
       
      Love Ben

      Reply
  3. Brian

    Sweet compilation of shots from the weekend there Dr Connors. The “Welcome to Colorado” Couloir was a tad deceiving at the top but couldn’t put a damper on an otherwise fine outing.
     
    There’s mountain ranges full of powder, ready to be skied, ready to go! Are you ready?

    Reply
    1. Ben Post author

      Thanks Col. Yeah the Welcome Couloir had a few unwelcome surprises but was sweet overall, just like Colorado!
       
      Is the powder 99.1% rock free?

      Reply
  4. Michael R.

    Thanks for the invite guys, glad I could rally and get both peaks in. My first BC tour of the season, gotta drag myself away from the resorts more. Looking forward to a fine spring!

    Reply
  5. Floyd

    Helmut, another stellar outing. You’ve been having quite the Spring. You seem to be finding the lines. I’m convinced that lists are jails and its so much more rewarding to go where the gettin’ is good. Also, I agree with Mike, he definitely needs to get himself away from the resorts. He seems to be getting pretty lazy in his old age.

    Reply
    1. Floyd

      Crap, sorry Ben… didn’t realize you were the author until I posted. You skiers all look alike. Comment still stands though!

      Reply
      1. Ben Post author

        Ha, no worries Scot. I agree, worrying less about lists tends to result in better skiing conditions. Something I learned a few years ago :).

  6. Rob

    This is Rob from http://www.frontrangeskimo.com. Thanks for the shout out! I’m glad the website was helpful! I’m always looking to make it better so any feedback, pictures, etc. are wanted. Too many years of riding in the 90s pre-digital camera and/or skiing solo has led to few action shots on the site. I’d love to get some of these pics up there and can give full photo credit and link back to this site. Feel free to send me a message to discuss. Thanks, and be safe out there!

    Reply
    1. Ben Post author

      Hey Rob, no problem and thanks again for the work you’ve done on your site. It’s a great resource. Regarding using some of our photos, we’d be fine with that. I’ll shoot ya an email!

      Ben

      Reply

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