So far this spring, weather windows on weekends have been difficult to come by. El Nino has been and continues to be generous and we definitely need the moisture, but it’d be nice to have some sun once in awhile too.
One such day where we did actually get some weekend sun, a few of us headed on up to Loveland Pass for what turned out to be a nice tour along the Continental Divide. Out across the long, undulating ridge we went to the summmit of Grizzly D, down the north face, up the east side of “Cupid”, and then down Dave’s Wave to the Arapaho Basin Ski Area. If there’s one thing that’s nice about the Loveland Pass 13ers, it’s that their access couldn’t be easier and with a sufficient amount of snow, there are some nice combos that present themselves.
From the parking lot we had dry tundra for a few hundred yards, then we were able to throw skins on and make a long traverse to the southeast, effectively bypassing the large hump that sits between Sniktau and Cupid. We topped out on Cupid roughly 30 minutes after leaving the car.
This ridge line isn’t the most conducive for skinning but we managed to make it work. Just be sure to give the cornice on the east side a wide berth if you plan to head up this route, and be prepared for some fairly interesting skin-skiing, unless you’d rather transition a dozen times.
After a long stretch of grinding our plastic ski boots into the rocks on the way up Grizzly, we topped out and took a long break. Thanks to the clear day we had great visibility into the Tenmile/Mosquote and northern Sawatch. We spent quite a long time pointing out various peaks and lines in the distance. Even the Elks were easily visible on this day.
Eventually we clicked in and dropped in. We chose the line we did because it was the only route that we were positive went cleanly. After this latest series of large dumps, I bet the Hourglass line that heads down the center of the face would also go just fine.
In the gut of the line we worked our way down slowly one by one. The top half of this route is fairly steep and the variable snow kept us all on our heels a little bit.
After regrouping below the choke section we skied what was probably the best snow of the day down into upper-Grizzly Gulch. The lower we skied the better the snow got.
Some POV video I shot on the lower half of the line:
We skied around 1,600 ft in total and then stopped to re-apply skins and grab some more sunscreen. Heat from the convection oven solar effect was getting pretty intense at this point so we didn’t linger for too long.
We didn’t stop for long on “Cupid”. From the summit we traversed over to the top of Dave’s Wave and found it to be corning up nicely.
I’ll say it again, the new snow has been nice but here’s hoping the little boy stops crapping himself every Saturday/Sunday and lets us weekend warriors have some sunshine. Someone do a corn dance 🙂