Partners: Brennan Metzler, Bill Middlebrook, Marc Barella, Carl Dowdy, Scott Borger
Route: Ascent of Lindsey’s North Face route (standard), summit ski descent of North Couloir to 12,200′, ascent to Lindsey/Iron Nipple connecting saddle, ski back to car
Stats: 9 miles, 4,600′ climbed and skied
I’d like to give another shout out to both Bill and SchralpTheGnar on 14ers.com, who’s exploration and documentation of Lindsey last week more or less prompted this trip. I for one had just about given up on skiing any of the Sangres this season. This snow year, while extremely plump everywhere else in the state, has been less than stellar for these poor peaks, so needless to say I’m happy to have gotten down there for one.
I’m also happy to have gotten out with two new partners, Scott Borger and Brennan Metzler, with whom I had exchanged emails but never actually met prior to this trip. The six of us set off at 6:30 or so, initially booting up dry road with a few intermittent snow drifts. Overall we were content though as we were able to park within a half mile of the Lily Lakes TH. I’d bet given another week the trailhead itself will be attainable.
Once through the valley, we located the gully that heads up around the west side of the Iron Nipple. I’ve always loved the approach into this basin, Brennan does a good job of depicting why…
Though we had clouds rolling in and out and gusty winds, the day was mostly enjoyable from a weather standpoint. The snow was also nice; a hard crust perfect for skinning.
We had set our sights on catching up with Bill, who had been getting over Bronchitis and thought it a wise idea to allot himself some extra time in the morning. As we broke above treeline we were able to spot him from a distance cresting the 13,150′ Lindsey/Nipple connecting ridge.
After a good grunt of elevation we regrouped at the saddle and threw the skis on our packs. From here we followed Bill’s line traversing towards the base of the Northwest Couloir. Matt’s tracks from a few days prior were barely visible.
We caught up with Bill at the base of the couloir and began the ascent. A nice, firm snowpack along with the remnants of Matt’s booter made this chute go quickly. From the top of the couloir we had a short traversing climb up to the false summit.
Not far to go now. From the false summit the true summit is only a ten minute stroll to the southeast.
We topped out and took a look down the main chute that drops straight off the summit. Ample snow paved the way off the very top and all the way down to 12,200′ at the base of the face.
After lounging around for awhile in an ice block summit windbreak, we clicked in and dropped in. Ski shots are Marc, Bill, Carl, Brennan, Scott, and myself (in that order).
The snow was light and copious, better than one could ever ask for in May.
…and last but not least…
We took it all the way to bottom, cashing in some extra vert on the way out for more late-May powder turns. From the valley floor it’s a quick 900′ skin back up to the saddle.
From the saddle we had good snow down to the creek and then a short hike back to the cars. All in all a great day of spring skiing in the Rockies, this line is totally worth going after right now. For those seeking more beta, Bill added this route to the 14ers.com archives. I’d also like to take a moment to mention Brennan’s charity, Peaks for Peace, which he has created for the purpose of raising money and awareness for a youth camp up in Estes Park. I think this is an awesome way to combine a passion for climbing with a passion for service, and I have tremendous respect for Brennan for what he is doing out there. Check it out people!
Here’s a POV video of the descent:
Lastly, here’s Brennan’s take on the day for those who are interested.
Cheers and thanks for reading!