Kelso Mountain Ski: An After Work Outing

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Stats: About 2500ft, 2 miles RT, and 3 hours car-to-car

What: Kelso North Couloir
When: June 5, 2013
Who: Ben and Rick
How: Parked at the base of the couloir where the run out hits the road. Wearing trail runners with boots and skis on our backs, we set off at 5:40pm, crossed the creek (Ben more “gracefully” than I) and headed up the lookers right ridge.

Ben gives the camera a smile after tripping and landing face first into the creek. He was only partially soaked.

Checking out the snow and our ascent ridge.

Taking in the views and evening shadows.

We even got in 15 seconds worth of a little scrambly-bambly along the ridge (or scramble-bamble if you prefer).

Making good time on dry ground.

One hour and 50 minutes of grunting landed us on the summit. Ben poses with the Steven’s gulch giants.

Never get tired of the views, made more impressive by the rare undercast to the east.

Ben summit hand stand with Edward’s in the background.

Some photos, food, and a transition to ski boots had us skiing by 7:50pm.

The first few turns off the top were a little crusty and we could tell the snow had already started to refreeze (even the parts still in the sun). Perhaps being 30 minutes earlier would have made the snow conditions perfect top to bottom.

Ben demonstrating excellent form off the top.

Damn good snow for 8pm.

Skiing this late in the day feels weird. But it sure was fun!

Ben having fun with the wind rolls.

These rolls held the steepest terrain, but I’d guess the main gully was a comfortable 35 degrees at the most, and probably closer to 30 lower down.

Working our way further down the ridge before dropping into the center of the gully.

After dropping into the gully proper, the snow along the right was still soft while the snow in the shadows along the left was refreezing.

Ben flirts with the soft stuff.

This is 2500 feet of pure fun..

The sun angle produced some amazing views.

The bottom 300 feet continued to be fun and playful – the original alpine slide.

We skied until the snow ended (about 10,900-11,000ish), and transitioned back into shoes – throwing the skis and boots on the pack.

A successful, and this time uneventful, re-crossing of the creek had us back to the car at about 8:30.

Which was just in time to enjoy a couple beers before getting stuck in I-70 traffic……. 10….pm….. (face-palm).

All in all it was a solid outing, and aside from the road closure on the way home, we might just have to plan another short after-workski before the snow is totally gone.

Thanks for reading.

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