With some uncertainty with mother nature, a more conservative option was chosen, both in distance and in slope moderation. A nice group of 6 joined in on this day (Elliot, Calc, Rick, Jason, Kyle and myself) meeting at the trailhead at the immediate west side of the Eisenhower around 8am. We literally drove through the westbound tunnel, slowed down and took our first right in to a plowed pull off. We were on the trail soon after. The parking lot is around 11,100 feet.
We lucked out with the weather in the morning, making for some great lighting for pics. The approach could not have been easier, making a NW beeline for Coon Hill. There were numerous skin and ski tracks showing us the way.
We took a left and made our way for the SE Ridge of Coon Hill, switchbacking up to the saddle with Pt 12,377 on the Loveland Pass quad. We were able to skin across a semi-steep slope (with a good runout just in case) and continued the skin towards the summit. The views to the West and to the South were solid. This is a great tour for easy, good turns and lots of beta.
We lounged on the summit for a couple minutes, scouting out the NE Face of Coon Hill and dreaming of future lines in the Gores. 3 of us chose the skier’s right entrance and the other 3 chose the skier’s left entrance. They both have their pros and no cons that I could find. Some summit shots :
And some ski shots:
Calc, Elliot and Jason gained a saddle in Coon Hill’s East Ridge, while Kyle, Rick and I threw in a skin track across the NE Face to the North Ridge for one final run off it’s mellower SE Face. The turns in the NE Face were pure powder and the SE face was silk until we reached treeline, where it turned to crud, but we were prepared for this. After 2500 feet of shin deep pow, we couldn’t complain. Post climb meal festivities held at none other than Smokin Yards (sorry – forgot to take shots). Anyone on the Front Range looking for a nice combo of turns and views – check this drainage out! You can ski both the North and South sides and be back in Denver for lunch.
And one last parting shot…..