Pettingell Peak

      9 Comments on Pettingell Peak

Morning light on Pettingell’s Southeast Face seen from the approach up Herman Gulch.

With ski conditions starting to deteriorate up high and a good amount of summer driving on the agenda, I knew I wanted to keep things local this past Saturday. My buddy Jason Fruh and I talked about going for Pettingell Peak (13,553 feet) which resides at the head of Herman Gulch only an hour’s drive from Denver. We knew it was in (thanks to beta provided by Brandon Chalk and Co who had skied it a week and a half prior) and we liked the idea of a low-angle route as the area hadn’t received a good freeze for several days. Jason and Becky Blyth, their friend Chris Bombardier, and David Yarian jumped on board, rounding out our group of six (+1 canine, Taj). After gearing up in the rain we started up the trail and hung a left at the signed turnoff for Herman Gulch.

Pettingell is one of five ranked 13ers that extend in a line from the Eisenhower Tunnel north along the crest of the Continental Divide. Being the tallest of the five, Pettingell looks down over “The Citadel”, Hagar Mountain, and “Golden Bear Peak” to the south, and “Hassell Peak” to the north. Together this group of peaks provides a plethora of excellent spring ski options, all of which have straightforward access from I70 and the Loveland Ski Area. Thanks to the good snow coverage we’ve had up north this spring, I’ve had the opportunity to explore four out of five of these on skis (excluding Hassell).

Jason and David skinning above Herman Lake towards our objective.

Pettingell seems to have all the ingredients of a fun ski tour – an easy approach with good previews of the route along the way, a manageable skin to the summit, and a moderate ski line that is highly likely to corn up in the late-morning.

View west from Pettingell’s summit as Fruh finishes off the morning skin. The rest of the group showed up shortly thereafter.

Becky and Chris on Pettingell’s summit after we decided to make some improvements to the windbreak. It still felt wintery on top temperature-wise thanks to a consistent southerly wind.

After a good amount of time spent on the summit the skiers/boarders headed east while the shoers elected to take the standard route down the West Ridge. The route we intended to ski corned up nicely and made for a few thousand feet of good skiing to the valley below.

Just off the summit ridge we were treated to some high-30/low-40 degree terrain. Here’s Jason giving it a run with his new board.

Here’s the other Jason enjoying the corn. Past the cornice at the top, the Southeast Face drops away at a nearly perfect angle for making wide, fun turns for a few thousand feet. When in good condition this face also presents lower angle options to the west, including skiing down the ridge line itself.

Looking back up at our tracks.

The out went smoothly as, contrary to the forecast, the snow received an excellent freeze the night before and was still very supportive by the time we skied out around 10:30am. From there we each went our own way, which happened to be the Mountain Toad Brewery for Jason and I. Both IPAs are decent, I’d definitely go back.

From winter to summer in a matter of an hour.

The IPA from Mountain Toad capped off the half-day quite well.

Thanks crew for joining and I apologize for the shorter-than-usual write up this time around. Have a great rest of your spring if I don’t see you again before summer. Cheers!

9 thoughts on “Pettingell Peak

    1. Ben Post author

      Thanks again for the beta and inspiration, Brandon. That area has some great low-angle peak tours doesn’t it?

      1. Brandon Chalk

        Some great lines back there, buddy. Indeed. Hey, quick question: I’m thinkin’ I would like to ski Grizz…do you happen to know when that Lincoln Road opens up to Grizz Resevoir?

    2. Ben Post author

      Brando, I want to say not long after Indy Pass opens. I went up there and hit Grizzly in early-June in the big snow year of 2011. I’d be surprised if it wasn’t either open or really close to being open right now.

  1. Brian

    Nice little basin we’ve got there so close to home. Hagar, Citadel, Pettingal and others. Good to see you guys hit another line in this area in stellar conditions!

  2. J Blyth

    Great day out guys, let’s do it again soon. One thing is for sure, I need to learn how to skin better!
    B Chalk – Hope to catch up with ya soon buddy. Heard the great news, congrats!

  3. Dillon

    Great report Benny Goat! Real nice to see you all out together. Taj too! Mountain Toad does have a decent IPA and there may be a direct link to it and some of the rowdiness that ensued at the book signing party in March! PS Unfortunately all front range mountains are not created equal buddy!

  4. DKYarian

    You forgot to mention the summit hole. It was oh so cozy!
    Hahah, nice write up Ben. I like the concise ones. It matches the day well: just a short, nice, good day on a sweet peak with great people. Love it man!


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