“Drift Peak” North Face Ski

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“Drift Peak” and its north face route seen from Mayflower Gulch, May 13th. Photo by Brian.

Several of us took advantage of the weather window this past Saturday to ski the north route on “Drift Peak”. Though the snow was variable in spots, we were rewarded with several hundred feet of powder turns on a classic Tenmile Range line.

The north face of “Drift” had been on my radar for years, even since before Brian included it in our guidebook. The route is wind-prone and can be finicky to get in good condition. But when it’s in, it’s tough to find a better bang-for-your-buck line in the entire state. Paved road access, a short approach, and a straightforward climb all lead to an aesthetic summit and over 2,300 ft of skiing right off the top, with around 1,500 ft of that averaging 40 degrees in steepness. And it can all be easily previewed right off of CO 91.

Despite the easy access and short approach, Mayflower is a neat basin that lends to a wilderness feel.

Inside of an hour we found ourselves at the base of “Drift” and began climbing towards a saddle looker’s right of the peak. Though the ski route itself would make for a fun climb, it’s not as efficient as ascending from the west.

Booting up hard crust with Jacque Peak in back.

A three hour ascent from the car had us to the nearly wind-less summit. The vantage point from the top of “Drift” lends excellent views of the other high peaks of the Tenmile Range.

Summit of “Drift” looking south into the heart of the Tenmile.

Rugged sections of ridge that connect Drift to Wheeler to Democrat.

Waiting to drop in while trying not to eat all of Brian’s ranch flavored Fritos.

The skiing directly off the summit was a tad on the variable side, but manageable. After a tentative first few turns we were able to open it up more as the snow became softer lower down.

Brian enjoying bluebird pow turns high on the face. It’s fairly steep right off the top.

Rick’s turn.

Then Bloomy. That’s Holy Cross in the distance.

Carl with the Mayflower tailing ponds making for an interesting backdrop.

Here’s a little video clip I shot while skiing the middle part of the face. This section held the best snow of the day…


At the bottom of the face we came to the cliff bands which are probably considered the crux of the route. Several different options can present themselves depending on snow cover, and they’re all fairly steep. We wound up taking the wide, obvious chute straight down the gut, which held some good corn snow on its east-facing components.

Jamie heading towards our chute of choice.

Crunchy turns right out of the exit…

…but then we had good corn snow on the apron.

With everyone accounted for we headed back down to the cars, which entailed nothing more than an easy luge down the hard packed trail through the trees.

Mayflower cabins on the way out with the route visible in back.

Then it was down to our normal post-climb shenanigans in the parking lot, with another fun line under our belts. Rick, Carl, Brian, Jon, Nick, Jamie…thanks for joining on this one.

Sandals, suds, and sausages.

Summer is knocking on spring’s doorstep but it’s hard to tell with the 3 feet of snow that’s supposedly on the way. Hoping to get a few more in before it’s all over…

Thanks for reading 🙂

2 thoughts on ““Drift Peak” North Face Ski

  1. Brandon Chalk

    This is awesome, guys. Well done. Love Drift Peak. That’s a great ski line and the snow looks really good in the middle, Ben! What a great crew. Ben, did you guys actually climb Villa Ridge or boot up the climber’s right side of the face?

    Reply
    1. Ben Post author

      Hey Brando, it sure is a fun one, and an easy one to do over and over too. We climbed Villa Ridge, I just didn’t know it had a name until now 🙂

      Have fun this weekend!

      Reply

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