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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 🙂