|Gunning for the summit. Photo by Steve Denny|
So my next day off found me waking up in the van, at the Ski Hayden Trailhead up Castle Creek Road, sipping coffee and trying to limit the ever increasing levels of psyche. Steve pulled up and we quickly slapped on skins, boots, skis, and packs and set off post holing downhill to the creek were we found the skin track leading up to the summit.
Three hours of chatting about the usual topics, snow conditions, women, fine whiskys, the hard life of Aspen, women and snow conditions we found ourselves on a final bench a few hundred yards below the summit. There were really started discussing the snow, a rock hard wind slab that was lightly iced over. Sure these conditions might be fine for some of the folks that grew up skiing in the Midwest or on the East coast but we were there to have fun not embrace our survival skiing skillz. So after a little debate we traversed over to check out some terrain to the east that we thought might harbor some soft sweet powder that would ultimately lead back to the trail head. After traversing through rocks and wind scrubbed grass patches we peered over the edge. Much to our chagrin we found more rocks, bigger rocks and gullies that seemed just as wind scoured as the basin we had just traversed. So we said "screw it, lets go to the summit." And so we did, with a few tense moments when an ice axe might not have been an unwelcome friend and lots of boot packing up a 50ish degree ridge we summited.
|Skiing off the summit. Photo by Steve Denny|
|De-tuning the skis. Photo by Steve Denny|
An hour of skiing later clocked us in at five hours van-to-van and ready for a cold one. A bit of reminiscing and scoping out the lines we'd just skied left us quite happy and ready for a nap and plans for future adventures.
|Victory Tin Cup Whisky!|
|The price of not dodging the snow sharks,|
Tis' but a scratch!