Trailhead & ApproachItinerary: hike/skin/snowclimb to summit of Grizzly Peak (13988‘) from Grizzly Reservoir TH (10560‘); ski descent via Grizzly Chute to ~11000‘. Sawatch Range, Colorado, USA.
Who: scotthsu (Scott) and Nice Axe! (Amy)
Elevation climbed: ~3428‘
RT mileage: ~8.5 miles
Time: ~6.5 hours (stops included); 3.83 hours to summit; 1 hour on summit & hanging out, 1.67 hours down
Equipment: skis, BD Whippet poles, shovel/beacon/probe, crampons
Grizzly Peak, located in the Sawatch near Independence Pass, is the highest CO. centennial thirteener. Interestingly, Grizzly Peak used to be a ranked 14er, until more recent geological surveys.
We slept in the car in a camping area just past Grizzly Reservoir TH. The camping area was pretty full as eager hikers/skiers had been awaiting the opening of Lincoln Creek Road. We started booting at 5:15 am; patchy snow was firm. The trail was easy to follow and we were able to start skinning around 11000‘ about 1.5 miles in.
View of the basin after we started skinning:
Early view of Grizzly Chute (center) and the Northeast Shoulder Route (lookers left of Grizzly Chute):
Higher up in the basin with the Northeast Shoulder Route prominent. Amy fueled by Gu here:
Snow Climb & SummitWe started booting up the chute a couple hundred feet above Grizzly Lake (12,500‘). The snow was firm and we made good use of our crampons during the snowclimb as part of the chute was still in shadow and very firm.
Amy part way up the chute with Grizzly Lake below. The upper half of the chute was sustained at 40-44 degrees:
Scott leading the snow climb:
A view down Grizzly Chute. Notice the extra credit couloir on the far right of the photo in the background.
Summit shot of Chicago Transplant and party on Grizzly Peak taken from the top of Grizzly Chute. Nice to meet you guys!
The weather couldn‘t have been more accommodating - the wind was minimal and the sun was shining. We had lunch on the summit of Grizzly Peak and met a few more people:
Ski DescentA view of the approach basin from the top of Grizzly Chute; a party of 4 skiing the Northeast Shoulder:
We hung out for a while to wait for the snow to soften up and to let a team ascending the chute gain the ridge. Here's a shot of the drop into Grizzly Chute.
Eventually we dropped into the Chute at 10:20am. We encountered nearly perfect spring snow conditions on the first day of summer! Now for the ski porn - Nice Axe! on the upper pitch:
Scott showing his usual perfect tele-god form:
Still nice corn lower down (Scott):
A shot of the hike out on great trail. You can see snow line behind: