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Grizzly Chute ski descent
Trip Report

Grizzly Chute ski descent

Grizzly Chute ski descent

Page Type: Trip Report

Location: Colorado, United States, North America

Lat/Lon: 39.04230°N / 106.5976°W

Object Title: Grizzly Chute ski descent

Date Climbed/Hiked: Jun 21, 2008

Activities: Hiking, Mountaineering, Skiing

Season: Summer


Page By: Nice Axe!

Created/Edited: Sep 19, 2008 / Sep 20, 2008

Object ID: 444657

Hits: 3803 

Page Score: 74.92%  - 5 Votes 

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Trailhead & Approach

Itinerary: 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:
Grizzly Chute Basin
Grizzly Lake Basin

Early view of Grizzly Chute (center) and the Northeast Shoulder Route (lookers left of Grizzly Chute):
Grizzly Chute Basin
NE Shoulder Route & Grizzly Chute

Higher up in the basin with the Northeast Shoulder Route prominent. Amy fueled by Gu here:
Northeast Shoulder couloir
NE Shoulder Route & Grizzly Chute

Snow Climb & Summit

We 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:
Grizzly Lake
Snowclimb up Grizzly Chute

Scott leading the snow climb:
Grizzly Chute & Scott
Snowclimb up Grizzly Chute

Scott in the Grizzly Chute
Snowclimb up Grizzly Chute

A view down Grizzly Chute. Notice the extra credit couloir on the far right of the photo in the background.
Down the Chute
Looking down Grizzly Chute

Summit shot of Chicago Transplant and party on Grizzly Peak taken from the top of Grizzly Chute. Nice to meet you guys!
Grizzly Peak (13988 )
Grizzly Peak from Grizzly Chute

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:
On Grizzly Peak
On Grizzly Peak (13,988')

Ski Descent

A view of the approach basin from the top of Grizzly Chute; a party of 4 skiing the Northeast Shoulder:
Northeast Shoulder
Looking down Grizzly Chute

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.
Top of Grizzly Couloir
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:
Amy skiing Grizzly Chute
Top pitch of Grizzly

Grizzly Chute ski2
More ski porn

Grizzly Chute ski3
and more ski porn

Scott showing his usual perfect tele-god form:
Scott lower down on tele
Scott in Grizzly

Still nice corn lower down (Scott):
Grizzly Lake Basin ski
Scott taking his turn lower down on tele

A shot of the hike out on great trail. You can see snow line behind:
Grizzly Lake Basin hike
Hike out


This was a pretty mellow day - extremely pleasant and a beautiful basin. We were thrilled to still find some fantastic spring skiing on the first day of summer!


Top of Grizzly CouloirOn Grizzly PeakNortheast ShoulderGrizzly LakeScott lower down on teleGrizzly Peak (13988\')Grizzly Chute Basin
Grizzly Chute BasinNortheast Shoulder couloirGrizzly Chute & ScottScott in the Grizzly ChuteDown the ChuteAmy skiing Grizzly ChuteGrizzly Chute ski2
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Bill KerrSki Mountaineering

Bill Kerr

Voted 10/10

Nice to see some climb/ski trips to get us pumped up about winter. See you have the whippets but an ice axe might have been nice to have on the way up for the top of the chute when frozen. Looks like it was great fun skiing on corn snow.
Posted Sep 20, 2008 1:50 pm

scotthsuRe: Ski Mountaineering


Voted 10/10

Skiing is right around the corner (hopefully)! You're right about wanting an axe when conditions are frozen. The middle section of the chute was fairly hard, but we felt pretty secure with whippet and crampons on this day (first day of summer)!
Posted Sep 22, 2008 9:44 am

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