IntroductionPeak 10's Northeast Face is a classic Tenmile Ski Descent. It is visible from most of Breckenridge Ski Resort, and looks much harder than it actually is. It is an advanced descent, however.
There are several enjoyable lines on this relatively short face, offering almost 1000' of big mountain glisse. This face is also accessible from several trailheads, and you can even ride the Mercury Superchair in winter and spring while Breck is still open to a backcountry access gate, making your trip much shorter.
Fresh Tracks on Peak 10
ApproachThere are several approaches to this ski descent. Essentially, you just have to get to the summit of Peak 10. It is possible to return to several starting points after skiing the NE Face. Several possibilities to the summit follow:
Begin at the Spruce Creek Trailhead. In the Spring, parking will be blocked at 10,440 feet, at the beginning of the 4x4 road. Follow the Crystal Peak Route from Spruce Creek to the Crystal Peak / Peak 10 Saddle, and then follow the Crystal Peak Route from Spruce Creek route to the summit of Peak 10.
Begin at Breckenridge Ski Resort, and use the East Ridge via Breck Route.
Begin at the Spruce Creek Trailhead, and use the East Ridge Route.
Route DescriptionOnce you have gained the summit, carefully preview the Northeast Face.
You will have several choices of routes, varying in difficulty. Each of these routes are Advanced.
Refer to the TOPO of the NE Face below for the following lines:
Colors refer to TOPO below:
This route goes from the summit to the skiers left and follows an obvious ridge to the lower portion of the NE Face. This is a great choice when avalanche conditions are questionable. This is also the easiest line down.
This route goes straight down from the summit in the center of the face. It is a difficult line.
For the steepest descent of the NE Face, drop off the summit, and traverse over to the skier's right. Pick your line in this area. This can also be accessed from lower on the East Ridge, however there is usually a large cornice here, and the safest access to this terrain is the traverse described above.
To get back to the Breck ski area, simply continue to ski below the NE Face. You will arrive back above the Mercury Superchair and the Breck "Peak 9" area. Ski to the bottom.
To get back to the Spruce Creek area, ski to the bottom of the NE Face to 12,500 feet and head for the bottom of the road that leads to the radio towers. Coutour around this hill and head for the Wheeler Trail. Carry your skis for a short uphill section, and ski back to Spruce Creek via several optional lines. The skiing here is also wonderful.
Peak 10 - Peak 9 TourThis is a great backcountry ski outing. Essentially, you will climb and ski Peak 10, traverse the basin to Peak 9, skin it, and then ski down Peak 9. It requires good fitness and good timing.
This route works best if you climb Peak 10 from the Breckenridge route. From here, skin or climb Peak 10. Ski the Norheast Face.
After you descend the NE Face of Peak 10, keep good speed and traverse across the basin to the bottom of the East Ridge of Peak 9. Skin the East Ridge to 9's summit and then descend Peak 9 into the basin.
This is best done doing Peak 10 first because of the aspect of the NE Face.
A good idea for timing is:
9:00 am Ski Peak 10
10:30 am: Ski Peak 9
Essential GearSkis, obviously. Skiers should carry avalanche gear, and know how to use it to test a slope.
Backcountry Ski RatingD Rating:
II D7 R2
Avalanche InformationColorado Avalanche information Center's Website for current information on Peak 10.
The Northeast Face can be extremely dangerous and prone to avalanches in the right conditions. Use your judgement. The best way down in dangerous conditions might be the Ridge Route described above.
Skiing the Northeast Face - July 10th, 2005.