Mark and I left his truck at the winter closure 2.5 miles from CO 9 on Buckskin Creek Rd at about 6:45am. We skinned up past Kite Lake and into the mouth of the West Gully. We stashed our skis just inside the bottom of the gully and hiked up the cold shadowy crease. The snow in the center of the gully was spooky hard wind slab so we hiked on the left (north) margin of the snow where the scree was just poking through. The summit was as flat as I was expecting, and the winds were 50-60 mph so we quickly tagged a summit cairn and cruised back to the gully. At the base we put our skis back on, locked down our heels, and made a few turns (and falls). The snow conditions were highly variable and windblown, and difficult for us as novice backcountry skiers. The best conditions were in a shallow gully right next to Kite Lake in the basin. The road was about half bare so we hiked out the last half and were back at the car by about 3:15pm for 8.5 hours car-to-car at a fairly casual pace.
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