Descent Route: Moose Gulch
Mt. Bross Trip Report
November 11th, 2006
Ski Descent #46
Welcome back to skithe14ers.com everyone. I hope you have all had a great summer and fall and are excited about the ski season, which is now in full swing here in Colorado. After a great last few months spent skiing in Chile and cycling in Europe, I have been out and about in the Colorado mountains getting some good backcountry skiing in and waiting patiently for my remaining fourteeners to fill in with snow. Remember, I completed forty-five of the fifty-four peaks last winter and spring, which left me with nine more to go. Those nine were left undone because they never had enough snow to justify a true summit ski descent. We have had a great October for snowfall here in Colorado, and a couple more recent storms have helped fill things in, but my remaining peaks are still far from covered, so I?m patiently keeping tabs on the weather and the snowpack in the hopes of finishing my remaining peaks by the end of the calendar year. If I don't finish by December 31, I will keep trying to finish them by January 21, which is when I started last season, so that would be a full 365 days. If I?m still not done due to lack of snow, well, I will just get them done when Mother Nature allows.
Last Saturday Nick Devore and I did a recon mission to Mt. Princeton and Mt. Shavano, which, with Independence Pass closed, is a three-hour drive from aspen. When we realized that they were not in condition yet, we continued driving up through South Park to Alma and the base of Mt. Bross. The Moose Gulch line on Mt. Bross looked pretty good so we parked at the trailhead and began climbing my first fourteener of the fall. Bross is arguably the easiest and least interesting fourteener in the state, and its summit is a broad, flat plateau. We make quick work of the climb up the East Ridge and made the summit in two hours. The wind was howling and blowing us around like flags on the summit. Fortunately the air temperature was warm so the wind chill was manageable. At the edge of the summit plateau we clicked into out skis and had some really nice turns down the bowl at the top of Moose Gulch. The wind had loaded some soft snow in here, and we managed a few hundred feet of quality turns before running into the wind blown sastrugi snow that makes even the best skiers look like beginners. It was great being back in the high mountains with Nick, who skied fourteen peaks with me last spring before he went to Denali and made a blazing fast ascent and ski descent of North America?s highest summit.
We skied out to the bottom of Moose Gulch and made it back to the car feeling great about checking another summit of my list. I now have eight peaks left to go, and am constantly watching the conditions to see when I might be able to finish them off. I tried Princeton with Nick and Ted Mahon two days ago, but turned back at 13,000? because it was getting late and we could see that there was not quite enough coverage at the top to make a good descent.
I wanted to thank everyone who has been emailing me throughout the summer and fall with great words of support and encouragement. It means a lot and keeps me really motivated. Many of you have asked about my ?Ski The 14ers? film and when it might be coming out. We actually finished the film this fall, but are now in a situation with the National Forest Service because they will not grant me a permit to include all of the wilderness peaks in the film. Most of the Colorado fourteeners lie within the wilderness boundaries, so we are having to put the film release on hold until we can get permission to include these wonderful mountains in our film. The federal law states that one cannot film in the wilderness for commercial reason, but you can shoot photos to your hearts content. With modern digital media, the lines are blurred here. The goal of the film is to educate and inform people about the fourteeners in winter and spring and raise money for non-profits that directly benefit the wilderness and the fourteeners that lie within it. I will keep you all posted on what happens with this. My ?Ski The 14ers? book is going forward, and will be out in stores next fall.
In other news, I have a very busy winter lined up, filming for various ski movies, guiding, doing all sorts of event and TV announcing, and trying some first descents of interesting peaks in Colorado. I have a big mountain ski camp coming up December 28-29 at Silverton, and another in January at Aspen Highlands. My wife and I also import KASK hats and accessories from Sweden and the new 2007 line is up on out website at www.kaskhats-usa.com
Stay in touch, and be safe out there.
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