Copper Mountain traverse


A ski tour across the ridge including Copper Mountain.

Note: click images to see a larger version in a new window

Bob had wanted to do this one all winter. It's a long, circular route climbing and descending four peaks on a connecting ridge, plus some yo-yoing up and down the ridge. Bob's skied here extensively and knows many, many great lines. So he was the guide for the day.

I knew it was going to be a long day, and I wasn't in the best shape, but I'm always up for something new. So I picked up Bob early and we were on our way. It wasn't too early, tho- we knew the snow would be frozen solid.

We ditched a bicycle in the woods 4 1/2 miles down the road from the parking spot, then returned and parked the truck. The snow was "rather" firm, so we lashed our skis to our packs and took off walking.

Walking in tele boots is never fun, but we made good time and were soon nearing the first summit of the day.


If you click on the picture, you'll be able to see our line better, drawn in red. We climbed the right ridge line, more or less, of the more distant peak. Then we dropped to the saddle between that and the closer summit. That was our first drop-in. Then we skied down the left ridge

But before we did our first run, there was a lot of scenery to take in. Here I admire the Sawtooths.

Click on the picture to get a larger version (so you can read the peak names- oops!).

Then we made our first run. Bob called this a "warm-up," which set the tempo for the rest of our day. Although the slope had been in the sun for some time, the snow was only soft for about the first inch. Bob went first, boarding with an axe in hand, just in case.

It a decently steep pitch, and about 750' in elevation.

Then it was my turn. I opted to parallel instead of tele, something I had never done on this set of boards. After more than a little trepidation, I found they actually turned really well for me.

We did a couple more runs, including this one. When we saw how thin the snow was on Copper (the dirty summit to the left) we decided to head for the lower saddle. Plus, the snow had set up again, as you can see in the next photos.

Bob finds a spot to sneak through the cornices.

Bob's edge is barely sinking into the snow, so you can see the color of the base on Bob's board.

Shoulda sharpened *my* edges!

After a long descent we finally found the creek crossing. Actually, Bob led us right to it. Here he tried to walk on a round surface with hard-soled boots without much ankle articulation. I was hoping for an action shot, and he almost obliged....

We hit the highway, and found that Bob had led us within 20 feet of exactly where we had stashed the bike. We took our packs off, joking about having to do the bike ride, and noticed a distant roar. Bob dashed over to the pavement and stuck his thumb out.

Presto! The kind folks dropped me off at the pickup and we were on our way home.

Mr. Natural Home | 2004 | Back to top of page | Questions :: e-mail to splattski