Thursday night we drove up to the Foothills Lodge & Cabins in South Fork, CO. It was -16F overnight.
Packs loaded up and patiently waiting for us to finish our breakfast at the Coffeehouse & Cafe in South Fork
Parking at the Camp Trail TH in the Lake San Cristobal valley outside of Lake City, CO
Departing the trailhead at 11:30am. Given the cold temp (-8F) we were in no hurry that morning.
Steve crossing the bridge about a half mile into the ski in
Bill was loaded up with much of our tasty food and beverage
The skin up to the yurt was about 4.5 miles and 2,500 vertical of climbing. There was snow the entire way but it was pretty thin down lower.
Accidental action photo
Bill styles it out
It was a gorgeous day
This was Tom's first yurt trip and first major touring outing on his splitboard. He got the technique down quickly.
Looking across the valley at a couple of unnamed high 13ers and 14ers Redcloud and Sunshine
Snack break. Bill busts out his three pound bag of peanut butter bars. Organic, vegan, healthy. They were none of those.
Bill demonstrates his immediate stomach growth after just two of his peanut butter bars
Fritzy busting out some sweet gliding
As we got higher we skinned along the edge of this major talus field
Looking back and almost at the yurt
The mighty Uncompahgre Peak loomed in the distance
First view of the yurt. It took us three hours to get to it. It sits at 11,700' elevation.
A yurt is a collapsible circular tent of felt and skins (historically--now it's canvas and blue tarps) stretched over a pole frame, originally used by Central Asian nomadic peoples and now used more widely by backcountry skiers
This yurt was 20' across and sleeps eight. With the six of us it was pretty tight at night because no one wanted to sleep on the saggy upper bunk. I tried but after three hours I moved to the floor.
After getting settled in on Friday afternoon, Danny, Steve and I headed out to see what the terrain had to offer in the way of skiing. This slope looked fun from afar but was mostly bullet proof, wind packed sastrugi and therefore wasn't much fun
But even with the bad skiing, the views at sunset were worth the outing
Friday night we dined on veggie fajitas and washed em down with margaritas and some scotch. Before I got too loaded I went outside for some creative shots
It's probably not dark enough in your office to see the stars in this photo but trust me, the view was astounding
Sunrise from the front window. It would be nice to wake up to this view a bit more often.
Early morning in the yurt. Coffee and chai tea were definitely in order.
Neat freaks would not be happy
Definitely dingy and dirty but liveable. What's up for breakfast? Scrambled eggs and cheese on toasted english muffins.
Tom's "Boa" boot tightening system had a failure and wouldn't loosen. Tom and Bill work to get it resolved.
Lounging in the morning waiting for the frozen eggs to thaw so we could cook them
Melted snow is the only source for water. The eggs and cheese needed to thaw.
After breakfast we headed out eastward in search of turns. With a grim snowpack thus far this season, we weren't optimistic. But perseverance paid off.
The new and improved CO Trail Friends yurt construction is underway. Look for it in winter 2010 about three hundred yards east of the current location (and with a much larger deck!)
Out tracks from the previous evening. Some of the turns were good but then it got bullet hard
14er Uncompahgre beckons
We skinned to the top of this unnamed peak that was just a bit over 12,000' high
Group shot on the summit of the unnamed peak
We did find some good but short turns on the east side of the unnamed peak
A thing of beauty
Tom making some nice turns in good snow
We skied down into the basin for about 800 vertical feet. The upper part on this slope was really nice powder but lower it was more super hard wind packed stuff
Bill, Steve, Danny and I spied a treed slope across the basin that looked intriguing. Allison and Tom headed back towards the yurt for some cruiser touring
I was cruising along just minding my own business when "bam!" my board's nose breaks through the crusty top layer and I face planted hard. Big time crater.
Looking back up at the peak and slope we skied earlier
Making our way up the treed slope we went to explore. Trail breaking was tough in the unconsolidated snow but that meant it would be nice for turns later.
Making our way down the treed slope. It was good for about 500 vertical feet but unfortunately pretty thin. We all hit a fair bit of obstacles underneath the snow.
Down at the bottom I charged it through some willows. This one split the difference on my board.
Time to skin back up to the yurt
That's the treed slope we skied. We started out along the tree/clearing line on the right and then ventured into the trees.
Back at the ranch we found Tom and Allison enjoying the beautiful, calm afternoon
Lounging and enjoying the sun
It was a great afternoon back at the yurt
Allison went for a brief ski out to an overlook a couple hundred yards away
With some high clouds and no wind, we were in for a sunset treat
High 13er Half Peak in center
Looking up valley towards 14ers Sunshine and Handies
Back in the warm, comfy yurt waiting for dinner--pesto linguine with pepperoni
Sunrise on Sunday morning. We had blueberry pancakes, packed up, cleaned up and set out for a spicy descent back to the cars on our splitboard skis.
Heading out and down
Tom quickly getting the hang of skiing on a splitboard (with skins on for sure)
Back at the trailhead on another clear, warm day. It took us two hours to descend.