I love the warm, dazed afterglow of a day spent climbing cold, windy mountains. Matt, Apryle and I just got back from an impeccable day afield in the northern Indian Peaks. In search of early winter turns, we have been skiing around Rock Creek over the past week. Today we headed further up, to Saint Vrain Mountain. The ascent was bony, not much snow left on the south facing hillsides. Just below treeline, the fragile snowpack spoke to us in deep booming “whumpfs!” as we skinned higher and higher. We stayed off the steeper slopes and nothing cut loose on us. Had to carry the gear on the tundra trail with impressive views into Wild Basin and up to the Divide, while beating up into the wind. We skied about halfway up Saint Vrain and decided to get on with the down!
The descent was phenomenal. Windpacked powder up high and knee-deep fluff in the trees below. The road back to the car was packed and fast. The story of the day was written on our faces; as we passed a cross-country skier she noted “you guys sure look happy!” Six of the best hours I’ve spent outside in a while, to be certain.