Sunday, May 18, 2008

Yankee Boy snow conditions

A crew of Ouray County folks went up into Yankee Boy Basin on Saturday in search of good spring corn season. We left Ouray around 0600, and drove to the end of the plowed Camp Bird Road (361). A short skin up the road and we were under Teakettle. There is a ton of snow left up there and a bunch of good size chunder piles as well, making for tricky conditions in spots. We decided to go up Kismet East as it has a number of good options depending on how the daily corn conditions form up.

From the top, the San Juans were beautifully laid out in morning light, and we could see a good set of tracks leading to the summit of Sneffels. The southern couloirs on Kismet were still pretty firm, with alternating bed surface and debris skiing. We opted to descend the way we came. The east ridge was just loosening up, and there were great patches of corn on the steeper slopes. We all mached down the shady hardpack to the truck and called it good.

Spring Skiing in the San Juans is always a bit of a scavenger hunt. Finding a beautiful line with the right snow conditions makes the endeavor almost as much fun as the reward. When it is timed right, the steepest lines in the range fall away as if they were merely the lower Plunge at T-ride. The skiing should be good into June. So get up early and enjoy what many locals agree is the best skiing of the year.

FYI, there is a good track for Sneffels climbers, but snowshoes are definitely advised for the afternoon wallow back.

Caio, CC