Southwest Colorado’s combined cold spring and overall great snowpack during the 09/2010 winter have created long-lasting winter conditions in the high country. John flew in from Malaysia for a couple peak climbs during the end of April. On the 25th, Nate took him up Engineer and John admitted to being wide-eyed most of the day with constant winds and temps he has never experienced. The 26th allowed for a half rest day, half hike into camp at 11,500 feet on the western flank of Snowdon Peak. The trail was packed snow all the way from HW 550 to camp. Luckily the weather was much warmer, 40 degrees, than the previous day and the wind had died down. We arrived at camp around 3 PM and after a cat nap, we went over some basic avalanche pit analysis and tips and tricks on how to stay warm in the winter.. The low that night was 20 degrees and the warm water bottles kept John toasty all night.
The West buttress of Snowdon proved to be still holding a decent amount of snow and ice which made the climb mixed and exciting. We summited under warm blue skied at 10 AM and ate and rested on top for a leisurly 45 minutes. Once at the top of the NW coulouir we took to our bottoms and glissaded down 600 feet in a matter of minutes. Afterward, John told me he doesn’t get to do much sledding in Malayisa and he really enjoyed it.
Once back in camp we packed up our tent and sleeping bags and began hiking out. Looking forward to a warmer and softer night’s sleep, John set a quick pace for the car and we made it out in an hour and 15 minutes. From here we toured Silverton, CO so John could photograph the booming metropolis and then returned to Southwest Adventure Guides basecamp back in Durango, CO.
Snow in May, 20 degree nights with 40 degree days, 13,000 ft summits, 200 ft/ min glissading descents; sign up today for your story of a life time!. Excellent work John and way to keep a smile alive!