4th of July Bowl is the NE face of Peak 10 at 13,633.
There is a discreet yet perfectly legal road to drive up Breckenridge ski
resort. Not exactly a secret, but not well advertised or signed either.
With a burly enough vehicle you could drive to the top of Peak 10 —
though right now patchy snow covers the road starting a little below
Today I took Winter and dove up to the switchback at exactly 11,400’ —
just above the Falcon Lift. The lift doesn’t show on Topozone, but the
trails it serves do. Coulda driven higher than that, but I noticed the
gully right next to the road was still holding snow. Bonus vertical.
It was a beautiful morning, (4ojscenic.jpg) but thunderstorms were forecasted to move in at noon, and it was a little
after 8am when we started hiking. I was aiming for the latest possible
window before clouds moved in to insure soft snow.
Got this look at the remnants of Briar Rose Mine along the way (4ojms.jpg) and had to stop and put on my jacket here (4ojes.jpg) as clouds were moving in and with them came the wind. Those clouds were
ugly and coming in fast, so we scurried to the top, I clicked in and we
were off. The snow quality was not on par with what I’ve been skiing
lately with 3„ suncups dominating the upper face. But it had softened just
enough to link cohesive turns all the way down.
I shot a couple quick video clips 800’ below the summit of Winter running
along side me, then of her catching up after I got ahead of her. Here they
are linked together in a low-re WMV file — bear with it as I do lose here
for a moment while she crosses my path but I do pick her up again. This is
my first video experiment with the new digi-cam, so excuse the bobbling as
I shot the first clip while skiing (Quicktime Movie: PICT0012.AVI).
At the end of the runout I took this shot looking back (40j1.jpg).
As you can see, nasty weather was coming hard and fast and this was a full
90 minutes before it was “supposed” to. We started moving fast on foot
across the couple hundred foot meadow towards the snow gully leading back
to the car. For a moment the clouds parted and I saw the opportunity for
this shot (40jw1.jpg) of a very happy dog. She loves doing this stuff and it shows.
As I was clicking in at the top of the gully, the sharp crackling sound of
thunder startled me into worry mode. No more time for any more pictures. I
was shoving off when a bolt of lightning struck somewhere about a mile
away and what followed was panic and a fast schuss as fast as I could go.
We were at the car in no time at all, just barely in time to get in before
snow started falling. Sat in the Bronco for a few minutes taking in the
power of thunderclaps and electrical flashes going on all around. I was
relieved and happy to have been able to get in some skiing before it all
happened. Far too close for comfort. No one-iron was on my person, but I
did have something better – an avalanche probe, though I didn’t break it