A sweet view of my ski line that I came down in the "South K Colouir" on Harvard.

A sweet view of my ski line that I came down in the “South K Colouir” on Harvard

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Peak #3:  January 16, 2016

Elevation: 14,420’

Ski Route: “South K Couloir”

Ski Partners: Torrey Udall, Chris Tomer, & Anna Migl

  • Start Time: 6:30 AM
  • Reached Summit: 2:00 PM
  • End Time: 6:00 PM

 

Migl and I summited  at 2pm or so in a great weather window and we filmed a Tomer’s Trails episode, check out the adventure here:  Skiing Mt. Harvard for Tomer’s Trails, KWGN 2 Denver.

Udall pauses for a break in a meadow approaching timberline.

Udall pauses for a break in a meadow approaching timberline.

I was grateful to have my strong friends come on a cold and snowy winter’s day for our attempt on Harvard. Fortunately we were able to drive to within 1.5 miles of the summer trailhead on our approach to the Horn Fork Basin Trailhead.

It had snowed several inches over the previous couple of days, and as the wind continue to blow, I knew that the key was to just get to timberline and see if the forecast for a brief weather window would materialize.

The Team pushing through strong winds at 12,000'.

The Team pushing through strong winds at 12,000′.

Around 11am, we skinned to about 12,000’ and as the wind continued to howl, the sun came out fairly well, and I was certain that things would clear. Tomer bid us farewell and good luck, as he had to get back home to Denver for some reason, and so myself, Anna, and Torrey continued on and up the mountain.

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Around noon as I crested the south ridgeline along the continental divide, I had a great view to the west and the winds died down. This was our chance to get up to the summit.

Migl going strong at 14,000', Yale in the far distance.

Migl going strong at 14,000′, Yale in the far distance.

Approaching 14,000’ I knew we had to be efficient. But the snow and the conditions were so soft, making the final 400 feet really tough.

So close to the summit in tough conditions!

So close to the summit in tough conditions!

Post-holing for about an hour and pushing to the summit block, I knew we were gonna make it and the approaching storm from the west still was a few hours away.

Summit Success!

Summit Success!

It was awesome to stand on that summit in the winter. It also brought back memories of my summit bivy from 2011 when I almost got struck by lightning up on that summit! http://www.jonkeverest.org/blog/2011/09/22/54-Harvard-14420-Lightning-Zapped-Sept-21-22.aspx

After a few minutes to relax, it was time to descend and ski. Earlier on the approach I had spied the “South K Couloir”, a nice narrow and steep chute to skier’s left of the summit, so I skied a couple hundred yards on the rocky ridge until I was at the top of the couloir.

Steep and pure into the South K Couloir.

Steep and pure into the South K Couloir.

I couldn’t wait to drop in! It was a different line than I had skied in 2013, and it appeared to be filled in just enough.

Winds increased and I took several jump turns down the couloir. It was solid. The couloir skied well and before I knew it I was back down on the basin meeting up with Torrey and Anna who both selected a face near the south ridge to ski and then meet me. IMG_6599

 

We felt great about our ski descents and by now it was pushing 3pm, so we started moving back towards timberline. Before long we were back on our skin track on the trail through the woods and by almost 6pm in the waning light and stormy windy conditions we had made it safely back to our car at the trailhead. Almost a 12 hour day, and we covered about 17 miles round trip, what a rewarding day with awesome friends!