A journey skiing and exploring Colorado's highest peaks

Peaks #35 & #36 Grays and Torrey’s Twofer – Two-Thirds Finished with Project! April 25, 2016.

Peaks #35 and #36 completed, and finished with two-thirds of the project, 18 peaks to go!

Getting ready to drop into the Dead Dog on Torreys.

Getting ready to drop into the Dead Dog on Torreys.

I took advantage of a spectacular weather window on Monday and doubled up on Grays and Torreys to get to an important milestone. Here is a quick video of my ski descent  of the spectacular Dead Dog Couloir on Torrey’s peak, which was my 16th peak of April! Full trip reports will be updated on the “Sking 14ers” drop down menu as soon as time allows.

A personal note of self-assessment since I am 2/3 of the way completed with this project:

I personally feel any kind of timed, speed record may indeed amplify the mountaineering risks tenfold. However, my record attempt is very calculated and also isn’t really a ‘speed’ record of any sort. After all, I am just climbing up and skiing down peaks, and not trying to go fast like it’s a race. I simply go out and ski the peaks at my own pace and Yes I am attempting to do something nobody has ever done before, and that is ski the 14ers in one single season. However, as I have gone through this project, careful assessment of the mountain ranges has actually allowed me to look for the best conditions. (I have spread out across the state from time to time, skiing peaks that are in condition while also carefully scouting ones I need to ski still, AND on top of that I also carefully plan and go when I know there is good weather). Fortunately for me, turning around hasn’t really ever needed to be a major option yet because I plan carefully, and start early enough and know what I am capable of.

Looking back at the Dead Dog after skiing it top to bottom on Torreys.

Looking back at the Dead Dog after skiing it top to bottom on Torreys.

But, needless to say I have had to turn around a few times, and have been able to use that information to my advantage to let the mountain decide, and to get some great scouting of a peak in. This is something I have done on many of my expeditions to 8000m peaks in years past. At the end of the day I am doing this project because I am passionate about ski mountaineering here in Colorado, not because I am concerned with what others think or want out of this agenda I have set. As it turns out, no matter what you try to accomplish in life, people feel the need to criticize and belittle. Good for them. I welcome both encouragers and discouragers. At the end of the day I LOVE pushing myself in the mountains. I’ve enjoyed the challenge, the solitude, some amazing ski partners, and at the core I simply set goals and I go after them. I am grateful for everyone who has been following along, supporting me, or even joining me on this adventure. I even love to hear about people that think this is a ridiculous idea. I’m really just having fun. As I enter into the homestretch of this adventure into May and Early June, I am already taking it to the next level. I hope that many will join me, push me, and support me, and for that I am excited. I have left another final piece of this project which gives me a lot of confidence, I am going into the final 6 weeks or so ready to ski most of these final 18 peaks that I have already climbed and skied in the past multiple times, and so this gives me a lot of confidence that I can give it my best and get the job done, conditions and weather just need to cooperate now. Yes- there are some pretty hard ones left, but May also historically holds the finest and safest conditions on these tough ones, so I am excited to get them rolling.

Holy Cross Summit 14,005' Peak #34 of 2016.

Holy Cross Summit 14,005′ Peak #34 of 2016.

Looking forward to continuing the journey – thanks for following along!

 

Dr Jon

1 Comment

  1. James

    Just keep doing what you’re doing man. You’re having a great time out there!

    Don’t worry about people in the community who like to hide behind the internet to criticize you, that’s where they feel safe and secure (and probably where they belong).

    Takes a lot for anyone to do what you do and you should be very proud of that.

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