TR: Mt. Neva 7/4/2008
Ah, the 4th of July. What a better way to celebrate than to go for a hike and a ski, starting from the 4th of July Trailhead in the Indian Peaks?
I met up with Larry, Kevin, and Marley the dog at the trailhead Thursday evening - in the interest of extra sleep, we elected to sleep in our trucks and enjoy a more leisurely start. Lacy, Dave, and Leigh showed up right on time Friday morning, and Byron violated a great variety of traffic laws in order to set a new speed record from Aurora to the trailhead, arriving just in time.
Mt. Neva would be the goal for the day. I conveniently forgot my camera (again), but Lacy, Kevin, Larry, and Dave took some awesome photos.
Summertime in the mountains is OK, I guess, if you like random trailside beauty.
Larry with our destination in sight.
After ~3 miles of hiking, we arrived a Lake Dorothy, which is right at the base of Neva. Larry is an extremely optimistic person by nature, so here he is checking the lake for fish... despite the layer of ice on top.
Myself, Leigh, Byron, and Lacy. The huge, broken west face of South Arapahoe is in the background.
The faces of summer skiers (me, Leigh, Byron).
There's some saying about all good things must end. In this case, the good thing was Marley peacefully and innocently off-leash, never venturing more than 30ft from Kevin. The cause of the end was Ranger Rick here, who felt the need to give Kevin a half hour lecture and thankfully, only a warning. However, the Ranger knew Kevin couldn't ski with Marley leashed, and proceeded to sit at the bottom and watch to make sure Kevin didn't ski. LAME.
Reaching the base of our chosen couloir (Phoebe), we switch from hiking boots to ski boots and don helmets, crampons, and ice axes.
Larry leads the way across this cool spine of snow.
Marley enjoying the scenery. He climbed partway up with Kevin to get a good view of the action. Note the leash, Ranger Rick.
Then we started into the real climbing.
Lacy measured the steepest section of the couloir at 50 degrees.
Lacy on top.
We elected to forego the summit, because there was no snow up there. So it was ski time. Larry makes a committing entrance.... and proceeds to absolutely rip it.
Dave follows with his usual fine form.
Byron had apparently never been backcountry skiing before. Here he finishes up his first backcountry ski descent. One hell of a first line... considering 50 degrees is much steeper than anything you will find in any ski area.
We spied this little gem on the way up, and like the previous weekend, decided to go for a 2-for-1. It was a good choice too - the snow was fantastic in this north facing, 40 degree shot.
Larry checks out the deep moat on the edge of the couloir.
Climbing the couloir (me, Lacy, Leigh).
From the top, there was a great view of our first descent. Larry skied lookers left, the rest of us skied lookers right.
Space was at a bit of a premium at the top, so Larry departed early to make more room.
Kevin skiing. Yes, Kevin skiing! Byron was a bit freaked by the snow climbing, and elected to hang at the bottom with Marley so that Kevin could get a run in.
I skied too.
Leigh pretty much killed it.
After a thoroughly enjoyable descent, we got a few more good turns on the lower angled slopes leading to the flats. Out of sight from Ranger Dick, Marley finally got to join in on the fun.
Me on the lower slopes.
Looking back up at Neva.
A grand view of Neva.
Larry tries for dinner, but alas, is unsuccessful.
A little bit of bushwacking eventually brought us back to the trail and a speedy descent back to our cars and beers.
Great skiing, great area, great partners... can't complain.