19 March 2011

Buffalo Mountain Hike

Finally got up the trail to scout out a possible ski descent of Buffalo Mountain. Decided to use YakTraks and hiking shoes, just to see if I could get past treeline. Getting to the top of the Wildernest development in Silverthorne put me around 9700 ft at the trailhead. Ran into a couple folks already having breathing difficulties (even the rescue team was called), but the thin air felt fine to me. Broke a strap on the YakTraks and had to rebend some wires to make them functional again, but they worked surprisingly well. The trail was pretty hard packed, then slowly softened and deepened as I went up. The goal was to was to get to the north side of Buffalo where there's an incredible 30 degree slope devoid of trees.

After two hours of climbing I reached it and the wind was howling, but the vews were impressive.

View of the north side of Buffalo Mountain

View toward the north

Overlooking the town of Dillon and the dam
The choice to not take gaiters made the final 1/4 mile a post-holing slog, but it was enough to get the idea of where to go next time with skis.

I met up with this fellow on the way down...      
Hopefully this week we'll have a nice, calm sunny day and I'll skin up for a few runs - after doing some avalanche testing of course....

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