Thursday, July 12, 2007

Emperor Solo Descent - June 1, 2007

I wanted to hit a decent line today with not too much hiking/postholing involved. Unfortunately everybody was busy with work. So I had to head out by myself.

We did this line last year, so I knew what to expect.

I was also eyeing Dead Dog if it looked alright, just to mix it up eventually.

I could drive 2.1 miles up the road before hitting this road block:

So I had to hike another mile to the Grays Peak summer trail head.
We got a solid freeze overnight and large parts of the trail (at least at the beginning) are even dry now, so the boot packing all the way to the top of Torreys was quite easy.
I started at 6:30 and summited at 10.

Familiar views on the way up:

Dead Dog:
(Sorry for the quality, was pretty cloudy right then)

View from the top towards Grays.
The clouds moved in and out. But it stayed mostly cloudy today.

There were a few people I met on the way up who hiked Grays/Torreys and were already on the way down. But on the summit I was totally by myself. I lounged around there for 45 minutes.

I was considering going down the Dead Dog and working my way over to Kelso. But there was quite some debris in there from slides and other skiers on days before. Since the sun did not really come out it never softened up. Therefore I decided to hit up the Emperor. Changes that this line was filled in with a little bit powder from a few days ago were better. It usually does not get skied as much as the DD and can be smoother. It is also quite a bit longer.

Looking down Emperor from the top:

After the first few turns:

Looking up about half way down:

Looking up almost from the bottom:

The top part was still really hard and crusty. But every once in a while you could find nice pockets of wind blown powder.
About one third down the snow started to soften up and quite a few nice turns were had.
Bottom part was nice corn to slush.

The line:

This line really rewards you with some nice vertical.
There are not too many places close to Denver where you can get over 3,400 vert in one descent. Nice sustained steep, but interestingly not just a straight shot.
Too bad that the whole thing was already over after 20 minutes. :D

Then another 1:30h hike back to the car was in order. For a total car-to-car time of 6 hours.

Who the heck parks his snowmobile here?

This would be another option. Do Dead dog first and hike back up Kelso for this line, which would dump you out right at the car.

My internet forum TR's:

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