Yes from high camp Map: Elks South West Photo: [several in collection]. Start at the Hunter Creek Trailhead (see trailhead description above). Ski a short distance down and cross Castle Creek. With a lift ticket, we can introduce you to US Forest Service permitted side country or out of bounds skiing in the Aspen area. Advanced skiers can hit 39 percent of the ski resort and 35 percent are ideal for beginners. Gold Hill (12,361 feet) is the little bump rising east and northeast from the saddle. Wolford Reservoir. GREEN. We climbed and backcountry skied Hayden Peak today (AKA Ski Hayden), a 4,316 vertical foot classic backcountry ski climb near Aspen. If you’re new to town, or finally ready to tackle Ajax after some lessons on Buttermilk or Snowmass, here are my tips to get the most out of your day. A GPS could be useful here as well. Descend the ridge or face into the bowl, then continue down your ascent route. Aspen Mountain. Continue up the drainage to an area where the timber thins just below timberline; this is called the Lunch Spot (11,300 feet). When can you get here? Leave from the Conundrum Creek Trailhead (see section introduction). Of course, there’s no rush to get back to civilization — Chris will head up whatever route includes the best runs for the day’s conditions. Go to the top of Highland Peak, then boot along Highland Ridge to the top of the fingers. Continue up the valley through the meadow, then find the trail, which follows the cut of an old road for about 4 miles to where the valley narrows significantly at 9,700 feet. The ski to the summit is trivial, the view terrific. While going to and from Gold Hill in a day from Aspen Mountain would be quite an effort, fast lightweight tour skiers can make a long day trip by taking this route to the Gold Hill area, then descending Express Creek to Ashcroft (route 7.2.13). AAG ski guides are certified Professional Ski Instructors of America (PSIA), on-mountain instructors with additional medical certification and avalanche training that permits us to guide and prepare for trips out of bounds. Officials think that trend is likely to continue this year, too. Climb rating: Harder skins Ski rating:S4 Recommended seasons: Mid to late winter, early spring Starting elevation: 8,380 feet Summit elevation: 11,841 feet Elevation gain: 3,500 feet Trip distance: 25 miles Day trip? Berthoud Pass can be found on rt. It reaches so much terrain, that routes from Castle Creek are also covered in Chapter 8, USGS Maps: Aspen, Highland Peak, Maroon Bells, Hayden Peak, Pearl Pass USFS Map: White River National Forest Text Maps: Elks North East, Middle, West, Castle Creek Road, Conundrum Creek Trailhead. Advanced Backcountry Ski Tour / Peak. Mistake. Just a few of these leave from town, while you reach others via spur roads in the greater Aspen area. Nonetheless it gets an S2- because of extremely groomed ski slopes you have to tackle for access and egress, and the fact that the trail is not maintained or groomed as the Owl Creek Trail is (see route 7.1.5). See chapter 10 for specific hut information. Do not confuse this footbridge with the major bridge you'll cross near the trailhead, known as the Benedict Bridge. “Given what we saw last spring, we are expecting more people in the backcountry than … The pool is the perfect temperature for a lengthy stay, and the view is hard to beat. Note that a variation of the above-mentioned traverse can provide an amazing day of skiing: Pick a time in late winter with low avalanche danger or a colder day in springtime. Read More . New Study Details Backcountry Risks Ahead of Pandemic Ski Season. Take care to climb back up to Richmond Ridge after you drop into the West Fork of Difficult Creek. If you feel feisty, once on the north side of the valley continue E parallel to Hunter Creek. Return via your ascent route, with glisse variations you eyed on the way up. You can also reach the top of the ski area via Little Annie Road (route 7.2.7) or Midnight Mine Road. This is skied on occasion and ends in some interesting terrain at the bottom. Just remember to look! To reach Richmond Ridge, either ride the Aspen Mountain gondola (a 1-ride ticket may be available), or ski up the Little Annie Road (see route 7.2.7). Some routes have changed and others will change; avalanche hazards may have expanded or new hazards may have formed since this website's publication. The summit of Aspen Mountain Ski Area (11,215 feet) is used as a trailhead for routes along Richmond Ridge. Do not continue up the main road; instead, take the trail to the hut (10,400 feet). But if you'd rather ski the backcountry with hundreds of people, now you know where to go. Climb rating: Harder skins Ski rating: Advanced Recommended seasons: Late winter or spring Starting elevation: 9,498 feet Summit elevation: 12,361 feet Elevation gain: 2,863 feet Round trip distance: 10 miles Day trip? The correct trailhead is neither signed nor distinct, but may be identified by a good view of Ski Hayden's summit. Continue another mile or so to an open meadow at the head of McFarlane Creek. Find deep powder stashes in Aspen's easily accessible backcountry terrain. Access this area from Government Trail gate. If the nordic tracks of the upper Roaring Fork Valley are Novice rated, then the Government Trail connecting Buttermilk and Snowmass Ski Areas makes Novice Plus. Once you're past the bridge and on the east side of Castle Creek Valley, ski up Express Creek Road as it makes a long southerly climbing traverse. Bluebird Backcountry is on the Continental Divide near Rabbit Ears Pass and is centrally located about 40 minutes from Kremmling and Steamboat Springs, Colorado. With a backcountry powder tour there are no lift lines, no hordes to elbow aside to get the freshies, and no hiking to get to the goods. The route in the description below is an extension of the Richmond Ridge tour covered earlier in this chapter. If the snow here is unstable, a rope belay would be a good idea. San Juan Heli-Skiing: For experienced skiers seeking backcountry terrain, this adventure offers a full day in the San Juan Mountains with 10,000 – 14,000 vertical feet of skiing. The Five Fingers rise to the west from here. Ski tracks descend from the top of Hayden Peak. Of course, there’s no rush to get back to civilization — Chris will head up whatever route includes the best runs for the day’s conditions. This is Aspen's backyard. Ajax. 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