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Colden Grand Traverse april 15 2013

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  • Colden Grand Traverse april 15 2013

    What a day!, I have dream of exploring the south-west && west face of Colden for a while.

    Exploration will be the name of the game for this outing.

    Perfect bluebird sky, the whole route was mostly soft ice buried under an inch or two of snow, the crust was super strong, what can you ask for more.

    The idea was to start at the bottom of the southwest ramp or Zucchini slide, which I have climbed previously with Mudrat. In fact that was the first outing we did together, and his spirit was with me for this magnificient adventure.

    I am sure he would have liked to share it with me.

    So I decided to climbed the bottom of the SW ramp among the steepest ice and then traverse leftward toward avy lake and the Bottle Of Wine slide.

    After that I will climb the Bottle Of Wine (some part actually, I avoid the real crux, you will see why later), and then go toward my left again to climb the upper part of the Rocket couloir and finally the upper part of the Colden slide, which is the slide immediately right of the Tdike and on to the summit of Colden.

    The route end at the base of the upper part of the Bottle Of Wine

    The BW to the base of the Zucchini was so easy the crust was extremely strong, when I reach the snow cone at the base of the route, I decided to put my crampons since the snowshoes will not bite enough in the hard snow/soft ice.

    Start of route

    Lake Colden as seen from SW ramp route

    My partner of the day

    I climbed an easy ramp toward the steepest section, at the top I would traverse toward my left and then enter in a new found world.

    New found world, the beginning of the exploration...

    Looking up first slide immediately left of SW ramp

    The traverse consist mainly of traversing toward my left, sometimes I had to climb down a little bit, it went very quickly, the conditions were perfect.

    After about 30 minutes I was near the "Bottle of Wine".

    Finally the Bottle of Wine is reached.

    TR will continue.
    8000m 0/14

  • #2
    I am now at the "Bottle of Wine" this slide is fairly steep, and I would also found a little bit later, that there was not ice to be found everywhere under the snow cover.

    The Bottle of Wine start very steeply above the southern end of Avy lake, and when I studied it on my approach, I have decided that it would be better to continue and approach it from the traverse.

    The Bottle of Wine and its steep start as seen from AVY lake.

    Section climbed on the Bottle of Wine

    As I start to climb this section, I soon reach an area with no ice, since it was covered with snow, I could not determine that in advance, the way I found out was that I broke teeth of the ice axe blade......

    From now on , I would have no purchase in the ice if the tickness was less than 1 inch.

    At that moment I decided to turn toward my right to go where I knew there would be more ice.

    Looking across Bottle of Wine

    The upper part of this slide is barred by a headwall, that I decided to avoid entirely, by climbing the the upper part of the slide to its right.

    The headwall barring the way to the upper part of the mountain

    This is where I have found the crux of the route, traversing on very thin ice (less than an inch), with crampons front point scraping the rock..... bags of fun especially with 300 feet of empty air behind you.

    Little break before the crux

    The Crux

    Finally , I reached the slide that will allow me to get past the headwall, at that moment snow was sloughing down the route. I felt a bit apprehensive about the conditions, thank god there was only an inch or two of snow over the ice.

    This came down right in front of me

    I was able to climbed the left side of the slide on fairly steep ground to reach the base of the headwall.

    Under the headwall, Whiteface in the background

    After some climbing , I was able to BW toward my left in order to reach the base of the upper part of the Bottle of Wine.

    At that point most of the difficulties where behind me and it was a long climb toward the summit of the Bottle Of Wine.

    Last part of Bottle of Wine, Colden summit still a 1000 feet higher.

    So I zig-zag my way up, until I reach the top of this section and then move toward my left to reach the upper part of the rocket couloir.

    TR continue next
    8000m 0/14


    • #3
      Looks like an awesome day and route!


      • #4
        Now I am on the Rocket Couloir, I just had to follow it until I reach the last part of the Colden slide.

        My friend of the day as seen from Rocket couloir

        Looking up the Rocket couloir

        Now I have reach the Colden slide and the view was incredible

        Route followed, from top of Bottle of Wine

        The summit at last was reach after spending 3.5 hrs climbing the route.

        Extraordinary day in the mountain.

        Summit rock on Colden
        8000m 0/14


        • #5
          WHOA! Amazing! Imaginative, gutsy solo trip. What a day that must have been. Did you talk with your friend and did he answer you back?


          • #6
            Awesome NP! Yeah, gotta get into that area a bit more. I thought it looked nice when Neil and I reached s. side of Lake Colden. Looks like the West Ramp was fat. Your route was perfect and gave you a nice view of those ledges I've been so curious about. Love the perspective on the pictures while climbing and the one of the ledge w/ Whiteface! Go happy you finally nailed that!
            May your ambition for the goal allow you to be a student of the journey.



            • #7
              Wow! Thanks for sharing your adventure! That was quite a 'grand tour of slides'!

              Many thanks for the annotated photos! Slides remind me of constellations. Unless you see it clearly defined in a photo or diagram you're unlikely to find it by its so-called "descriptive name"!

              Draco, it's a dragon, look for a dragon in the sky. The Rocket, look for a rocket on the slope. Uh-huh. ?!?
              Looking for Views!


              • #8
                Ouch! Looks like I missed out on an amazing day NP!

                Congrats on another great outing.


                • #9
                  Beautiful pictures and route! You uncorked a bottle of fine wine!


                  • #10
                    Thanks to all of you who took the time to read , this rather boring narrative....

                    There is a saying that every pictures tells a story, admitedly, the pics are better than my story on this one.

                    For those of you who think that I have conceived the name "Bottle of Wine", "Rocket couloir", well I took this info from this site


                    @ensonik, I have told you that winter was not over, yet.....

                    For those of you who think winter end on march 20th, my answer , is go play in the mountain.

                    Presently, I am thinking of one last project for next WE, hopefully, with another cycle of freeze/thaw, that project will materialize.

                    @Neil, yes , I have a bit of imagination and I use it at will.

                    @Mudrat, The ledge below the headwall goes very far away to the left of where I took the PIC, I was tempted to take more pics (undoubtedly, would have made better one), but I was concerned with the effect of sun on the conditions. So I hurried up to climb the last part of steep slide before everything would fall on me.

                    @Krummholz and SoloJoe, your adventures help me conceived new ones, thanks for sharing yours with me on this forum.

                    @TBOss, maybe another day we will meet in the mountain.

                    Hopefully next tr will be more interesting to read than this one, but the adventure I had was absolutely SUPERB.

                    Enjoy the rest of Winter while it is still with us.
                    8000m 0/14


                    • #11
                      Bravo! I felt like I was right there with you
                      "Now he walks in quiet solitude the forest and the streams
                      Seeking grace in every step he takes
                      His sight has turned inside himself to try and understand
                      The serenity of a clear blue mountain lake" -John Denver


                      • #12
                        Thanks NP! That was a fun read, especially with the route drawn in like that and coordinated with the text. Glad you had an amazing day and came out safe at the other end!


                        • #13
                          Very well done! First, for actually negotiating the route and, second, for bringing it to us so vividly! Incredible journey!
                          Limped thru the Northeast 115...


                          • #14
                            Pictures speak volumes. Your TR was anything but boring.


                            • #15
                              Thanks to all of you who read this post, that day was NOT boring.

                              Hopefully there is still some snow left this WE on the steeper face, I might go see for something.

                              BTW, I have climbed Gothics last Sunday and there is still LOTS of snow starting at around 3500 feet in the shade, definitely snowshoes are mandatory, if you do not want todo like those who post hole Beaver Meadows trail with hole up to 3-4 feet deep some places.
                              8000m 0/14