James Peak Wilderness, Oct 27 2012

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October was almost gone and we had only had two significant snowfalls so far. I found calf deep snow in the JPW after Xena rolled through. I figured it was worth a shot to pack the skis and see what Elvira had left for us. Nate and Otina joined for this “exploratory” mission.

From the trailhead, the cover looked a little better from Elvira than it did after Xena:

Because the cover was only a few inches down low, we booted the South Boulder Creek trail:

The Forest Lakes trail didn’t look much better:

The snow depth gradually increased as we made our way above Arapaho Creek:

At the edge of the familiar meadow we took a good food break and decided to try our luck skinning. This would be the first skinning I’ve done since some time last spring:

We made it up to a known high point above a nice low-angle windloaded gully and pulled the skins off:

And slid gently between the trees:

It was pretty slow moving so we really had to work to wiggle some turns:

Otina didn’t seem to mind the wiggle-turn efforts:

We cut back towards the main area and found a nice steeper shot through some timber:

Otina dodges a branch:

And finds another nice shot:

With the cover as thin as it was, every little bridge was exposed which made for a little excitement:

The skiing pretty much sucked, it was hard work booting up to the deeper cover, the skinning over deadfall was miserable, but in the end we got a few good SOFT turns which made it all worth it. That and some Ned-Mess and fresh ale on the way home made for a beautiful day in the wilderness with good friends. Next time it might actually be good for more than a handful of turns!




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