We hadn’t seen any new snow since Obamney (about a month) but wanted to make some low commitment turns. Shockingly, Nate and I had never been to Jones Pass. We don’t own sleds, and most of our friends don’t, so we usually avoid sledding areas. In midwinter Jones Pass is a mecca for Front Range snowmobiling, so when we’re in the area we usually head to Butler Gulch or Berthoud Pass instead. But, the lack of snow in the early season has kept the sleds at home and we were able to drive most of the way up the pass to about 11,700′.
The main run down from Jones Pass was surprisingly well covered so we poked around and found K-P slab on top of 1.5mm – 3mm facets with another crust layer in the facets. Perfect!
It was a little grabby in the breakable crust on the facets, so a few gymnastic moves were had:
The climb back up was extremely wallowy. We did some on-your-knees powergrovelling:
We hiked over to Point 12700 for another lap and got a nice view back at the first lap:
There was crusty old hardpack nearly up to the exact summit:
Once off the ridge, the main slope off of Point 12700 pitched up to around 33 degrees with an even crustier top:
And it mellowed out a little towards the bottom:
Overall, I was impressed with the accessibility, the lack of sleds (and other people), and the amount of coverage so long after the last storm in a dry early season. Unfortunately, the amount of faceting that has already occurred in the thin snowpack with cold weather is rather upsetting. Once the next big dump comes down, the two facets layers will probably make for some scary unsupportive weak layers.
We drove out near dusk after our noonish crust-fest and headed over to the 1860 Tavern for an 1860 cheesesteak, fish and chips, and some orange jello shots (Broncos game was playing). I like that place.