ADVENTURE JOURNAL

Arkansas Peak (13,795ft)

A morning in the Ten Mile Range w/ Adam Moszynski


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Arkansas Peak (13,795ft)


Arkansas is one of the classic ski descents of Colorado. Its thousand foot couloir takes you from within throwing distance of the summit down its steep face. An intensely gripping line that would leave most skiers feeling a little puckered. The average pitch is well over 45 degrees with the upper half skiing at a continuous 50+ degrees. When caught in the right conditions, this line rivals many as one of the best couloirs in the state.


 

Starting above treeline from highway 91 adjacent to the Climax mine. Adam Moszynski tours out into the basin.

Starting above treeline from highway 91 adjacent to the Climax mine. Adam Moszynski tours out into the basin.


A nice fresh blanket of snow set the stage for a great tour as we left our truck at the trailhead next to the Climax Mine on Highway 91 outside of Copper Mountain, Colorado. The early morning light illuminated neighboring peaks as we moved through the flats toward our objective with ease and a little anxiousness. Knowing we had received a few inches of fresh snow at tree line left us thinking, just how much snow would be waiting for us up high? Would this relatively short, straightforward outing turn into something much more than we expected?


 

Continuing toward the Basin, Adam well in the lead.

Continuing toward the Basin, Adam well in the lead.

Breaking Trail in the early morning light.

Breaking Trail in the early morning light.

Incredible early morning light on the route to Arkansas.

Incredible early morning light on the route to Arkansas.

Breaking Trail. A fresh spring snow in the Ten Mile Range of Colorado.

Breaking Trail. A fresh spring snow in the Ten Mile Range of Colorado. Adam well in the lead.

With our line and the peak in sight, Adam continues to break trail.

With our line and the peak in sight, Adam continues to break trail.

We were taken away by the beauty of this zone. Photo by: Adam Moszynski

We were taken away by the beauty of this zone. Photo by: Adam Moszynski


I finally caught Adam at foot of Arkansas, ready to take over and break trail. The snow had certainly accumulated well in the upper aspects of the basin and we were ready for a more difficult climb.

It was nice to get ahead of Adam as it offered opportunities to take in the view from a different angle. Although Arkansas has one of the most straightforward approaches, the thought that you’re so close to a highway all but disappears as you take in the surrounding. This is another one of those places that takes you away.
 

Here you all but forget your in Colorado.


 

I worked my way toward the base of Arkansas in the new April snow. Photo by: Adam Moszynski

I worked my way toward the base of Arkansas in the new April snow. Photo by: Adam Moszynski

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Adam taking in the view.

Adam Moszynski beginning the climb toward the couloir. I took over the lead, breaking trail.

Adam Moszynski beginning the climb toward the couloir. I took over the lead, breaking trail.

I broke trail toward the start of the couloir. Steeping skinning in this area. Photo by: Adam Moszynski

I broke trail toward the start of the couloir. Steeping skinning in this area. Photo by: Adam Moszynski


It didn’t take long before the skin track began approaching 40+ degrees and the snow became deeper. Soft sloughs lined the bottom of the couloir, the natural shedding a good sign we’d see favorable conditions up high. We skinned for as long as we could, eventually opting to move faster by setting the booter.


 

Adam closing in on the couloir

Adam closing in on the couloir.

Things were getting pretty steep. Time to transition.

Things were getting pretty steep. Time to transition.

Adam took the lead, kicking steps in the deep snow as we slowly made our way up the couloir.

Adam took the lead, kicking steps in the deep snow as we slowly made our way up the couloir.

Early on in our climb, we were still smiling despite the steep, exhausting boot pack. Photo by: Adam Moszynski

Early on in our climb, we were still smiling despite the steep, exhausting boot pack. Photo by: Adam Moszynski

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This camera angle doesn’t even do the steepness of the last half the couloir justice. It was steep!

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Adam, all smiles, as he made kicking steeps up Arkansas look like walking a ladder.


One hundred fifty steps, then switch. Back and forth we climbed at a pretty steady pace.


I took over the climb. Photo by: Adam Moszynski

I took over the climb. Photo by: Adam Moszynski

Things got steep. Our slope reader maxed out at 50 degree. Photo by: Adam Moszynski

Things got steep. Our slope reader maxed out at 50 degree. Photo by: Adam Moszynski


Half way up the bootpack reached 50+ degrees. We were aware of the steepness of this couloir prior to jumping in, however, the fresh snow made it even more difficult as soft, loose snow easily fell from the lead climber to the guy on the bottom. Mainly me as Adam lead the climb us through the steepest section.
 

The new snow was exhausting.


 

Nearing the top.

Nearing the top.

50+ through this exhausting section below the cornice. Photo by: Adam Moszynski

50+ through this exhausting section below the cornice. Photo by: Adam Moszynski

Final moves before topping out on the couloir.

Final moves before topping out on the couloir.


The last bit to the top was exhausting and Adam lead the pitch with the slope well over 50 degrees. The aspect was wind loaded, making the climb even more dangerous.
 

Sometimes the safest thing is continue up. Heading down here was not an option.


 

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Around the cornice and up the last section to the summit. Adam lead the way and I followed behind, exhausted. Photo by: Adam Moszynski

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Stoked to make the summit! Photo by: Adam Moszynski

Summit Selfie, Arkansas  Peak (13,795ft)

Summit Selfie, Arkansas Peak (13,795ft)


Arkansas Peak (13,795ft)


Adam Moszynski on the summit of Arkansas Peak (13,795ft)

Adam Moszynski on the summit of Arkansas Peak (13,795ft)

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Incredible views of the adjacent mountains.

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The Sawatch Range.

Summit of Arkansas 13,795ft. Photo by: Adam Moszynski

Summit of Arkansas 13,795ft. Photo by: Adam Moszynski


Things were heating up and we didn’t spend much time on the summit. A few photos, rehydrating and fueling up for the descent. It was transition to skis and a tippy-toe line off the summit. A fresh foot+ kept rocks well camouflaged and we were careful to avoid anything that might send us to an early run down the face.


 

One last thought before dropping in off the summit.

One last thought before dropping in off the summit.

Adam Moszynski coming down off the summit, carefully avoiding the rocks hidden by the fresh foot of snow.

Adam Moszynski coming down off the summit, carefully avoiding the rocks hidden by the fresh foot of snow.


The ski from the summit was one of the better ones we’ve had so far this season. Coverage was good and the views were incredible. We could see straight back to the Climax Mine, Highway 91 and the trailhead. From the other side, a perfect view of the Sawatch Range and the continuable of the Ten Mile Range.


 

Dropping! Adam cutting the top and letting the new snow slough before our descent.

Dropping! Adam cutting the top and letting the new snow slough before our descent.

Just before dropping into the top of the Arkansas couloir. Photo by: Adam Moszynski

Just before dropping into the top of the Arkansas couloir. Photo by: Adam Moszynski

Maintaining control in the steep, funky snow at the top. No falling. Photo by: Adam Moszynski

Maintaining control in the steep, funky snow at the top. No falling. Photo by: Adam Moszynski


 Powder. No complaints for April in a low snow year. We’ll take it.


Steep jump turns in the 50+. Photo by: Adam Moszynski

Steep jump turns in the 50+. Photo by: Adam Moszynski

Ascend to Send. Photo by: Adam Moszynski

Ascend to Send. Photo by: Adam Moszynski

Adam Moszynski steep and deep on Arkansas Peak.

Adam Moszynski steep and deep on Arkansas Peak.

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Speed control and slough management, paramount in terrain as steep at this. Adam Moszynski demonstrates the proper technique.

Adam Moszynski finding those soft turns.

Adam Moszynski finding those soft turns.

Stoke. Our line from the top of Arkansas visible over my left shoulder. Photo by: Adam Moszynski

Stoked. Our line from the top of Arkansas visible over my left shoulder. Photo by: Adam Moszynski

Taking in our tracks as the incoming weather begins to engulf the peak.

Taking in our tracks as the incoming weather begins to engulf the peak.


An incredible descent. Mostly powder, a little sun affected, but mostly powder. The best spring turns I’ve had in the last two years and the most consistently steep line I’ve skied in Colorado.
 

Taking in the view of the white canvas that we were able to paint tracks on puts everything into perspective.


 

Skinning up toward our bonus couloir, Adam snapped this photo of me with Arkansas and our line over my left shoulder. Photo by: Adam Moszynski

Skinning up toward our bonus couloir, Adam snapped this photo of me with Arkansas and our tracks over my left shoulder. Photo by: Adam Moszynski

With our eyes on the incoming weather, we ascended for our second line of the day. Adam in the lead.

With our eyes on the incoming weather, we ascended for our second line of the day. Adam in the lead.


I was feeling pretty beat after Arkansas and it took a little convincing from Adam to get me siked to go for our second line of the day, a north facing couloir back to the truck. The weather was coming in and although we knew we still had time, after a quick fuel up it was back up and over.
 

We were ready for the second course.


 

Adam at the top of our second line.

Adam at the top of our second line.

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Making my way up for our second course. Photo by: Adam Moszynski

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The incredible backdrop always tempting us to sit and enjoy the view. Photo by: Adam Moszynski

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Ready for the second course. Photo by: Adam Moszynski


As the clouds rolled in, we reached the top of the our second line. Adam peered in, shouting back “It looks like it goes.” I smiled and continued upwards.


 

Taking in the view.

Taking in the view.

One last glimpse at the basin.

One last glimpse at the basin, still unaffected by the incoming weather.

We had to down climb a bit to get out of the wind shralped scree.

We had to down climb a bit to get out of the wind shralped scree.


Whether started to set in and we quickly down climbed the scree. The snow was dry, light and thankfully there was just enough to descend.


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Adam Moszynski avoiding the scree and scoring some soft north facing powder.

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Perfect turns with the truck in view.

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Our second course was a little thin, so we stuck to the perfect north facing powder on skiers right. Photo by: Adam Moszynski

April. Photo by: Adam Moszynski

April. Photo by: Adam Moszynski

Bonus couloir. Photo by: Adam Moszynski

Bonus couloir. Photo by: Adam Moszynski

Adam was stoked!

Adam was stoked! Our bonus couloir above his head.

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Back to the truck. Scattered showers in the area.

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Arkansas behind us. Another beautiful day in the books.

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Ascend to Send.

Couple well-deserved Slaughterhouse Lagers from the Roaring Fork Beer Company and it was back to Aspen.

Couple well-deserved Slaughterhouse Lagers from the Roaring Fork Beer Company and it was back to Aspen.


Truly, there is nothing like a challenging day in the mountains to push you both physically and mentally. Arkansas was certainly all that and more for me today. Looking forward to the next adventure.
 

Cheers!


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