Cirrus

Mount Cirrus is remote. Even in the summer, no real trail goes to the summit. Slopes are guarded by steep loose talus. It only sees a handful of summits each summer if that and most come from people traversing the ridge from another peak.

It was the worst start to a season that anyone in Colorado can remember. The southern part of the state was at 20% of normal snowpack and high winds blasted the park on the regular stripping the snow off the flanks of the peaks. Only one zone was doing okay because it was so far north it seemed to be getting clipped by some of the storms that Jackson hole was getting, everywhere else was just too far south of the jet stream. It was time to go back into the heart of the Never Summers.

I decided the safest option was to use the same approach I used the previous season to access Lead Mountain. The approach was as sporty as ever and required a mission just to put in the ten-mile trench to Silver Creek TH. Almost a week passed by and a few small storms left the area with perfect coverage and a frozen trench that allowed us to make quick time on the ten-mile approach to the summer trailhead. Beyond this was dangerous and required careful terrain management as we traversed under huge avy slopes. Eventually, we gained the ridge after skinning up the big bowl below the striking west face of Cirrus. From here the route we decided on was booting straight up the west ridge. It was a suffer fest on loose snow covered blackhole talus all the way to the summit. Eventually, the summit was attained and a perfect summit ski descent awaited us.

Off the top, the line went down sastrugi strips until we arrived at a steep rollover on the west face. The line went all the way to the valley floor but would require us skinning back up a ways to eventually gain the ridge into a beautiful bowl that would take us back to the TH. We worked as a team and got it done.

What an incredible day in the heart of the never summers. The views were divine and we watched a family of bighorn sheep hang out on the saddle between Howard and Cirrus. They never seemed concerned with our presence. what a beautiful animal and the last time we saw them was two years ago on Nimbus and Cumulus. Clearly, they call the Never Summers home. The remoteness offers them peace and safety just a few human encounters through the year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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