Comanche

ski, skiing, rmnp, colorado, winter, national park, rocky mountain national park, bear lake, alpine, trail ridge road, front range, osprey, dynafit, zeal, usa, america, snow, cold,The first time we encountered George, we heard him first. The nasally whine of an early 90s snowmobile throttled to its limit ripping down a well worn path somewhere off in the forest resonated as an unnatural and unsettling presence as we had previously been under the impression that we were completely alone. We made peace with him quickly as he was a very relaxed soul. He ended up giving us some very useful beta and inviting us back to the area. It would be a month before we were able to get back to Comanche to ski, but upon our return, we bumped into George again. This time he knew us on sight and seemed genuinely surprised that we had returned. We made it a point to ask for permission to cross through his land to access the peak and he was more than willing to help out. By doing so, we shaved of a considerable amount of time and were grateful for George’s blessing.

Most of this adventure starts at the beginning of FS road 156 (Long Draw Road). We found the first part of this road to be impassibly covered in early season snow and much the same at the end of March. George mentioned the road is plowed April 1. We opted for snowmobiles for a lot of the approach up the road to Hour Glass Res. where the ascent on skis and skins begins. The area was very steep and the trees were tight. Not a novice approach by any means and for the most part, we blazed our own trail. 

ski, skiing, rmnp, colorado, winter, national park, rocky mountain national park, bear lake, alpine, trail ridge road, front range, osprey, dynafit, zeal, usa, america, snow, cold,

We emerged at treeline and were able to continue the skin up the west face of Comanche to a false summit. The approach was straightforward and we were able to keep the skis on for most of the way. Right below the false summit, we encountered a steeper snowfield and decided to boot the rest of the way up to a long, flat ridge. We followed the ridge toward a rocky spire and eventually to the summit, which is officially marked with a carin. The summit of this peak and the ridge leading to it are very mellow and not technical at all. Were it not for the 60 mph sustained winds, this would have been a pleasant outing on the park’s most northern peak. 

IMG_4287

ski, skiing, rmnp, colorado, winter, national park, rocky mountain national park, bear lake, alpine, trail ridge road, front range, osprey, dynafit, zeal, usa, america, snow, cold,

I found myself repeating that last sentence a lot as we pushed for the summit of Comanche.

ski, skiing, rmnp, colorado, winter, national park, rocky mountain national park, bear lake, alpine, trail ridge road, front range, osprey, dynafit, zeal, usa, america, snow, cold,

ski, skiing, rmnp, colorado, winter, national park, rocky mountain national park, bear lake, alpine, trail ridge road, front range, osprey, dynafit, zeal, usa, america, snow, cold,

We touched the summit and made our way back along the flat ridge to the first snowfield, clicked in and began the descent. This ski, while enjoyable in spots, puts the skier into undesirable terrain at times. You will find yourself sidestepping sharp rocks and bare spots, but if you are looking for a bit of untouched skiing and an adventurous approach, this peak is for you.

ski, skiing, rmnp, colorado, winter, national park, rocky mountain national park, bear lake, alpine, trail ridge road, front range, osprey, dynafit, zeal, usa, america, snow, cold,

ski, skiing, rmnp, colorado, winter, national park, rocky mountain national park, bear lake, alpine, trail ridge road, front range, osprey, dynafit, zeal, usa, america, snow, cold,

ski, skiing, rmnp, colorado, winter, national park, rocky mountain national park, bear lake, alpine, trail ridge road, front range, osprey, dynafit, zeal, usa, america, snow, cold,

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