Ouzel has been on our minds for a while now and, knowing Wild Basin, we knew we were going to have a slog of an approach. Wild Basin did not disappoint.
The Wild Basin TH can be accessed from Colorado Route 7 between Allenspark and Meeker, the town. You’ll take a dirt road to the ranger station and head out from there. There are several winter closures on this road you’ll want to be careful of.
Once on trail, Copeland Falls is at .3 miles, and Ouzel falls lies at 2.7 miles. Remember, All Stock Except Llamas Prohibited…
Our approach for this peak was broken down into two parts. We hiked in to a primitive camp site a few miles and set up camp for the night.
Our approach was smooth and methodical. The first XX miles of this trail is well maintained and wide enough to accommodate our packs with boots hanging off the side and the occasional hikers. They gave us the classic once over and inquired as to our objectives, already fairly sure of the answer.
Yes, this is very early in the season, and a slow season at that. Porzak had been eyeing the line for some time and concluded that the north face would hold stable snow.
We maintained a conversational pace as we were looking forward to a solid sleep.
The morning held cloud cover, but barely a breeze as we were fairly exposed to the basin at times. Ouzel will continue to loom in front of you for most of this approach, especially as you pass through some really dynamic tundra and portions of fallen pine. We made camp and set our tents up in a well groomed spot which overlooked the basin.
In the morning, we stuck with trail runners for the hike to snow line. There are a few carins once you leave camp, but the main obstacle to navigation is a small 4th class rock step and a few choosy sections. You will come to Pipit lake. From this lake there are two clear lines. The first is a clean couloir to your left (the entrance is hidden), the second is a series of options on the north east aspect of the ridge between Ouzel and Isolation.
The skiing was surprisingly solid for such an early season mission. We had very cold temps over night which gave a good texture to the snow. The upper section of this line is much steeper than the lower part and the initial drop at the very top can be narrow.