Back into the Poudre canyon for one more romp. We have been very lucky to be able to crash at Jesse’s place whenever we need a spot in the area. Quite the spot.
Static and Richthofen are usually associated with the Colorado State Forest, but their peaks designate RMNP boundaries. These two peaks were also included on Glenn’s original list of 100 highest, so how could we refuse.
There are a few ways to access the peaks, mainly from Lake Agnes or Trail Ridge Road. Since the conditions and permitting allowed, we decided to snowmobile up to a pass on the RMNP boarder just above Michigan Lake (Snow Lake, America Lake) at roughly 11,000 feet.
Entering through the Colorado State Forest is extremely efficient and this area to the north east of Richthofen sees considerable snowmobile traffic in the winter. At the time, we were the only tracks above treeline. Be careful in the late season however as the Jeep trail up to Michigan Lakes is plowed at some point and creates a bit of an issue for sleds.
From the saddle between Static and a high point at 12, 018, the most efficient move was to boot along a fairly steep slope into a welcoming cirque where Lulu Creek begins.
We then booted up an impressive face in perfect corn to the mellow summit of Static. It was straight forward and we were on the summit in about an hour. From here, the south face of Static is pretty much good to go.
You’re looking at a 35 to 45 degree slope, sustained, for about a thousand feet to the bottom of Box Canyon.
With solid snow coverage, the ridge between Static and Richthofen provides 2nd class travel and is not skin-able. There are a few sections that provide big exposure and steep cliffs, but on average, this ridge is good to go for the skier with climbing experience.
From the summit of Richthofen, we were aware of 3 lines. If you head west, there is a large, open and mellow slope which hits in the 30 degree range. The other two lines, which are pretty much directly below you on a bit of a shoulder are a bit steeper and definitely tighter. Topo maps of the area are a bit unclear on where these lines may be, but once you are standing on the summit, the options should be easy to understand. Our particular line took us through a few tight chokes, some 50 degree slopes and eventually to one of the most pleasant lower sections we had experienced all season. Once you pop out of the final part of the couloir, you’ll be treated to some excellent low angle skiing. Do your best to stay skier’s left. When you eventually run out of momentum, you should be sitting under Thunder pass, where the RMNP boundary meets the State Forest boundary.
The final piece to the puzzle is to boot back up the pass, strap skis back on and ski down to the flatter sections of the Michigan Ditch. This is where the snowmobile comes back into play – Let it rip…