Arapahoe Basin, CO, May 7th, 2005

I left early in the morning with Wendy, Mike, and Chris, for a May snowboarding trip to the last place open in CO: A-Basin.

I was here the weekend before, and wanted to hike the ridge (seen below), but the weather was bad. This Saturday had clearer weather, so I was determine to hike to the summit.

Check out the little "ants" climbing up the snowy path to the ridge.

Here's a close up.

The only way down was to take a double black trail, and I thought about leaving my board at the bottom, and hiking up and back, but realized that the slope, though super expert level, was a "less tiring" way down. So I decided I'd try my first double black diamond.

There were some helpful warning signs, saying, "you better be prepared, or else be crazy to go up here."

On the lift I asked Wendy if she wanted to hike the ridge, and she quickly volunteered to come along. It was a grueling walk up the snow path to the ridge, but we got to see the other side of the mountain, with partially clear skies. (scroll to the right)

Wendy looks a little weary midway through this tough hike at 13000'.

Next, the walk along the ridge was a little easier, cause the snow was more hard-packed on the rocks. The weather was getting cloudier.

We found ourselves going downhill a bit, on a slippery/icy stretch. The views started dissapearing as the clouds moved in.

After another climb, we reached the end of the line. Visibility was getting poor. And it started snowing.

Soon we were in a near whiteout, and facing a pretty steep trail. There was no way we could board down this part, so we did some sliding on our butts for a while, maneuvering the rocks and contending with the ice. It was tough to stop once we got going.

Eventually it became obvious that the board was of more use strapped to our feet, and used as a break. We banana-ed our way down the upper stretches.

On the way down, we ran into the other two Wendy clones that we let go 4 weeks ago at Winter Park. Good to see they ended up ok.

The going got easier as we made it towards the lift and met up with Chris and Mike. The weather cleared right away after we got down. Looking back at the mountain, we took the path on the left side of this picture.

As the weather cleared, we got some good views from the top of the lifts.

Pic taken on our last run of the day. Mike, Wendy, and Chris are ahead from left to right.

We left ~2:30pm, and got home to Fort Collin ~4:30. But the day would be far from over. During the day Mike and Chris filled us in on a lot of cool hikes and places to see in the area, and so with 3+ hours of sunlight left in the day, I was planning to fit in another adventure...

Stay tuned for part 2: The Pawnee Buttes.

Back to Colorado Home