As winter is fast approaching in the mountains outside of Crested Butte, ski season and the opening of Crested Butte Mountain Resort is still a month away. So….instead of waiting for the small dustings in the mountains to add up to a skiable base, us guides have been seeking out the last vestiges of warm rock to climb on in local Taylor Canyon, or are more likely travelling to those areas that are still very much in the heart of warm fall weather, such as: The Black Canyon, Shelf Road, Indian Creek, and the Utah desert.
Closer to home, warm sunny days coupled with frigid nighttime temperatures have begun the melting and freezing cycle that has led to the beginnings of the short Crested Butte ice climbing season being upon us. This morning, Hutch DuBosque & I, were pleased to find one of the area classics “in”. Although the ice is a bit thin, it is still totally climbable and FUN !!!
Getting on this route has been a bit of an epic for me, although it is right out our backdoor. Never have the powers that be challenged my desire to be the “first one of the season” so much. After a scouting mission a week ageo, I knew forecasted cold temps earlier in the week would bring the climb into condition. Yesterday’s first solo mission attempt resulted in a flat tire, no cell service, snowstorms, and with no wheellock key to remove the wheel. This resulted in a 4 hour mini-epic that finally saw the wheel being removed by fellow CBMG Guide Steve Banks and I, via power grinder/saw, 2 broken scewdrivers, 3 broken chisels, and one bent pry bar.
This morning’s redemption attempt started off with another tire going flat upon arrival, that required high speed driving into town for some fix-a-flat, before being left again in the middle of nowhere. The third and final try, post fix-a-flat, proved successful, and my troubles deserved a second vistory lap, as the ice was about that good.
See things here aren’t as dead and boring as one might think in the off-season. Come enjoy some great alpine ice with Crested Butte Mountain Guides today….time is of the essence…we promise to get you there and back without any car trouble!
—Jayson Simons-Jones (CBMG Owner / Guide)