Backcountry Skiing in Colorado

Skiing and Hiking in the Colorado Backcountry

Mt. Elbert (14,433′), The Top of Colorado!


On May 28th Jon Jay and I set out for an early morning assault toward a thin Box Creek Cirque on Mt. Elbert.  I climbed Mt. Massive over 5 years ago and have wanted to get after Elbert for a while now.  However, I figured if I was going to climb it, I’d rather get a good ski in as well.  I’d just been waiting for the right time and Jon was down for the trip… it was on!

It was much cooler than it had been weeks prior which allowed Jon and I to take our time reaching the summit.  This was a good thing considering we were both pretty beat from previous days events.  Jon had toured about 3500 vertical feet and rode his bike 13 miles the day before, whereas I had just finished moving 17 tons of rock at home.  Needless to say we were fine taking our time!

After a quick ascent we found ourselves departing from the trail and traversing the ridge towards the Box Creek Cirque.  The plan was to climb the cirque and then stash our skis while we climbed to the top.  We were almost certain there would not be continuous snow from the summit and once we saw how thin the cirque was we knew our assumption was correct.

Mt Massive poses in the backdrop as Jon traverses the ridge

Box Creek Cirque looking thin

After a fun snow climb we stashed the skis according to plan and regained the North Summit Trail.  After a short climb we were standing on the summit enjoying the usual awesome 14er views!

Jon pushes towards the summit

Summit Shot

After a short downclimb we were back to our skis and ready to get some turns.  The snow had softened nicely and we were pretty excited to get a ski in.  We had to connect the dots a bit but overall it was a really great descent.  There was a small crux in the middle as we entered an adjascent couloir from where we started.  From here the couloir steepened , tightened and became super fun! I’m pumped Jon joined me for this one and I’m even more pumped we were able to ski Elbert before all the snow melted out.  Enjoy the video!

Jon skiing the steeps

Ascent/Descent route

Author: Collin Tilbe

I'm a Husband and a father. I love food, travel and fitness. My mission in life is "To be free to live life on my terms, while providing value and to kindness to others."

3 thoughts on “Mt. Elbert (14,433′), The Top of Colorado!

  1. Hey dude- I can dig it! Can I reblog this next week?

  2. Reblogged this on Jon Jay's Travels and commented:
    I skied this line back in 2009 with Jenny. I didn’t really take any pictures the second time around, so I’ll point you to Collin’s well-written post about our Memorial Day Mission.

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