Mid June is prime time to get into the Crested Butte backcountry and hone those mountaineering skills and steep skiing techniques on our area peaks.
On our day off, fellow guide Alex Banas and I woke up at a pretty civilized 6am and were out the door by 6:45am. We drove west of town, up Kebler Pass to the Ruby Range, one of the highest quality and accessible places near Crested Butte for skiing and Alpine climbing.
With peaks just above and just below 13,000ft, and consistently more snow throughout the winter, the skiing season extends well into summer.
While still carrying full avalanche rescue gear (beacon, shovel, probe), and trimmed down "alpine" climbing rack and rope, we made our way up the steep and narrow "Purple Ribbon" guarded by a beach ball size chockstone that had to be negotiated before pointing up perfect summer snow with crampons and ice axes. Once up the Ribbon we followed the fairly exposed but incredible "Purple Ridge". After a quick rappel, we summited Purple Peak.
With temperatures rising and snow becoming mushy and wet, we strapped our skis on our feet, and descended the S-Coulior on Purple's northeast face. The snow was consistently soft, and edgable, and with and occasional slurpee sluff racing by adding ambiance to the ski.
After a quick zip back to the truck, we were sitting on the tailgate, with shorts and flip flops enjoying a snow chilled beer before noon!
Looking west, a great view of the Purple Ribbon, and Mount Owen (left)
Alex taking a breather in the Ribbon.
Amazing ridge with Mount Owen front and center
short rappel off bolted anchor.
Looking down from the summit of the Purple Ridge