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6/14/2003

"The unique craggy summit towers set Citadel apart from its more-rounded
neighbors, which were covered over and smoothed by Pleistocene glaciers.
Citadelís summit remained a tiny island above the ice and escaped this
grinding fate." - Front Range Descents

All season long, from many vantages on many days we've looked at this and
wondered; wanting:

http://back-pack.org/ninja/PM/uploads/images/duphphy_-_wanting.jpg

There it is towering far in front of me; "Citadel", aka "Snoopy". If you
take a good look from just the right angle, it looks like "that stupid
beagle" laying on his back and snoozing on top of his house.

http://back-pack.org/ninja/PM/uploads/images/b-low_-_s2.jpg

Thanks to some fine research by Eric, this one is now ours. Snoopy's Collar.

We hiked Dry Gulch for about an hour to get to the snow, taking our time
surrounded by scenery out of a Tolkien story.

In a green valley between the snowy mountains, we saw blooming wildflowers,
evergreen trees and old avalanche debris. Gurgling streams one after
another. Mud. Lush meadows of green. The contsant white noise soothing from
a roaring brook nearby. Bright blue sky. Brilliant sun. Glistening snow
sprawling from sharp peaks and ridgelines. Red rock colored white with
ribbons and fields of backcountry dreams. For every run I've worked for
this year I've seen fifty jewels surrounding it. This is the middle of
_June_. Didn't somebody recently say "Colorado my ssa!"???? :rolleyes:

We drove 15 minutes to the start of this hike. In the middle of June.

http://back-pack.org/ninja/PM/uploads/images/duphphy_-_aa.jpg

The skinning lasted for who knows how long, I forget because it was a
matter of essence, not time.

http://back-pack.org/ninja/PM/uploads/images/b-low_-_up-4.jpg

http://back-pack.org/ninja/PM/uploads/images/duphphy_-_ac.jpg

All three of us had cameras and we exploited it with over 150 pictures. The
best of those were considered and many that don't make it have high
quality, show amazing alternative backcountry lines and are stored forever
only for us to study. Maybe someday you'll see them when we ski some more
of this stuff.

After some change in the length of our shadows, we came upon a point from
which skins were no longer useful. The snow ran out for awhile and so began
the easy scramble over rocks, dirt, and grass. We saw evdidence of high
country beasts all around as the only signs of life in what we perceived to
be a utopian world. Our rock Garden of Eden.

For ever often we stopped and smelled the roses - the million dollar views
of nothing but pristine beauty off in every direction:

http://back-pack.org/ninja/PM/uploads/images/duphphy_-_ad.jpg

Not far from there, we encountered a group of glissaders who'd bootpacked
up our line and came down another side. They reported that the snow was
quite good and our 40 degree chute was in prime condition to ski. We came
upon the snow again, and were running hot with anticipation on the final
aproach. Skirting along the Citadel, nearing the pre-fabricated boot ladder
up Snoopy's Collar.

http://back-pack.org/ninja/PM/uploads/images/duphphy_-_ae.jpg

http://back-pack.org/ninja/PM/uploads/images/duphphy_-_af.jpg

http://back-pack.org/ninja/PM/uploads/images/b-low_-_up-9.jpg

http://back-pack.org/ninja/PM/uploads/images/duphphy_-_ag.jpg

We'd anticipated a challenging climb up the Collar, but having a pre-made
set of steps to take made it a steep walk in the park. We sat up there
beneath Snoopy's chin for a while, blown away by all that  surrounded us
near and far. When on the top of Snoopy's Collar for instance, you're at
the top of two teasing couloirs on opposite sides of the mountain. Choices,
choices...

http://back-pack.org/ninja/PM/uploads/images/b-low_-_top.jpg

We used to stare at this thing from afar with intense curiousity. Now we're
on top of it basking in the sunshine on a gorgeous afternoon. A great day
for skiing. We stayed there for a bit but before long the urge to ski was
too much to resist. It was Eric who embarked first:

http://back-pack.org/ninja/PM/uploads/images/duphphy_-_ba.jpg

http://back-pack.org/ninja/PM/uploads/images/duphphy_-_bb.jpg

http://back-pack.org/ninja/PM/uploads/images/duphphy_-_bc.jpg


Next was Miriam:

http://back-pack.org/ninja/PM/uploads/images/duphphy_-_sa.jpg

http://back-pack.org/ninja/PM/uploads/images/duphphy_-_sb.jpg

http://back-pack.org/ninja/PM/uploads/images/b-low_-_mc-1.jpg

http://back-pack.org/ninja/PM/uploads/images/b-low_-_mc-3.jpg

Then it was my turn:

http://back-pack.org/ninja/PM/uploads/images/duphphy_-_B-low_-_ma-1.jpg

http://back-pack.org/ninja/PM/uploads/images/duphphy_-_db.jpg

http://back-pack.org/ninja/PM/uploads/images/b-low_-_ma-3.jpg


Afterwards on the flats, having absolutely screamed down a slope of the
smoothest creamiest snow possible; we sat and celebrated. Smoke 'em if you
got 'em! Mir's altimeter registered the run at 980 vertical feet. Every
inch of it was sheer perfection. Conquering a run like this after you've
stared at it for months on end is a satisfying reward. Very, _very_
satisfying!

http://back-pack.org/ninja/PM/uploads/images/duphphy_-_after.jpg

For giggles and to return to Dry Gulch, we ascended to another ridge and
skied down the other side. The snow wasn't bad here either ;)

http://back-pack.org/ninja/PM/uploads/images/b-low_-_trx.jpg

From there we skied out on a very mellow pitch; the kind you just coast
straight down with an ear to ear smile, a sense of accomplishment and a
cool breeze in your face. The pitch became steep again after a while and
the snow became a shrinking sliver of white that we skied to the max -
about 500' vertical above our cars. Total vert skied was a little more than
2000 feet of corn. Not a bad tour for something so close to home. :)

At the bottom we indulged in some PBR's kept cool by the running mountain
stream next to the parking area.

Here's to whatever comes next...

Cheers!

mpd

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