Ski Mountaineering

Blue Couloir
May 15th, 2004

Michael Seiffert

What’s the best way to start a ski trip? Well, perhaps tennis shoes and hiking on dry pavement don’t immediately come to mind, but such was the start of my provisional leadership trip to the Blue Couloir. Fifteen of us (Bahram Manahedgi, Ted Lenzie, Gil Estrada, Don Sparks, Barbara & Dave Sholle, Pat & Gerry Holleman, Keith Martin, Paul Harris, Fred Reed, Jim & Carmen Garvey, Lorene Samoska, and myself) started out at the Winter closure locked gate on Lake Mary Road. Plows had worked the road for the previous week, and the road was bare and dry, but still not open. After introductions and signing in we were about to head up the road when a large truck with gate access pulled up. For a few minutes we thought Bahram might negotiate a free ride for us in the back until the driver’s supervisor quashed our hopes. We hiked the road up through Coldwater Campground, then put on our skis for a nice tour up to Emerald Lake. We contoured around below the lake and had a rest break after a brief ascent. The snow was quite firm and somewhat suncupped. The day was partly cloudy and cool.

I had assurances from a ski bum in town that the snow quality improved above 10,000’, so on we went. The snow was still quite firm as we reached the bottom of the couloir, but generally of better quality. A few of us headed up to the top, while the rest decided to stop and begin the lunch festivities. After resting and eating, the sun came out and the snow softened nicely and we had a nice run down from the top. Bahram, Ted, and Gil deserve special mention; they had energy for a double serving of Blue Couloir. On the way back, we had a mellow run down through open terrain until tighter turns were needed through the trees. The walk back along the pavement gave us a chance to chat some more and get to know one another better.

This was really a great group of people to ski with—thank you everyone for a memorable trip.

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