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 Post subject: TR - Platte Gulch, Clinton Peak, Mt Democrat
PostPosted: Sun Jun 10, 2007 10:51 pm 
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Joined: Tue Apr 03, 2007 6:43 pm
Posts: 395
Location: Seattle
Dates: 6 - 9 June 2007
Basecamp: Platte Gulch @ 11,700 feet
Peaks: Clinton Peak (13,857) and Mt Democrat (14,148)
Riders: Kjkrow and Brandon

We wanted to do a 3-night trip, with the Blue Lake area of Indian Peaks the original thought. After checking permits and such, it turns out you can only camp in that area from Nov to the end of April. With the IPW out for a high base camp, I started digging through all of my old pictures and suggested Platte Gulch in the Mosquito Range. From a high camp, Democrat, Traver, McNamee, and Clinton would all be within easy striking distance. The food was bought and gear was packed ...

Wednesday

The forecast for Wednesday and Thursday was not terribly optimistic with snow and a high wind advisory, but we decided to press, sleeping in the car on Wednesday night if we felt conditions warranted it. Instead, we were treated to a mix of rain and snow at Magnolia Mill with little wind.
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The hike up the road went quickly, and we settled on a semi-sheltered camp spot around 11,700.
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After we set up camp and while cooking dinner, the wind started to pick up. It was full on winter, and while the wind probably didn't exceed 30 mph where we were, it was ripping up high, and knocking down trees and killing power in Frisco. We spent the next 14 hours in the tent.
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Thursday

Thursday was much the same weather wise, only clearing in the very late evening. With hopes it might clear, we set out around noon in the general direction of the basin between Traver and Clinton. After topping out on a headwall above the lake, we called it quits, content to make two laps for about 700-800 feet of June powder skiing.

Brandon:
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Friday

Alarm set for just before 7AM, and sun already on the tent. The weather had finally cleared, leaving fresh snow at higher elevations. After breakfast and gearing up, we headed for Clinton and a couloir I had spied from Lincoln and Democrat. We climbed Thursday's headwall and continued up the basin. Skinning below Clinton.
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My camera batteries then crapped out from some mysterious reason, and were finally replaced on the summit of Clinton. We skiied down the east ridge until running out of snow . . .
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Then ridge walked up to the start of the couloir. Looking down.
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We cut off some cornice to see how it would react. Lots of small sluffing from quickly baking fresh wet snow, but we both felt comfortable with the situation. Dropping in:
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Brandon:
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Our couloir:
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Then a short walk to being able to ski back to the Wheeler Lake road, plus some grass skiing.
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Looking back up from camp at the lower headwall and top of the couloir:
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We spend the rest of the day appreciating the change in weather and relaxing for Saturday.

Saturday

Knowing we skiied Clinton a little too late, and that Democrat would be a harder climb, the alarm went off at 5:50 and we were on the move by 6:45. The objective:
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After bushwacking down the creek, we were able to skin up to the base of the face.
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We traded skins for crampons and axes and headed up towards the Cameron Democrat saddle.
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The climb was very enjoyable, with a nice mix of exposure, route finding, steep snow, and a little bit of rock and scrambling. When the snow ran out, it was a talus scramble to the ridge, and then on trail to the summit. Alone on top, we geared up and talked through the line down the North Face. Then it was off for the best turns of the year on fresh snow and corn down lower.

Brandon:
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Kjkrow:
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Not sure what I'm doing here:
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I had looked up the exit couloir on the climb and it looked tight but feasible. Turns out it was a little tighter than I thought.
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Hmm, I don't fit here:
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Tracks, with Brandon skiing out the apron:
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Packing up at camp:
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Brandon got tired of bushwhacking past puddles and such:
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The trip was fantastic, with a perfect mix of everything, even the winter weather and June powder. The couloir off of Clinton was super fun, but couldn't match Democrat's North Face, easily our best turns of the year. After the slog back down the road to the car, in which we passed some 4-wheelers headed in the same direction, we gorged at the South Park Saloon in Alma.

Thanks HikeforTurns for the shot from Wheeler Peak:
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- Kyle

"Oh man, that's like releasing a pack of wild baboons onto a keg of Icehouse next to a tied-up and gagged Lindsay Lohan." - Luca Brasi on TGR


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jun 11, 2007 7:33 am 
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Joined: Wed Nov 17, 2004 11:42 am
Posts: 2387
Location: California
Niiiice. June powder. Way to go. Thanks for posting.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jun 11, 2007 8:36 am 
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Joined: Fri Feb 17, 2006 10:10 am
Posts: 1173
Location: Denver
Looks like a fun trip! At least you came prepared for tent city. Nice looking turns for June.

btw the photo was taken from Wheeler.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jun 11, 2007 9:27 am 
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Joined: Mon Oct 09, 2006 8:22 pm
Posts: 296
Location: Switzerland
Nice outing!

Can't complain about June powder.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jun 11, 2007 1:58 pm 
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Joined: Tue Apr 03, 2007 6:43 pm
Posts: 395
Location: Seattle
HikeforTurns wrote:
btw the photo was taken from Wheeler.


Sorry about that, it's corrected. I was thinking with your early start time, we would have skiied after you rode Wheeler, but before Quandary.

_________________
- Kyle

"Oh man, that's like releasing a pack of wild baboons onto a keg of Icehouse next to a tied-up and gagged Lindsay Lohan." - Luca Brasi on TGR


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jun 11, 2007 2:39 pm 
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Joined: Fri Feb 17, 2006 10:10 am
Posts: 1173
Location: Denver
OOps. Im an idiot, you are correct, it was taken from Quandary at 11:43am.

Sorry about that! :oops:


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jun 12, 2007 5:16 pm 
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Joined: Wed Oct 06, 2004 10:57 pm
Posts: 4938
Location: California
Looks great man! Gotta love when the weather changes for the better. 8)


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