South Arapaho Peak - Skywalker Couloir
Skywalker Couloir was on Jeff and my wishlist for the season so when we'd heard that was in we decided to give it ago. Though Brian had been up it twice before we talked him into joining us.
We met at the trailhead about 5:15 and were hiking up the trail about 5:30. We reached the base of the couloir a little before 7:00 where we met up with several familiar people I'd hung out with on various mountain web sites and message boards - Doug Shaw and Wes Go.
After exchanging hellos we set off up the couloir. The snow was fairly hard and not very steep at the bottom and we cruised up the lower section. About halfway up it got a little bit steeper and our pace slowed. The top was pretty steep and the snow was very hard. Right before the top I deployed my second tool and was happy to have it. Although not necessary, it was nice to have an added, extra sense of security on the very hard, 60+ degree snow. We topped out into the sunshine about 9:00.
The weather forecast hadn't been that great, but as we topped out we couldn't find a cloud in the sky. Conditions looked optimal for a traverse over to North Arapaho Peak too. We had a quick snack and set off. The traverse was a lot easier than I expected - perhaps the snow covered a lot of the difficulties. Really the only two sections that even made us stop to think twice were the famous slab, and a steep snow chute where the snow was pretty crappy. Other than that the traverse was a piece of cake and we did it in about an hour and fifteen minutes.
We took another snack break on the summit of North Arapaho Peak before making the return trip. We arrived back on the summit of South Arapaho Peak at about noon. We managed to find a small snowfield to glissade down on the way back to the car. With a leisurely pace we made it back to the car at about 2:00pm.
Another fine day out in the hills.