Hike Up Ski Down The Peak of Mt. Crested Butte
Until this year I had never skied down from the very top of Mt. Crested Butte. This year when my brother Rick was in town – we decided to make it our first run of the day. It was a very cool skiing experience.
Having been to the top of Mt. Crested Butte many times in the Summer – it is a different experience in the Winter. I had never even considered it – and the past 2 years there was not enough snow to cover all the rocks so it was closed. If you are comfortable skiing black runs – you have the skiing ability. If you are not comfortable with heights – you may be a bit scared hiking up in ski boots (we had one member of our party who was fine going up – but once his fear of heights got the better of him – he hiked back down and entered from below).
How to Get There: Take the Silver Queen lift up – then get on the High Lift T-Bar. Exit the High Lift and go straight – pass through the ropes (unless of course it is closed), and you will ski a small trail around to your right toward the peak. After a bit of traversing you will take off your skis and start the hike up. It takes about 20 minutes to hike up to the top of the peak. There should be steps cut into the snow from the previous skiers hiking up, and as you get closer to the top – there may be a bit of a fear factor. In your peripheral to the West you will see downtown Crested Butte and the golf course – and it does appear that if you slipped and fell and slid you could slide right off the mountain… at least this was a thought that entered my mind as I am not as comfortable hiking in ski boots as I would be with my skis on and a metal edge! The last 25 yards are a bit steep and skinny as you approach the top – especially the last 10 yards.
The Peak of Mt. Crested Butte – once on top you will be standing on a flat area about 20 feet in diameter and the views are spectacular. The day we made the trek was clear and warm – it was beautiful. There were also guys setting up the rando course for the next day – you can see two of them in the photo. We spent about 10 minutes on the top taking in the panorama of the surrounding mountains and then our thoughts drifted to how are we going to ski off this peak? We brought our skis with us to the top – but there really was not an entrance off the top. We hiked 10 yards below the peak and put our skis on. There is a large hard packed cornice with a drop of about 8 feet into steep but open terrain. Like many of the Extemes in Crested Butte getting in is the hardest part – it is similar to the drop into North Face depending on your line. I have to admit, my heart was pounding as I pushed off and dropped-in. It was exhilarating, and I did fine – we had nice steep snow and skied down and traversed into Peel to ski the remainder of the way down.
The round trip from the base of the Silver Queen is probably one hour since you will want to spend 10 minutes on the peak enjoying the awesome views!
People often ask me “what makes Crested Butte special?” Hiking to the top of the Peak is one of the many things. In Crested Butte the skiing is great, the scenery is awesome, the recreational activities and destination in the Gunnison Valley are endless, and the people are warm, friendly and real. It is hard to put into words, but this is one part of the charm of Crested Butte for visitors, locals and second homeowners. There are plenty of luxury homes and high-end ski-in / ski-out condos at the base area, but unlike some of the other ski resort towns in Colorado that have their glitsy roots in gold and silver mining – Crested Butte was as a coal mining town. In many ways the hard core character and friendly attitude of the early ranchers and miners has transcended time. Whether you are skiing extremes, hiking among the wildflowers, watching a rising trout, or sitting on a bench along Elk Avenue – you will feel it… that special Crested Butte feeling.
If you have an interest in Crested Butte Real Estate and would like to start a conversation about homes, condos or land in the Crested Butte area, call:
Chris Kopf, Previews® Property Specialist, Coldwell Banker Bighorn Realty
Phone: 970-209-5405 or firstname.lastname@example.org, http://chriskopf.com or Contact Chris
Author: Chris Kopf