Sunday, March 30, 2008

3/29/08 Cooper and Ruby Mountains

Cooper Mountain (12,782)
Ruby Mountain (13,277)
~9.8 miles/~3,600 vertical
~7hrs RT
Participants:Jeff and Allison Valliere, Dave and Emily Hale, Jeff and Jean Kunkle, Keith and Beth Bershader, Kevin Lund, Piper, Steve Nicholls, Steve Cassin, Sharon Adams, Dave Gibson, Carol Gerber, Scooby, Shep, Sierra and Denali (did I miss anybody? Hope not!).

Last week, Dave and I had such a great Spring day on nearby Santa Fe Peak and we were itching to come back and further explore the area. A few e-mails quickly saw this grow from a party of 4 or 5 to a party of 15! Sweet! A 14erworld Spring gathering/climb!

The group rendezvoused at the Peru Creek TH around 7:30am, geared up and we eventually started our way up the well packed trail around 8am. The pace was casual and we all enjoyed catching up with old friends and making new friends.Before long, we reached the turn for Chihuahua Gulch, put on our snowshoes and headed up on Dave’s track from his previous day’s climb up Grays and Torreys. When we came to the arrow Dave had stomped out the day before, we headed up the steep hillside to gain the SW ridge of Cooper. The going here was quite steep and provided ample opportunity to hone our wallowing skills. Hoot, Kunkle and I took turns breaking trail and eventually we gained bare ground.

Once on the ridge, I was a bit surprised at how far it was to the summit of Cooper. I was expecting an easy cruise, but the ridge was a bit more rugged than many of us were expecting and there were several false summits. Nothing too difficult, but the fresh snow on top of ice made things a bit interesting in spots and provided a few class 3 moves.The summit of Cooper was a complete whiteout, and the winds were increasing.

We followed Kevin down to the saddle and on to Ruby, which was quite a bit easier terrain than the initial ascent up Cooper. There were a few brief glimpses of the surrounding terrain and the remainder of the route up Ruby which fortunately looked pretty easy.As anticipated, the hike up Ruby was cake, but the increasing winds added a bit to the challenge. Once the entire group made the summit, we turned tail and boogied back down to the Ruby/Cooper saddle, where (inspired by Sarah T’s TR from last April), we got in some nice glissading/easy walking down the well consolidated S. facing snowfields, as avalanche conditions were rated as low.

We were all thankful to not have to retrace our steps back down the SW ridge of Cooper and were back down to the valley floor in no time flat. The walk out was quite enjoyable in what now seemed to be somewhat “Florida” like weather as Dave likes to say. As always it seemed twice as far walking out, but nobody seemed to mind.Despite the inclement weather up high, this was an amazing day with a great group of friends. I feel inclined to note how cohesive this group of 15 was. It was so cool how everyone stuck so close together and helped one another. All in all another great day out!


1 comment:

  1. Damn. That was quite a crew. Sorry to hear about your Ach. Plenty of time to heal up.