5/22/16 – 5/23/16
Another season of snowboarding and splitboarding was making its transformation into the phase Colorado backcountry enthusiasts love, spring. With a (mostly) stable snowpack, longer days, and warmer temperatures, spring gives us the opportunity to pursue bigger lines that we may have avoided during the the mid-winter. This particular spring was blessed with an abundance of upslope snow storms, which filled in areas that may have previously been unrideable.
With some camping in mind, Pat “Perry” Johnson and I chose a zone not too far from home that holds access to some great terrain. Camping above treeline and having the ability to explore some new surroundings with little to no approach is always a real treat. After a bit of discourse we decided to venture above Wheeler Lakes Trail and find a spot well above treeline under Traver Peak.
With a fairly early start, Perry and I made quick work of the approach albeit a few difficulties. The initial hike in was around 1.5 miles on foot that involved navigating various bodies of water on the Wheeler Lakes trail. This provided some humorous moments with large packs for each of us. Once we made it to a point where skinning would be consistent we were able to directly approach our objective. A few mishaps with steep slopes and loose items on the pack certainly made the slog of a skin memorable to say the least. Above treeline we found an excellent location and set up our base camp.
After setting up camp we decided to practice some alpine rope skills on the various obstacles above camp. Once finished, we took a quick skin around the area and were able to have a fun run back into camp. Satisfied with a great day in the alpine, we settled in for the evening after making water and eating dinner.
The next day we decided to ride two different lines, Traver Peak above camp and a line off of the beginning of Mt. Democrat’s north ridge. Both lines rode well and we made it back to camp to pack up right as a snow storm moved in.
Once we had camp broken down we descended back to Wheeler Lakes trailhead. Thankfully, the descent was a bit easier than the initial approach and the weather treated us with sunny skies as we exited. Another successful splitboard camping trip was in the books for both of us.