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The Redline

December 15, 2009 Classics, Ski 6 Comments

Michael Barton about to drop into Champion Gulch. Courtesy of Mountain Goat Ski Guides

Michael Barton about to drop into Champion Gulch. Courtesy of Mountain Goat Ski Guides

Michael Barton of Mountain Goat Ski Guides in Silverton offers up this classic route off Red Mountain Pass. It’s more of an early-spring route than a midwinter tour, but now you can put it on the hit list. How good is this route? Says Barton: It’s out of my permit boundary, so I don’t even guide it, but it’s one of the best.” Here’s his description:

Length: 7 to 9 miles
Elevation gain: 3,500 feet
Elevation drop: 4,700 feet
Season: Best bet is late March or early April, as you need both stable snow and good coverage down to 9,800 feet.
Shuttle: Stash one car at the south end of Ironton Park, where Corkscrew Gulch meets Red Mountain Creek, or plan to hitch at the end of the day.
Map: Ironton Quadrangle

Tour highlights: Skin on southies, ski on northies; more skiing than skinning; views of Silverton Mountain; neat mining buildings and waterfalls.

Tour hazards: Massive avalanches, cornices, remoteness, sunburn, abandoned mines, nasty death-trap ravines.

Route: Start at the summit of Red Mountain Pass, and head east and then south up San Juan County Road 14 for the first mile. When this road turns abruptly south toward the St. Paul ski lodge, proceed northeast, aiming for an ascent of Red Mountain No. 3. The 12,890-foot peak is visible from this junction and has radio equipment towers on top. The best ascent is from the south side.

Champion Gulch, the first of three bowls on the full Redline tour. Courtesy of Mountain Goat Ski Guides

Champion Gulch, the first of three bowls on the full Redline tour. Courtesy of Mountain Goat Ski Guides

Ski north from the summit into Champion Gulch. If you are tired, escape is possible down Champion Gulch, staying skiers’ left out of the ravine. If you have it in you to go big, proceed up the southwest side of Peak 12,596′, along the ridge between Red Mountain No. 3 and No. 2. Ski northeast from this summit into Corkscrew Gulch. Now skin up the southwest side of Red Mountain No. 1. From the 12,529-foot summit, ski northeast again into Gray Copper Gulch.

Descend Gray Copper on skier’s left of the creek until you’re past Gray Copper Falls, then move across the creek and stay on the right or north side of Gray Copper Creek all the way down. You’ll eventually hit a mining road that leads out to the Ironton Park cross country-skiing area and a large mining reclamation project.

Currently there are "6 comments" on this Article:

  1. mark rikkers says:

    bad form for pimping this area Michael!!! there’s enough pressure on this zone, don’t add to it… let it be.

  2. pete says:

    yeah ’cause it belongs to locals….wtf

  3. Silverton local says:

    Michael – your buds don’t appreciate all the added pressure on this area…. geez

  4. Wick says:

    Really? Are there THAT many people skiing this route? Its only right off of 550…go in deeper if you don’t want to be seen…please

  5. Pyramid says:

    This was the beggining of the end for this area. I just don’t understand the mentality of ‘ look at me, see what I know!’
    Now there are skin tracks everywhere. Dog crap everywhere. Snowshoes tracks in the skin track. Pits dug everywhere. Photo shoots taking place by folks from far away. When did the foolish climbing mentality creep into skiing? Wick you aint got a clue.
    I believe in the fishing mentality, you’ve got to keep your honey hole secret. Its web sites like this one that have ruined the mountains of Colorado by bringing in too many people from back east.

  6. Kailas says:

    Yes Wick there are that many people. And they are all from back east or Texass… booooo. I’ve skied up here for over 30 years and its now getting retarded how many gummbies are riding on Red, thinking they are so extreme. You’ve even got Texans doing snow science, that just aint right!! No flat lander should be doing any guiding or studying, the mountains are moaning in pain from all the disrespect!!

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  • Kirk Miller: New rats in the Platte. Well done sir....
  • Dale: I met Clerin Zumwalt hiking on the Long's Peak trail back in the 1990's. He was with his family and was wearing his RMNP...
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