Randonee racer Bryan Wickenhauser reports on the first Five Peaks ski mountaineering race in the Ten Mile Range above Breckenridge—a monster course that gained 10,000 vertical feet. Thirty-five teams of two braved the challenge on April 10; see the Five Peaks website for full results and links to photos. Here’s Wick’s report:
The inaugural Five Peaks race lived up to its hype as North America’s longest ski mountaineering race, with 10,000 feet of vertical and five separate ascents behind and in the Breckenridge ski resort. My teammate for the race was my fellow Team Crested Butte member Jon Brown. We’ve both been racing in the COSMIC Series for the last four years, and we train all the time together—perfect partners!
The weather going into Friday night called for temps bottoming out at 20°F with light winds for Saturday and sunny skies. Really a perfect forecast for an April ski mountaineering event. The start was classic Alpine at 6 a.m., so we awoke at 4:30 a.m. to get our breakfast on and have time for a brief warm up at gear check.
The start was at the base of Peak 9 at about 9,600 feet, and our first summit would be Peak 10, about 4,000 feet higher! We skinned our way up some mellow groomed runs to the top of the ski area, where we continued though a backcountry gate. Now we began to get into more technical skinning, as we were above tree line and the winds had taken most of the loose snow and deposited it elsewhere (like hopefully on the descents). … Continue Reading