While driving out to Aspen after Silver Couloir I got a text from my buddy Chris for a scouting report. He saw my pic on Instagram and was heading to Silver in the morning. I gave him a call and filled him in as best as I could. Two days later, on Friday night, I was driving back down to Denver from Aspen and decided to reach out to him to see if he wanted to do go for a "bc mission" of our own.
After a challenging day on Buffalo Mountain followed by two straight days of shredding Snowmass and Aspen with Mo and crew, I was ready for a rest day. That was until I found out that Nic and Malaina were heading to Caribou the next day. Being that Caribou is mostly low angled terrain with an easy approach, I figured a lazy day in the backcountry beat staying down in Denver for the day.
As with all of Brent and my adventures, they begin with a simple text. Neither of us had any particular mission in mind so we came up with a short list and weighed our options. It came down to a chute near A-basin, a line off Quandary Peak and Buffalo Mountain. We really could have done any of the three but with Buffalo Mountain towering over I-70, I had been eyeing it for some time as I had been driving passed it on the regular for a few years now. And so the goal was set and the planning had begun.
April means it's time to get out in the backcountry and take advantage of that warmer days and a typically stabilized snowpack. This past Saturday was no exception, the weather called for bluebird skies, warm temps and a little bit of wind.
Having spent Wednesday and Thursday climbing Quandary Peak I pondered what my plan was for Friday. My legs were already hurting from two straight days in the backcountry but it was my last day in Colorado so I had to at least try to get out there. On the way up to Quandary I had noticed signs saying that Mt. Evans road had just opened for the season.
After a few days away from the mountains to enjoy Memorial Day Weekend in Denver with some great people, it was time to get back out there. Although I hadn't booked my flight back to New York, I knew I was down to my last few days in Colorado and I wanted to make the best of them. Having tagged my first 14er not even two weeks prior I figure why not go for another one?
It was right around 8 pm on Tuesday May 24th when Brent Meyer reached out to me about a backcountry mission for the following day. The texts read "Free tomorrow and have energy for an early mission? Leaving Breck at 5am. Drift Peak off Mayflower Gulch." That meant a very early 3 am wake up for me in Denver so I hesitated to say yes.
Having come 500 ft short of summiting Grays the week before, Nic and I were as determined as ever to get atop our first 14er and ride down. We had all the gear necessary and our plan was solid, now the weather just needed to cooperate. We checked the forecasts and Saturday, May 21st seemed like our best bet.
After failing to summit Torreys Peak, Nic and I took naps then went back to the drawing board. We now knew for sure now that for our approach we would have to start skinning near I-70. This meant for a very long approach before we would start making our actual ascent up the mountain. In short, we couldn't waste any energy fumbling around on our skins on steep icy sections or having our feet sink 2 feet with every step while trying to bootpack. We decided we would use crampons in skin mode to make the ascent as easy as possible.
Shit for Brains Couloir is a classic line that kept coming up time and time again over the last couple of years in Google searches for backcountry lines in the Colorado Front Range. It is also one that's not very hidden as it can be seen from Arapahoe Basin and from the drive up U.S Highway 6 heading up to Loveland Pass from A-Basin. So naturally it's been on my short list of backcountry objectives for some time now.
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