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What do to in Colorado in early April?

Original Post
daniel arthur · · Auburn,Al · Joined Mar 2007 · Points: 35

I have an opportunity to come out to Denver for a conference the first week of April, and was hoping to be able to tack on some climbing (Alpine) and spring skiing. I am a very capable skier, but living on the east coast have no experience with avalanches. Would it be crazy dificult to find someone to let me tag along on some spring backcountry skiing with my lack of avalanche experience? I would have my own AT setup. I will only be out there for a few days, so I wouldnt have time to take a course. If this is a horible idea, then feel free to flame on... Also what will the climbing be like?


turkbrim9 · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2012 · Points: 0

If you are willing to hire a guide for a day, Eli Helmuth is the best of the best. He is an IFMGA Mountain Guide (Rock, Mountain, and Ski) and he could take you out for an epic day of skiing or climbing (or both). His guide service is based out of Estes Park (right outside RMNP). Its about an 1 and a half drive from Denver. I did my SPI course and assessment with him.

Here is his website.

Xam · · Boulder, Co · Joined Dec 2011 · Points: 71

There are plenty of skiing and climbing objectives on the front range that time of year. If you post your alpine climbing experience you will get a ton of suggestions, many of which will likely start with dream and end with weaver (oooo, and with ski of dragons egg for the full monty). The guide idea is a good one. If you don't want to go that route, post here a few weeks out and you will find someone. Also for ski mountaineering. And the local groups work for more moderate outings.

jmeizis · · Colorado Springs, CO · Joined Jul 2008 · Points: 225

Spring in Colorado is the best. You can rock climb, ice climb, ski, all in the same day if you want.

There are plenty of people who will go BC skiing with you but you get what you pay for. Colorado usually has a number of avalanche deaths every year and there are a ton of people who despite this have their bro-brah pants on and go for it on slopes that are not a great idea. I've certainly skied with people with the beacon-shovel-probe who couldn't identify dangerous terrain so just because someone has a level 1 avy cert and all the gear doesn't mean much and it's hard to get a feel for someone's risk management abilities over the phone.

So the suggestion to hire a guide is a good one. You'll ski more and learn more than from people who barely have it together themselves. You won't be worried about if they really have a clue. We know where the good snow is. Our finger is on the pulse of conditions way more than average. When you say capable, does that mean you can ski the entire resort in any conditions? Colorado in spring can have everything, powder, wind crusts, sun crusts, cement, sometimes in one run so you'll find more enjoyable skiing if you ski well.

Eli has a reputation that is well deserved and the skiing in RMNP is really good in April while not being that much farther than some of the passes people often ski like Berthoud or Loveland.

I ski but am not a ski guide. If you're looking for rock and ice climbing in the Front Range though I'm usually starting the rock and finishing the ice around then. I take people up the south facing stuff in Eldo, the Flatirons, and the Splatte is awesome that time of year. Ice at low elevations is usually starting to fall apart by then but who knows what the weather will bring.

Spring is awesome either way so have fun.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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