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+  Turns All Year Trip Reports
|-+  2015 Backcountry Trip Reports
| |-+  June 2015 Backcountry Trip Reports
| | |-+  June 17, 2015 Independence Pass, CO
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Author Topic: June 17, 2015 Independence Pass, CO  (Read 1313 times)

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June 17, 2015 Independence Pass, CO
« on: 06/21/15, 08:57 AM »

During the evening of June 16 we camped at the White Star campground by Twin Lakes which provided a quick drive to Independence Pass at 12,095 feet on the 17th. That night a MAJOR thunder and lighting storm arrived. It was enormous and seemed to be centered nearby and as usual was followed by heavy rain. I had put in my earplugs to sleep , but Jill watched (& listened to) it for hours. We rose to sunny skies and a beautiful start. The tourists had just begun arriving at the scenic overlook at the top of the pass. We parked a little beyond the scenic overlook. One couple was just starting to skin up as we arrived. We were away from the tourists so it was a great day.  We met a couple who were from WY and working at the Historical Society at Ashcroft. They provided info for other tour areas, but they all required walking for up to 4 miles before reaching snow.  We explained our lack of gene pool for walking and our preference for skinning. We also met a local  skier from Aspen who has skied in this area regularly for the last 20 years. It was interesting talking with him and hearing about the changes in the area due to climate change, i.e. lower snow pack, quicker melting, etc. It was easy to follow their skin tracks. We reached a great spot to start the descent, BUT Jill began looking for  wildflowers to photo. This trip has become a wildflower/ski trip.  A group of snowboarders arrived with snowshoes (didn't work as planned!) who preferred our choice of slope aspect to their original choice the Zap-man does it again. The snow was 3 of typical summer corn that quickly turns to mush. We had some great figure-8 turns, and then watched the others descend; I think we had the right skies.  The great May powder snow pack is diminishing rapidly from the June heat wave and frequent rain storms.  For the last week there have been daily flood warnings and numerous roads closures. The snow pack is going very fast.

We are now heading for Rocky Mountain National Park to get in some turns if possible unlikely but worth a try.  We also want to see the views, do some hikes, and hopefully to see some wildlife.

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