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Tuesday, January 16, 2007

53 Down, 1 to Go

According to Wild Snow, Chris Davenport skied his 52nd and 53rd Colorado 14'ers over the weekend, Blanca and Shavano. Details likely will be posted at Davenport's web site later today. Davenport started his 14'er quest on January 22, 2006. So that gives him six days, counting today, to climb and ski Longs Peak, the monarch of Colorado's Front Range, in order to become the second person to ski all the 14'ers from their summits—and to do it in a single year.

Longs is usually skied by its north face in May or June, and that's looking a bit sketchy this morning. Where the route narrows, just to climber's right of the Diamond face, there's about 125 feet of 55-degree rock and ice where the old Cables Route went up the mountain. Skiable right now? Most people wouldn't say so, but maybe Davenport will try it. Longs also has been skied from the summit via its southern aspect, picking a line down the steep Homestretch ramp of the Keyhole Route, then down the long gully system of Keplinger's Couloir. From a distance, it looks like there's more snow on the peak's southern side than the north face right now, but you can't see all of the Homestretch from the valley, so Davenport will have to get a recon report to decide which aspect to tackle. There's no new snow in the forecast, so the Front Range's notorious winds will probably decide Davenport's fate over the next couple of days. Even if he doesn't pull off a Longs descent this week, he'll likely tick his final 14'er in the spring. Either way—doing them in a year or in a year-plus—it's a magnificent achievement. As much as I wish Davenport well this week, I think in it's kind of cool that Mother Nature will have the final say.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Yes,Dougald,the north face looks a bit bony right now. I got a good look at the south side on January 1st, and there was more snow on the south side at that time. But since then we've had that huge wind event. It will be interesting to see if Chris Davenport manages to ski Longs in the next few days. Great accomplishment, any way you look at it, but I agree with you regarding Mother Nature's role.