Chris had the idea to head over to Vail and ski the West face of Grand Traverse Peak. The only trip report I could find on the face was the Direct line which mentioned mixed climbing, a rappel, and ‘tedious climbing and skiing’, which I wasn’t entirely stoked about. I drove to vail from Montrose, meeting Chris at the trailhead at 5am. We took off on a fairly straightforward but winding approach involving a (wet) creek crossing and great views. After a few hours and a lot of great conversation. We chose not to do the Grand Traverse Direct and instead opted for a line skiers left. Still difficult, but not rocky enough to warrant a rope. Up we go. The snow seemed skiable but icy in spots - we were hoping the warming sun would help with the ice on the way down. As we neared the saddle, Chris headed toward the summit and then convinced me to do so as well. I’m glad I did, as we were both able to ski off the top!
Once we clicked into skis, we made some turns on fun snow back to the saddle. We had to hike some talus down to rejoin the couloir from there to meet back up with the snow. I took the first pitch on variable snow, with some amount of sloughing. The line doglegs into the crux. A couple good turns put Chris into the skis-wide pinch that was super icy. I followed and made my way through the pinch, Chris letting me know that he kicked off a thick wind skin just below me. I finished off the last pitch on variable snow, leading to the apron. Chris skied past me, on down to the flat basin and I followed hooping and hollering on the most fun snow of the day. We had an uneventful ski out and didn’t have to put on skins all the way back to the road!

Overall it was an incredible day out with a great friend on a super cool line (with a summit!).
Grand Traverse Peak • West Face • 40° / 45° • 5700ft (1100ft line) • 10 miles • 10hrs
Follow me