Mt. Helen

Rocky Mountain High Goats

After a nice morning at Hoosier Pass, Jacob and I set out the next morning for a quick tour at Mt. Helen, another Breckenridge backyard classic. The east face provides a gentle ascent to the summit of a 13er.

Downstream lenticular clouds over the Front Range.

Being on the west side of the valley on this tour, I got my first clear view of the Front Range. One of the more remarkable characteristics of the Colorado Rockies is the uniform tree line. It looks like all the trees were just cut off above about 12k.

Helen provided an easy ascent until the last few hundred feet, where there was not enough snow to skin. Here a family of well insulated mountain goats roamed. I had never seen goats so high and in such cold wintery conditions!

Rocky Mountain High Goats!
Goats with a view.

The wind was whipping at the summit, so we did not linger long, but I did appreciate the views into the Tenmile Range.

Jacob on the summit of Mt. Helen.
The steep north gullies on Quandry Peak.
The west ridge of Helen, which Jacob says is a good scramble.

We walked back down past the goats to our skis. From there, we did some “skiing” which was more like side stepping around rocks and grass.

Colorado “skiing”.

Finally the coverage got better and we could actually ski. It was a quick ride back to the trailhead.

Jacob doing some real skiing on Helen.

With such a short drive and quick tour, we were back at Jacob’s cabin by lunch. After lunch, we drove out to Lincoln Falls to ice climb. This climb is in typically from October to June, making for possibly the longest season of a water ice climb in the lower 48? It was incredibly fat and surprisingly not picked out. If this thing was within 2 hours of Seattle, it would be mobbed every weekend. But Jacob says that Colorado ice climbers move on from Lincoln Falls once the ice parks open, and then ice climbing season is pretty much over once the parks close at the end of March.

A fat Lincoln Falls.

We started by climbing the moderate multipitch flow. The weather was calm and sunny, but the ice was fat and sticky. It was truly ideal ice climbing conditions.

Jacob following the final pitch of Lincoln.

We top roped some steep pillars before hiking out. This was a lovely multi sport day and we did not even have to get up early or finish late! The accessibility to skiing and ice climbing in Jacob’s backyard is simply incredible!

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