Drift Peak



On May 29, 2003, Bob Portmann and I climbed this peak which is just SE of the cabin in Mayflower Gulch. The summit is 13840, nicely high, but the climb is easy from the area near the cabin. The ski line (sunlit in first photo), which I had been staring at for years from the Fremont Pass road, looked fabulous. We could ski right from the summit, and the first several hundred feet went fine. Bob measured it at 47 degrees, but it was a little steeper in spots; more important, it maintains this steep aspect for a long way. Somehow I fell after a few more turns and could not stop. Cartwheels, almost a stop, then more cartwheels. I came to rest after a 500-foot slide, with the rocks fast approaching. I somehow lost concentration in a turn; conditions were not bad. At my stop, I noticed my ski had come off: the G3 binding had its bail totally lift from the ski, breaking two rivets. I had not known these were releasable bindings! I was unhurt, and Bob had baling wire with which I could rig something to allow me to ski down. This shows that consequences of an error can be severe on these steep slopes.


Bob and his stylish AT technique on The Drift, May 29, 2003. And he can telemark too (see the photo for Red Buffalo Pass).

Here is another view of Drift taken on May 21, 2005, on a day when Jonathan Kriegel and I went for an easy tour in Mayflower Gulch. The bump at the far left is what I call W Peak of Fletcher, and it offers excellent skiing on the other side (see report). It also appears that there is good skiing from the summit of Drift to the southeast, into Monte Cristo Basin (see W. Fletcher report for photo).


May 19, 2007. Bob Portmann, Kim Clark McGranahan, Elke Dratch, and I did it. Well, they skied it. Conditions were lousy and I just sideslipped down. Still, a very pretty summit and pretty route down, and if the skiing is too difficult there is something to be said for getting down safely. We exited a little farther to the W at the cliff band. Sometimes going up is more fun than going down. The photo below shows Kim, Elke, and Bob on the very pleasant ridge that goes to the summit (ice axes useful).


On the day after the 2007 ski we skied Atlantic, and the following photo shows Drift from the ridge to that peak. This route got a lot of attention in 2007 as three parties skied it. I think it needs a name, something derived from Mayflower. Maybe "Plymouth"? or "Pilgrims' Choice"?


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