Deming Peak: The Deming Drop

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Deming Peak (12906') is the prominent summit on the other side of Eccles Pass from Buffalo Mountain, and 129 feet higher. It is easily approached by the Meadow Creek trail from I-70: As you near Eccles Pass, veer left and skin straight up the south face. That face offers excellent wide-open skiing, but there is a very steep couloir dropping straight off the summit to the north, straight as a drop of water would fall! I call the couloir the "Deming Drop". Katie Larson and I skied it in 1999. It can be a bit mushy at the very top, where it sees the sun, but in the couloir it should be firm all season. Return by traversing east and climbing a shallow couloir to regain Deming's south side about halfway down. First photo above taken in early June 1999 from the west shoulder of Red, above and beyond Red Buffalo Pass. Second shot from the summit of Red (13189') on June 13, 2008. No one seems to ever go through the little pass to the right (at the head of North TenMile Creek), so I call it "Seldom Pass". I have never gone through it.

I also skied it (with Bob Portmann and Sherman Blake) on May 18, 2002. It was in good shape (though very little else was in this bad spring). The central throat was very narrow and I had to side-slip through it, but the rest was excellent and exciting. Using an inclinometer, we measured the upper 200 feet at 45 degrees. In the Dawson rating system this line is a D-10.

Here is a shot taken from Buffalo (south summit) on May 15, 2005, that shows the south face of Deming, a fine ski in itself. Visible on the right-hand ridge to Deming is the saddle through which one will climb out after skiing the Drop. Eccles Pass is in the lower center. There is a nice slope on the ridge N of Eccles Pass that can provide good midwinter skiing. And in the background is the steep E face of the large unnamed peak beyond Uneva from the Vail Pass view. Maybe there is some skiing to be had on that face?

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The next photo was taken from the exact same spot, Buffalo S Summit, on May 30, 2008. The snow depths in this season were phenomenal.

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And one more Deming photo, this one taken from East Red during a January ascent with Bill Briggs. From left: Eccles Pass, Deming Peak, and Red Buffalo Pass.

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Update: On May 12, 2007, the Drop was skied by Dave Reed, Luke Kroiss, and Brian Kalet, who started their day by ascending Red Peak and skiing its south side. I believe this is the fourth descent, as Khim Beiers from Montezuma did it solo a few years ago. Here is a photo of Brian, taken by Dave Reed. The narrowest part of the couloir is behind him.

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On April 27, 2008, Dan and Melanie Hendershott and Joe Biebel skied this line and the photos indicate the gully was fat with snow. The following photo is by Dan.

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The line was skiable in the poor snow season of spring 2012 (May 3: snow depths are at 20% of average in the area). Here’s a shot from April 22, 2012, by Nate Delorey who reported excellent conditions. The skier pictured is Jeffrey Schneider, who dropped in from where he is standing.

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