East East Peak of Red: Little Red Riding Hood

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From the easternmost point in the large bowl so prominently visible from Silverthorne (12885 feet) there is a giant couloir heading to the northeast (left side of photo above). I've skied this twice. The best way is to plant a car at the Willowbrook trailhead and start off at the top of Ryan Gulch Road, as if one were going to Buffalo. But one descends to South Willow Creek, crosses, and then continues up the other side, rising a long way through the forest (great tree-skiing in mid-winter) to reach timberline at the bottom of the big bowl. From there it is an easy skin to the top of East East Red. Katie Larson, Allen Dunaj, and I did this on May 29, 2006. After the ski, which was, surprisingly, in new powder on this day, we circled around to pick up the trail to Willow Lakes and then took that down (choosing a snow-free route rather than the trail after the trail turns north) to the Gore Range Trail and out to the car at Willowbrook. There had been a hard freeze the night before and a couple of inches of snow. So the ascent was as good as it gets on firm snow, and the descent was an excellent 2000-foot run in powder. A fine day.

In the right center of the photo above is an amazing narrow diretissima line coming down from just right (west) of the summit of East East Red. In keeping with the theme, let's call it "What Big Eyes You Have". But is it skiable? [Yes, see What Big Eyes You Have link]. There is often a cliff in the upper portion, but there must be times when it is all perfectly snow-covered.

The view from the summit is outstanding, and even a small dog can enjoy a tour such as this. Behind Duncan are the large peaks of Silverthorne (third-highest in the Gore Range) and East Thorn.

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May 21, 2007. Elke Dratch and I skied Little Red Riding Hood. The ascent was fine. The route was bit mushy at the lower end, but overall it was excellent. We could ski continuously from the summit, though barely as there were rocks showing at the top. After the usual tortling around to get to the opposite side of the valley, we finally found the Willow Lakes Trail and found we could ski it all the way to the Gore Trail Junction, which was unexpected. Then the rest of the trails were clear of snow and provided easy walking. One surprise were some ski tracks (down) in the large bowl that we ascended to get to the summit of East East Red. I have very rarely seen tracks up there. Here is Elke at the bottom of the 2000-foot run, just after the narrow section.

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The south side of East East Red offers some fine moderate skiing. Here is a shot from June 29, 2011. Usually this line melts out well before that. This basin is called The Catcher’s Mitt, and is a moderate bushwhack from S Willow Creek.

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