Peak Z: The Zebra Stripe

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The SE-facing couloirs on Peak Z are prominently visible from Dillon and Silverthorne as one looks into the heart of the Gore Range. I had wanted to try the narrowest one for several years and on Memorial Day weekend, 2001, Jonathan Kriegel and I hiked and skied in with camping gear on the Pitkin Lake Trail from Vail. We camped at 11300 feet, and early the next day trekked over the pass near Peak X and climbed Peak Z's west side. We could not easily identify the correct couloir from above, and skied the one just on viewer's right of the summit, adjacent to the rock buttress. This measured 50 degrees at its steepest spot and was a beautiful way down. The route back to camp involved booting up the leftmost shallow couloir, and offered more good skiing on the other side, and then more good skiing at the Peak X saddle. The upper photo was taken two days later from the wooded shoulder of Keller Mountain above Boulder Lake; lots of postholing for me, but it was worth it. Our ski tracks are actually visible in the 8x10 print. The second photo was taken May 26, 2007, from Keller and show more of the great skiing opportunities in this area. Definitely a primo spot for a camp-out.

On May 7, 2008 Dan Hendershott, Matt Wentz, Dan Pedrow, and Mike Bennett camped up in the upper Boulder valley and skied the line that comes down from just W of the summit of Z. They measured it at a consistent 45 degrees. Two photos by Dan follow.

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