Peak C: CC Rider


Peak C (13200') is one of the most rugged mountains in the Gore Range. The couloir that drops to the southwest from the notch between C (on left) and C' is very striking. I do not know if it has been skied; indeed, getting skis to the top will be difficult, though there are ways. When I climbed Peak C by its north ridge (5.4), we glissaded the couloir, so I know it's a great ski line. Photo taken June 21, 2001, from Peak 11825 across Piney Creek, accessed from Lost Lake.

Success! On June 8, 2004, Jonathan Kriegel and I carried skis to the summit and then skied this line, which I had wanted to do for years. Ice axes were needed for climbing the couloir, which was very firm. The photo above shows a continuous line of snow to the summit and that is how we descended on skis. We started skiing 20 vertical feet below the summit. On ascent we exited the gully a little too early, and had to work a bit to get back on route. The approach was not too bad, as we headed up from the Piney River Trail as soon as we could, and the bushwhack to the basin went very well. This basin is a beautiful alpine meadow, nicely snow-covered for us on this day.

Round-trip time was 10 hours. CC Rider seems like an appropriate name for this ski route. The part of the route on the face is steeper than the part in the gully. We did not take the gully to the very top -- the C - C' notch -- but one could do so; we exited too soon, but still gained the summit snow field. Going to the summit via the face provides more skiing than going to the notch. Carrying a pack with skis and boots such a long way is difficult -- some would say crazy. But no other route I have skied had such an alpine feel as this one, because of the steep cliffs that surround you both on the climb and descent, and the attainment of a relatively difficult summit.

On June 25, 2006, Devin Rourke skied this line, accompanied by two friends who glissaded it. They approached via the basin below Kneeknocker Pass and climbed the transverse ridge to gain the CD basin, finding excellent ski conditions in the couloir. And on July 16, 2006, Dave Bourassa and J. P. Stoermer skied this as part of a 3-day trip. They approached via the steep east-side couloir to the C–C' notch. And JP rode CC Rider on his snowboard.

It is worth noting that one does this route for the ambience and the thrill of standing atop Peak C with a pair of skis. The couloir itself tends to be very firm and icy and will not generally provide beautiful spring turns. As JP notes: "It's a great line and great adventure to bag CC Rider but someone looking for nice turns and awesome conditions should look elsewhere." That said, I rank it is as one of my best days in the Gore.

At the end of June 2007, Aaron Parmet and Andy Dimmen camped in the CD basin and skied both CC Rider (from the notch; they climbed to the summit) and the symmetric couloir on the back side. Like so many, they found being on top of C very rewarding for the views and the relief over the very steep NE face.

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