Please join Vince and I; bring a friend, or recommend this to a friend! Red Mntn received almost 2 feet of snow the last two weeks. Don't put away your skis and snowshoes! Paul and I were here four weeks ago on Mnt McMillan and I returned to Red #3 two Saturdays ago. Let me know if you need to borrow Nordic or snowshoe equipment. This area is heavily used so orienting is very easy and there's safe slope angles less than 30 degrees all the way to the tops.
Let me know any ideas of how this day could work better for you. Would you rather go to Red Mntn on Sunday? Perhaps you'd prefer just to attend the Montrose Adventure Film Festival which Suzy posted here: http://www.meetup.com/WesternSlopeAdventurers/events/169717312/
Or perhaps you'd like to combine both?
You're welcome to stay Friday and Saturday night at my place (and I bet other Montrose WSA people will offer their homes too).
After a spectacular day if we didn't hurry back for the last Adventure Film in Montrose and the Block Party, we could relish the Hot Springs and have Dinner at that magical town of Ouray or in Montrose, or at my house! Perhaps we could join up with other WSAers to make this the Montrose April potluck?
All photos below are from the actual Red Mountain #3 area. One of the photos indicates a steeper slope angle which I would avoid if the snow was not totally stable. This time of year the avalanche danger decreases a lot. The whole approach and descent of either Red Mountain 3 or McMillian Peak are totally safe and less than 30 degrees.
Red is 12 miles south of Ouray just off 550 with quick 11,000' access to the slopes; no endless slogging approach. 65 minutes from Montrose. You're welcome to overnight with us Friday night.
Area Description http://www.summitpost.org/red-mountain-3/150847
Post your questions here, phone me at[masked] or e-mail [masked].
Getting to the trailhead: Drive on U.S. 550 to the summit of Red Mountain Pass, 13 miles south of Ouray and 10 miles north of Silverton. There are several parking areas at the pass, the northernmost being the best if starting on County Road 14A, while the parking area just to the south is at the start of County Road 14.
Whether skiing the gentle slopes high on the flanks of McMillan Peak or the challenging tree runs in U.S. Basin, you can enjoy memorable descents.
On those occasions when the snow above treeline is windpacked, there are plenty of glades lower down that tend to hold good snow.
Head south on the CR 14 roadbed, tracked heavily by previous skiiers. After one- half-mile the road turns east up an unnamed drainage and climbs to another road junction at mile 0.9. Here County Road 14 turns right (south) and is well signed to the St. Paul Lodge and Mountain Belle Cabin. Throughout this area you'll see some of the many old mine buildings still standing.
Stay on County Road 14 as it climbs up and past St. Paul Lodge and then the Mountain Belle Cabin. The skiing to this point is a very nice outing for intermediate skiers, but for those who want to practice their telemark skills or for the advanced skier, this is just the start. To continue on above treeline, head east in the vicinity of the Mountain Belle Hut onto the west flank of McMillan Peak. From here, choose your descent line, taking care to stay off the steeper terrain when avalanche conditions are suspect.
Here's the waypoints I've plotted for the route I'm considering, see the red arrows, and loaded into my GPS and printed a glossy map of the route. There's many options. The more common approach is shown at point "-4".
St Paul Lodge, $25/night.
Weather cameras at Red Mountain Pass: http://www.cotrip.org/m/cameraDtl.xhtml?id=134&rd=46&scroll-pos=0
Powder stays soft and deep in the tree areas.
This slope angle below I would not ski unless it was late in the season and a snow pit revealed little hoar frost and good consolidation, or if the trees were everywhere.
A sweet bowl.
Approaching the top of Red Mountain #3. You can see the slope incline is low and very safe. Fantastic for skiis or snowshoes.
McMillan Peak, another safe and easy option Paul and I used, in the background.
No avalanche potential here! Just easy gliding from the top of Red 3.
Waypoints to ensure we know our exact location the whole time. These aren't needed on a clear day.
Hundreds of peaks above 12,000' viewable 360 degrees in this radical area of the San Juans.
Shuss or wedelen, as you wish.
Easy, pre-broken ascents, many places where even Nordic could work.
Summer appearance from the north east; notice the low slope angle on the right side which is where the photos above were shot on the gentle south east. Endless summer hiking opportunities.