Thursday, January 10, 2013

Keystone Gulch

We had some errands to take care of Wednesday morning near Keystone. So, we decided to take a skijor spin on Keystone Gulch Road once we were done.
Hitting 20 MPH on a nice straight away along Keystone Gulch Rd.
Do not be fooled - most of the outing was not on terrain this nice!
We have been on Keystone Gulch Rd a few times in the summer (hiking & trail running), but had never been on this trail in the winter as we tend to stay closer to Breckenridge. Here is a good hint to what we found: (1) the Keystone Gulch Rd trailhead is under 9300 feet elevation; (2) our typical trailheads around Breckenridge are between 10,300 and 10,600 feet in elevation; (3) it has been a dry start to January. Oh boy does that 1000 feet between our Breck trails and Keystone Gulch make a huge difference!
Yikes! Here is what we found near the trailhead (at elevations near 9300 feet).
Good thing I brought my "rock skis" with for the outing! You can see my skis hugging
the tiny little shoulder of snow as we carefully navigate our way up.
But, we kept going and the conditions kept improving. Here we are on a nice & fast packed
uphill stretch of trail.
As you can see in the photos, it was a beautiful sunny day. What did the Siberians think of that?
"Are we at sea level? Man, we've never been sooo hot! Must roll dual snow angels to cool
off!" express both Max & Zorro at our midpoint of the outing before heading back down.
Unfortunately we did not have time for a very long outing. Too bad as the conditions got better & better as we climbed to and above 10,000 feet elevation. If we had time, we certainly would have kept going up higher. But, regardless of time, we would have to return to the sketchy conditions near the trailhead...
On the way back down - once again hugging the shoulder for some amount of skiable terrain...
Needless to say, we will not be returning to Keystone Gulch Rd unless we see reports that Keystone has received some significant new snow! Tally for the short day: 6.7 miles, 900 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 20 MPH.

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