Mt Otis Trip Report

Friday, May 6, 2011

Skinning up towards Mt Otis.

May 1st we were able to get up into RMNP and get in some good skiing. We had some people in from Europe and we got to show them some great touring in the park and we also got a lot of people out on the Hi5's. A group of 5 quickly became a group of 9 so we headed out to ski the lower east chutes on the shoulder of Mt Otis and see what conditions were like. The snow was in great shape and we had some excellent turns on about 8-10 inches of fresh on top of a pretty bomber April snowpack. The skiing was excellent so we headed further up the basin to ski a chute on Otis.

It was a typical Rockies spring day with the sun peaking in and out of the clouds taking you from pouring sweat to freezing cold within minutes due to the wind and cloud cover. The group dwindled down to 7 after the lower chutes as some people had to head to work. The snow was holding up great on the north facing slopes and I was amazed at how much snow there was. April treated RMNP well and the spring skiing is going to last a while. We weaved through some of the boulder problems around Lake Haiyaha and headed up towards our objective as some high clouds rolled in that gave us some really flat light and poor visibility.

View of Mt Otis from the lower shoulder of Hallets Peak

We skinned and bootpacked up a north facing zig zag chute on Otis and the snow was deep! I skied this chute 5 years ago and that time we had to stick close to a rock wall on the east side of the chute to stay on good snow. This year it was basically a big open powder field to the west which you can see in the photo below.

Skinning on the upper section

By the time we reached the top the wind was in full force and it was freezing cold. We made a quick transition and skied some great powder with a mellow upper section that rolled over into steeper skiing before choking down to the lower throat. The snow up here was in great condition and the turns were soft and fun.

Chalmers getting some at the exit.

The ski out was great and we headed up and into the Dream chutes to finish the day. Fun features and drops left us all with a big smile to finish the day. A great way to spend May Day and a promising day for the rest of the spring season in RMNP.

Hi5 in action!

The crew with a slew of Hi5 skis.

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