This past Friday Steve, Jason, and I managed to finagle a day off from work to take advantage of a picture perfect state-wide weather forecast. The three of us set off from the Antero trailhead with the intention of exploring the Baldwin Creek drainage to the west of Cronin Peak. If all went well we hoped to summit Mt. Mamma from there, and maybe its immediate neighbor, Boulder Mountain as well.
Residing in the southern-Sawatch 3 miles southeast of St. Elmo, bicentennial 13er Mt. Mamma does a good job of hiding from view behind several higher peaks that surround it. It most often seems to be combined with Boulder Mountain as a summer/fall ridge run, and maybe occasionally with Grizzly Mountain to the south as well. With a long road approach and gentle slopes on its south side, Mamma seemed like a logical option for a winter ski approach. Turns out it was.
Steve was toying around with an experiment of sorts on this day – it was his first time on AT skis for awhile and the first time he’d worn his ski boots. His usual blistering pace was tempered somewhat by his POMRanian setup – heavy boots clicked into a pair of five and a half pound bindings mounted on an old pair of resort skis. Not exactly ideal for a six mile skin approach. He handled it like a champ though, never complaining and still making fine time.
We broke trail beyond the road split and pulled up to the shores of Baldwin Lake just before noon. Jason was feeling a tad under the weather as well, having been at sea level all week as well as getting over a cold. We took a look at the map and contemplated just calling it a day and skiing back down to our beer and sandals, but ultimately we convinced ourselves to keep moving as the day was gorgeous and none of us had anywhere else to be.
After working our way higher up through a grove of trees we eventually caught a glimpse of Mt. Mamma and the remaining route to the summit. There appeared to be a series of snow strips connecting the summit ridge down to the bowl below, which was definitely a tad motivating. At this point Steve was really struggling with his setup and decided to throw in the towel. Steve buddy, let me know if you want help lightening that thing up at all. read more