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Africa Bowl, Mt Massive, Colorado

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Posted by StokePoker on 9/7/21 10:53am

My first summer of Turns All Year outside of Washington has required me to turn on my creativity and be ok with some longer walks for shorter skis.

That being said, TAY 70 was a lovely day spent outside of Leadville, Colorado skiing Africa Bowl by hiking up via Windsor Lake to the north ridge of Massive and down via the east ridge to Native Lake. 

For Windsor Lake/North Ridge approach info, check this great TR: https://debravanwinegarden.blogspot.com/2018/10/north-massive-point-14340-from-windsor.html

Road to Windsor Lake trailhead is in great shape, had a small campfire and great night of sleep in the huge parking area. 8 AM start up the trail to the lake. Went a bit too far left but a quick check of Gaia GPS helped me correct course and brought me to the lake.

Windsor Lake

From the lake, moved to the southern tip and looked for the path of least resistance that matched the other TRs beta pictures for gaining the ridge.

I gained the ridge via a grassy gully.

Windsor Lake from ridge

From the ridge the view to the south and west was of the Mt Massive Wilderness and the impressive multi summit Mt Massive north ridge.

Mt Massive North Ridge

Kept following the ridge through a small choke point (class 2+ at most), beautiful rocks, and then the ridge broadens out substantially, kept moving south. After a series of rises, reached a view of Africa Bowl and its snowfield which sit right about at 14,000 feet.

Africa Bowl

I sidehilled along the upper lookers right edge of the snowfield/rock boundary to gain the top of the field, would probably be easier to stay on the ridge and descend to the top of the snow. Once on the snowfield, thanks to minimal fire smoke, there were views of the Leadville street grid, Turquoise Lake, and the long and beautiful East ridges of Mt Massive.

Looking down Africa Bowl snowfield

The field skied ok, with a nice smooth strip of snow providing pleasant turns on the skiers right about 2/3 of the way down. From there I transitioned and hiked out via the scenic east ridge visible below the snowfield. At the end of the ridge some bushwhacking/game/rough trails and GPS-ing brought me to the green tinted Native Lake from where I followed the well worn Native Lake trail back to the parking area. The below 3D renderings and pictures capture the North and East ridges nicely.

east ridge 3d renderEast ridge from native lakenorth ridge from native lakelast view of Massive

Thanks for the wonderful report, I’m afraid if I had to work that hard to TAY i might bail. But as I’m sure you already know it’s the path not the destination that makes life so rich.

Hey! Great TR, I was curious if you had a GPS track or think that this bowl is still skiiable  this weekend? (09/25/21) I am looking for my September ski and don't want to ski St. Marys.





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2021-09-07 17:53:55