Peak Names: Cathedral & Malemute Peaks

Peak Heights: 13,943' & 13,348'

Location: Elk Mountains, Colorado

Trailhead: Ashcroft

Difficulty: Class 3

Round Trip Stats: 16 mi, 6050 ft

Date Climbed: 3/5/2016

Cathedral Peak rarely makes for a sane winter climb. The only reasonable route to the summit utilizes a steep, avalanche prone, east facing couloir to gain the 3rd class south ridge. A winter ascent should only be considered in the most favorable of conditions.

Fortunately by some wierd twist of fate we were presented with May-like conditions in early March. Carpe Diem! The couloir was shockingly non-stessful and we got done with business so early that we decided to make an attempt at neighboring Malemute as well via its questionable looking east ridge (which we knew nothing about). The ridge was slow but manageable and ended up being the highlight of the day. After summitting Malemute we bombed straight down into Montezuma Basin via a steep south facing couloir directly below the summit.

Winter climbing has never felt so carefree. I wouldn't have set foot in much of this terrain in anything remotely resembling typical winter conditions! This day felt like a rare gift.

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