Aspen’s Centennial Skiers reach for goal
Aspenites Ted and Christy Mahon and Chris Davenport will soon have to scale new heights.
The talented trio was closing in Wednesday on their goal to ski the 100 highest peaks in Colorado. The last one on their list was Jagged Mountain, a 13,824-foot peak in the isolated Weminuche Wilderness of the San Juan Mountains.
Their friends in Aspen were awaiting word last evening for news of the trek via social media and phone calls.
They maintain a blog at http://www.centennialskiers.com that gives a peak-by-peak report of their progress. Ted Mahon wrote on May 22 that they completed their 99th ski descent on Stewart Peak, a 13,983-foot mountain in the La Garita Range. It’s the second highest 13er in Colorado.
“One of the many things we’ve learned through the years of skiing Colorado mountains is that it’s wrong to assume only technical peaks present challenges,” Mahon wrote. “Once in a while a straight-up easy mountain can really put up a fight. That was the case with Stewart (May 21), a mountain considered to be an easy day-hike in the summer, but one that’s remote and difficult to access this time of year.”
Late snowstorms delayed the opening of access roads, so the three of them covered what terrain they could by bicycle, then hoofed it and finally put climbing skins on their skis. They slogged through a 35-mile round-trip day.
Mahon briefly mentioned Jagged in his blog — merely noting they would take a stab at skiing it this week.
The ski mountaineers have already climbed all 53 Colorado peaks higher than 14,000 feet. Davenport became the first person in winter 2007 to ski the 14ers in less than one year. Ted completed them the following winter and Christy followed in 2010.
They didn’t intend at the time to turn their passion for big peaks into anything grander, Ted Mahon told The Aspen Times in February 2014. “It was too big to think about it,” he said.
But on a different outdoor outing, they started talking about Colorado’s nickname as the Centennial State and the pastime of some mountaineers to climb the 100 tallest peaks in the state. An idea was born — they decided to ski the 100 highest peaks. That meant adding 47 of the peaks higher than 13,000 feet to their list.
All three of the mountaineers have loads of credentials.
Davenport is a professional big-mountain skier and climbing guide. He’s been featured on speaking tours for making smart decisions in the backcountry.
Ted Mahon is a ski instructor and waiter in Aspen. Christy Mahon is the development director at Aspen Center for Environmental Studies.
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