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2022-03-09 at 12:36 - comment by aqua toque
aha, now we see the real reason he puts his couch there...free pillows.
2022-03-09 at 09:04 - comment by SteveR
Thank you, Helen, for re-setting the East Elk and Patterson Meadow routes! I would suggest that the Elk Passes loop is somewhat easier going in the west to east direction, especially once we get into spring conditions where the logged area may be crusty. It's simple to set a line up the wide open logging cut (conversely, long gentle traverses and kick turns will get you down it). Beyond that- a couple of short forested rises are tackled in the uphill direction, and then the boundary cutline is easily followed more or less gently downhill to East Elk.
2022-03-09 at 07:02 - comment by Helen Read
Thanks Steve for your terrific photo coverage of "AKA Meadows Tour." I have never done the more challenging part between East Elk couch towards the Hydroline. Likely out of my comfort zone.......but you have tempted me to want to do this again!! Bravo on doing it alone but someone missed a unique and beautiful backcountry tour!!
2022-03-08 at 22:13 - comment by SteveR
Tour De Couch Continued...
Trail between East Elk Pass and Tyrwhitt.
Patterson Meadows between Hydroline and Patterson xc trails.
Elk Passes Loop-AKA Le Tour De Couch
Report Submitted by SteveR
(trip) Date: Tuesday Mar 08, 2022
Submitted: Tuesday Mar 08, 2022 at 22:10
A couple of views from the couch at West Elk Pass.
A look back at the easy travel through the West Elk meadows.
Logging cut view of Elk Lakes.
East Elk Pass.
Crack of noon start from Elk Pass TH with about 6 cm new snow over old grooming and very few others about, looping through West Elk Pass around to Elk Pass via the highline route over the ridge to East Elk Pass, then back via Tyrwhitt-Patterson Meadows etc. A nice afternoon of variable weather for this very scenic meadow (mostly) tour. Beyond the fairly well traveled route to couch HQ at West Elk, I broke trail following an ephemeral, often snowed over and blown in track that I am pretty sure was put in by "the man" Ma Sid himself- south to the power line, up the logging cut, and along a series of meadows and treed terrain over to East Elk Pass, where I picked up Helen and Co's refresh of the track from yesterday. Off trail travel is excellent right now- very supportive with about 15 cm ski penetration on my 68-55-63 mm light touring skis. Although I had skins along, they stayed in the pack as it was easy to set a wax track up the logging cut in places where the existing single track made by a descending skier doing the loop in the opposite direction (Martin?) got a little too steep for Blue wax. Back on the groomed trail at Tyrwhitt, I found the sometimes wobbly tracks and slow feeling chewed up ungroomed snow a bit tedious. That is about to change- I got back to the trailhead at the same time as Big Tex was being pulled into the parking lot, Pisten Bully onboard!