Berthoud Pass: Mines Peak

Berthoud Pass Mines Peak from the West.  Photo: Rob Writz

The ski routes in the Frasier River drainage extending from Mines Peak are some of the bigger backcountry ski runs at Berthoud Pass. This is consequential avalanche terrain containing challenging terrain traps. The Mines 1 and Mines 2 avalanche paths frequently slide, and these avalanches can be massive and catastrophic. This area is also far from the Pass and requires a climb back up to Hells Half Acre, or a 3 mile ski down the Seven Mile trail to a shuttle.

+ ROUTES

Berthoud Pass Mines Peak

  • Season: Winter, Spring
  • Summit Elevation: 12,200’
  • Aspect: Northwest, North
  • Elevation Range: 11,300’ – 12,200’
  • Vertical: 1,000’ – 1,400+
  • Snowmobile Access: Snowmobiles are not allowed at Berthoud Pass

Skin Track:

There is usually a skin track and a boot pack from the parking lot straight up along the left side of East Side's Powderline along the trees. This leads to various drop-in points for Hells Half Acre. Follow this skin track to tree line. Pass the High Trail Cliffs, which are below you, to access the entrances to The Shoulder and Mines 2. [39.8011, -105.7682] To get to Mines 1 and Vortex continue up the slopes of Colorado Mines Peak to avoid the Mines 1 and 2 avalanche terrain, and then traverse east into the bowl. The climb and traverse into the Vortex area is approximately 1.3 miles.

Exit:

The bottom of Vortex, Mines 1, and Mines 2 exit into a steep creek bed that is a terrain trap exposed to avalanches from the Mines 1 and 2 slide paths. The Fraser River drainage coming out of Vortex, Mines 1, and Mines 2 intersects the Seven Mile ski trail. You can follow Seven Mile three miles down to the final switchback of Highway 40 leading to Winter Park. [39.8267, -105.759] Alternatively, you can climb west and then southwest a half mile up Seven Mile, below High Trail Cliffs, and to the second switchback on Highway 40 at Hells Half Acre.

Routes:

1- Vortex – This is the large bowl East of the Mines slide paths. A long run can be had here if the snow line is high on Mount Flora.

2 - Mines 1 – Mines 1 is further east than the Mines 2 slide path. There is some tasty tree skiing between Mines 1 and Vortex.

3- Mines 2 - Mines 2 is the massive avalanche path facing north. The slope's entrance is convex.

4 - The Shoulder – The Shoulder is the broad area between the High Trail Cliffs and the Mines 2 starting zone. There are steeper trees on the skier’s left as well as higher avalanche potential.

+ TRAILHEAD

Berthoud Pass Summit (11,300’)

Access Mines Peak from the Berthoud Pass parking at the top of the pass. The summit of Berthoud Pass is the epicenter of backcountry skiing on this part of the Front Range. There is a large parking lot and a small building with restrooms and a warm room that you can use to gear up on cold day. The summit is on Highway 40 and 18 miles from Empire (near exit 232 on Interstate 70) and 11.3 miles on Highway 40 from Winter Park. [39.798, -105.7771]

+ MAPS & PICTURES

Below we have included a link to a Google interactive map and a curated list of photos of the mountain.

  Clicking on map above will open interactive Google map website

Clicking on map above will open interactive Google map website