In 1944, a group of soldiers from Camp Hale's 10th Mountain Division in Colorado completed what has come to be known as the Trooper Traverse. It is a serious and committing 4-day ski mountaineering route over the Sawatch Mountains from Leadville to Aspen. The traverse crosses two wilderness areas, surmounts three 13,000-foot passes, and spends almost its entire length above 11,500 feet in elevation.
My buddy, Josh, and I recently retraced the traverse (I was on assignment...the article should come out this winter) - our route was a little over 30 miles in length, and the trip was epic, to say the least. But we successfully completed the route, rolling into Aspen on Day 4 after not seeing a single soul since early on Day 1.
Mother Nature definitely conspired against on this trip - it began snowing on the afternoon of Day 1, and continued snowing for more than 24 hours straight. We faced problems with slab avalanches, and then Days 3 and 4 smacked us with rainstorms after we've already fought our way through the snowstorm and whiteout conditions that reduced visibility to just a few hundred yards.
But we were all smiles in the end (and quite tired), and celebrated the journey as the soldiers did...with an Aspen Crud at the Hotel Jerome. (An AC is equal parts vanilla milkshake and bourbon.) To check out a detailed photo gallery from the trip, check out my website here. (Just place your mouse pointer over the right-hand portion of each photo and click to advance through the gallery.)