“This is a very long approach to the summit of an awesome mountain.”
— CaseyE Eales
Type: Backcountry or Sidecountry
This is a very popular route. the approach is nearly the same as the summer trail, some of the skin track is on the exact trail and some is not. It is important to note that if you get lost continue to the ridge of the mountain and you'll pick up the trail again. GPS is recommended or a map and compass.
If you plan to summit the mountain expect a 3.5 hour approach from the parking lot just to reach the NE ridge of Sopris. A good plan is to camp at the lakes at the base of the mountain.
There are 2 points where you must cross avalanche terrain. 1st is a tree laden slope just south of the lakes near the camp site. 2nd it a narrow steep section leading upthe ridge to the false summit.
This trek is awesome and the skin track is popular and will surely have a clear trail unless you are the first after a storm.
There is a bathroom at the trailhead where you park the car.
The trek from the car to the campsites between the lakes at the base of the mountain is fairly flat, but skis easily with some poling for the descent. I never had to put on skins for it.
The mountain is gnarly and awesome with a crux that is scary if it's too angry. I won't spoil it all for you, but there are a lot of descent options depending on the snow conditions. Take a look at the Laundry Chutes, they are obvious and super steep!