Dave Cooper's Colorado Scrambles book has given me many enjoyable weekends in the Colorado mountains, so when his new book "Colorado Snow Climbs" came out I had to get it. The book is great. I decided to start out with one of the easiest climbs in the book: Grizzly Peak. This climb is relatively safe to do alone, so I felt reasonably safe.
The Grizzly Peak climb starts at the top of Loveland Pass. This route follows the ridge line so there is little avalanche danger and the wind packed snow requires no snow shoes. I took my ice ax and crampons, but used neither. My mountaineering boots and hiking poles were adequate. However, the book states that an ice ax is useful on the final ascent which I never reached.
The first section is a gentle climb to the Grizzly Peak ridge. It is a good cardio workout at altitude. Once I reached the ridge it became very windy. I had my balaclava on, but there was still a portion of my nose and cheeks exposed. As I started down the ridge to approach the second peak the wind was blowing me very hard. I was warm, so I continued on.
As I approached the intermediate peak on the ridge, the weather was turning bad. I decided to not push my luck all the way to Grizzly Peak and turned around. When I got back to the truck my nose and cheeks had some frost-bite. Still it was a very enjoyable early January climb. My first winter snow climb!