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Medicine Bow


Access from Fort Collins, CO:
US 287 North
I-80 West
WY 130 West to small parking area on south side of road just east of Snowy Pass
Drive Time: ~1:40 h
I skinned up the road to the northeast face of Sugarloaf Mountain and climbed the snow filled gully to the summit. I was hoping to ski it, but the snow was very soft and the concern for avalanche issues persuaded me to simply descend the primarily dry northwest face towards my prioritized objective, Medicine Bow Peak, in the interest of time. From the Medicine Bow Peak-Sugarloaf Mountain saddle, I began hiking up the summer trail, which became completely snowpacked where I booted straight up towards the summit ridge. After gaining the ridge, I skinned southwest to the summit where I dropped my skis and continued to the Carbon County High Point, then reclimbed Medicine Bow and descended the northeast ridge on fresh, heavy snow. I then dropped into the prominent, east-facing line off the ridge finding smooth, buttery snow.
Elevation: ~1013’
After a snack, I toured up to the eastern edge of South Gap Lake, then up the southwest face of Browns Peak to snowline. From there, I hiked to the summit, which felt like more of a chore than I had anticipated, especially with all the boulder hopping I had to do in AT boots. I found a grassier return to my skis, then skied some overly soft snow back to WY 130.
Elevation: ~940’
Total Skied Elevation: ~1953’
Total Elevation: ~2550’
Distance: ~11 miles
Time: ~4:40
Medicine Bow Peak & Sugarloaf Mountain from Browns Peak’s southwest slopes

Medicine Bow Peak line

Car-sized debris from recent cornice fracture

Browns Peak