nothing in the world like standing above 14,000 feet and peering down on the
On July 17th, 2005 I finished climbing all
of Colorado's 14,000+ ft peaks!!!!!!!!!!!!!
14ers Grid - month" "The
14ers Grid - season"
Mt Sherman|Mt Democrat
Mt Cameron|Mt Lincoln|Mt
Torrey's Peak|Mt Harvard|Mt
Mt Evans|Humboldt Peak|TabeguachePeak|Mt
Plata Peak|Mt Princeton|Missouri
Mt Yale|Mt Columbia|Mt
of the Holy Cross|Culebra Peak|Mt
Wetterhorn Peak|Sunshine Peak|Redcloud
Peak|Handies Peak|San Luis Peak|Crestone
Mt Sneffels|Pyramid Peak| Castle/Conundrum
Peaks|Eolus Peak, North Eolus|Sunlight
Needle|Snowmass Mountain |North
Maroon Peak|South Maroon Peak
Challenger Point | Kit Carson Mountain|Capitol
Peak|Mount Wilson|Wilson Peak|El
"There are two types of climbers, those whose hearts
sing in the mountains,
and all the rest" - Alex Lowe, deceased
Peak: east slope,
14,110 ft, Barr Trail. 6/12/98 Friday. 13 miles one way, 6 hours total. Worked
to 2:00 a.m. the night before and got to the trail head at 5:30 a.m. Made it to
Barr camp, halfway, in only 2 hrs 15 mins. Slowed down and took several breaks
once above treeline. Started out in shorts and a flannel and ended in pants,
wind breaker, knit hat, gloves, and gators. Fell through the snow up to my waist
only once. Absolutely beautiful day and not a cloud in the sky. When I got to
the top of the trail there was three people about ready to go down, in talking
to them I mentioned that I was going to hitch hike down and the lady offered a
ride down by her husband. Easy enough! Got a ride to my car, came home and went
Summer 2000, Barr Trail, 4hrs 22mins.
7/4/01, Barr Trail with Hendler, 5hrs 35mins.
8/11/01, Crags with John Stergius, 3hrs to summit, down bottomless pit and
French Creek. Testing the course for my AR, TACOMA. Hiked/biked from Cheyenne
Canon around the south side of Pikes. Met John at the Crags CG at sunrise.
8/18/01, Barr Trail from downtown Manitou, Pikes Peak Ascent, 3hrs 36mins.
8/18/02, Barr Trail from downtown Manitou and back to Manitou, Pikes Peak
Marathon, 5hrs 50mins.
10/25/02, Crags, 5hrs 15mins.
8/16/03, Barr Trail from downtown Manitou, Pikes Peak Ascent, 3hrs 17mins.
8/17/03, Barr Trail from downtown Manitou and back to Manitou, Pikes Peak
Marathon, 5hrs 23mins.
11/22/03, Camped out below Devils Playground with Denali as Aconcagua training.
Freakin' COLD!! 22 degree's below freezing on the summit with crazy ole wind.
8/21/04, Barr Trail from downtown Manitou, Pikes Peak Ascent, 3hrs 19mins.
8/22/04, Barr Trail from downtown Manitou and back to Manitou, Pikes Peak
Marathon, 5hrs 23mins.
1/23/05, Crags with Jean, Keith, Beth, and Denali, a nice leisurely climb of
Pikes in HOT temps for January. A beautiful day! We carried our snowshoes but
didn't use them at all. Some deep snow around/below treeline, but mostly packed
8/6/05, Barr Trail as part of the21hr BYC XVI. Summitted at 6am, perfect
timing for a sweet sunrise!
8/20/05, Barr Trail from downtown Manitou, Pikes Peak Ascent, 3hrs 10mins.
8/21/05, Barr Trail from downtown Manitou and back to Manitou, Pikes Peak
Marathon, 5hrs 35mins.
11/3/06, Crags with Denali. 3.5 to summit, 6hrs roundtrip. Felt guilty for not
hiking Pikes yet this year! Breaking trail after an hour, cold and windy up top.
6/1/07, Rumdoodle Ridge/Y Couloir. 4hrs roundtrip. Wayne and I parked at 13,380
and dropped down to Rumdoodle Ridge. Lots of 3rd class scrambling and dodging
around boulders. After about an hour we dropped into the Bottomless Pit and
waited for Bob who was actually on the ridge across the valley. Crampons and ice
axes around 12,400 for fun fun fun the rest of the way up! Took the right branch
and had one small rock band to climb over. Pretty steep at the top and popped
out just below the actually summit. A quick 700' down to the car then wine
burgers. Possibly my new favorite route in Colorado!
7/27/07, Mtn bike Barr Trail! 4:23 up, 6:50 total. Seemed doable so I had to
give it a shot! Definitely easier to RUN up Pikes then bike it. Took 1:50 to
Barr Camp and I was completely soaked in sweat. Had to get off frequently to
push afterwards, but rode as much as I could. Lots of funny comments from people
hiking. Foggy up top and a crazy ole physically abusive downhill! Once at Barr
Camp it was fast and smooth. Loved it!!
8/4/07, 3hrs total; 3-2-1 from summit.
8/18/07, Barr Trail from downtown Manitou, Pikes Peak Ascent, 3hrs 3mins
1/19/08 Crags with Denali and Nicholls. 5hrs to summit, 8.5hrs roundtrip. Trail
went left in deep snow near treeline. Found some sweet rock formations up there
then headed to Devils Playground on wind swept ground. Cold and windy all day.
Up and over Little Pikes Peak on the way up, over Devils Playground Peak on the
way back. Dangerously cold fingers on summit. Nicholls lost a snowshoe on the
way back and we got to see the sun set!
7/25/08 2:45 total; 3-2-1 from summit. Last "1" was more like a
"2/3rds" since the thunder, hail, and hair standing on end started. Down 3: 14:11, 9:19, 12:48.
Up 3: 16:29, 15:04, 17:48. Down 2: 13:42, 9:58. Up 2: 15:31, 18:37
8/17/08, Barr Trail from downtown Manitou, Pikes Peak Ascent, 3hrs 2mins.
8/18/08, Barr Trail from downtown Manitou and back to Manitou, Pikes Peak
Marathon, 5hrs 33mins.
7/25/09, 2:25 total; 3-2- (no one this time); Down 3: 12:33, 8:49, 11:27. Up 3:
17:26, 15:40, 19:25. Down 2: 15:09, 10:25. Up 2: 15:29, 18:48.
8/2/09, 2:55 total; 3-2-1; Down 3: 12:12, 8:17, 11:04. Up 3: 17:19, 15:35,
18:42. Down 2: 13:33, 9:38. Up 2: 15:57, 19:39. Down 1: 14:29, Up 1: 19:05
8/15/09, Barr Trail from downtown Manitou, Pikes Peak Ascent, 3hrs 3mins.
8/26/09, Barr Trail from downtown Manitou and back to Manitou, Pikes Peak
Marathon, 5hrs 19mins.
12/6/09, Crags with Denali. 6:45 total, 17miles, 4500ft. Wanted to hike Pikes in
December and despite the weather and starting late, figured I'd give it a try. 6
degrees at the TH, just beyond the Mennonite Camp, and deep fluffy snow below
treeline. High winds and freakin' cold all day (love the new MHW Dragon
jacket!). 2.5hrs to Devils Playground, I just followed the road the rest of the
way and much to my surprise came across two guys around mile 18 who were
searching for some ice to climb. Just under 4hrs to the summit, NOAA was calling
for -20 with the windchill. Didn't stay long and boogied down in just under
3hrs, after helping dig out someone stuck in the campground. Stayed covered up
and moving the entire day and only my fingers got a bit chilly at times.
2/19/10, Crags with Denali. 7:30 total, 17.5miles, 4500ft. Parked down at the
Mennonite Camp again, tons of deep snow in the trees. The route now goes farther
south and below the basin. Up at the saddle it was like hiking in a ping pong
ball and good thing for the GPS! Got to Devils Playground in 2.5hrs again, but
just wasn't feeling it this time. Lots of deep snow-drifts to plow through all
along the road and it really kicked my butt. Summit in 4hrs 15mins. Cold, windy,
no views. Even going down was tough and definitely the toughest day I can
remember on Pikes. Snowshoes all day.
3/28/10, Crags with Denali. 7:40 total, 17miles, 4500ft. Lots of new snow from
the previous couple days. Getting beyond the Mennonite Camp parking wasn't even
an option. One guy ahead of me breaking trail, saw him after about an hour and
he stopped below treeline. I continued breaking trail to the left and headed for
the "Kunkle-Nicholls January 2008 one snowshoe variation route". Went
even more left of the crags to the windblown ridge and explored the "snow
boogers" stuck to all the cool rock formations. Devils Playground in 2:45
after a couple iffy snow-gully crossings. A beautiful sunny and warm day with no
breeze! Followed the road to the last 800ft and hopped back on the trail.
Actually seemed faster on the trail. Also inspected where I think the entrance
for the "Hero Traverse" is. On the summit in 4:30, a snow drift led
right to the roof of the summit house. Denali and I were snacking when a guy
came up from Barr Trail. Easy stuff going down except the busted snowshoe
4/16/10, Crags with Denali. 6:30 total, 17 miles, 4500ft. A bit of rain on the
drive there, parked at the Mennonite Camp again. The warm temps from the dense
fog had the snow mushy right from the start. Sweating my butt off with just a
shirt and fleece on. Same trail as a few weeks ago, and some signs of
"elevator shafting" along the way. Near treeline I needed snowshoes
and still sunk to my crotch several times. 2:30 to Devils Playground, saw the
sun just a couple of times, but real foggy and no views otherwise. The road was
plowed which made for some quick time and I was quite surprised to almost get
hit by a suburban! Followed the NW face making the summit in a great time of
3:52. Just a quick snack at the Army building and headed down as the Cog whistle
was blowing. More deep snow plunging around treeline but a quick day.
5/28/10 Hero Traverse and RxR couloir, with Wayne. 3.5hrs, 3 miles, 1900ft. The
Hero Traverse has been on my radar since first hearing
a murmur about it last year. Information was hard to come by, so there was only
one way to find out what the scoop was! Once I mentioned a potentially cool
route with steep snow, Wayne was in. When looking at the north side of Pikes
Peak, the traverse is the obvious horizontal arm of snow coming from the west
that connects to the Y-couloir. Friday was the first day the PP Highway was open
at 7:30am and we were waiting at the gate shortly after 7am. We drove all the
way up to ~13,250 and parked at the last big switchback before the highway
curves around the south side of Pikes Peak. From here we geared up in the nice
temps and slight wind and headed north for about 200yds to see if we could find
spot to drop in. Standing on top of steep snow we saw a potential rocky down
climb to our left and some boot tracks to our right further on the traverse,
possibly from last w/end. Over on the small rock rib we could see that the
previous party down climbed the steep snow before starting the traverse. We saw
a way down through the rocks and carefully picked our way down. Pretty spicy in
a few spots and we took our time looking ahead for the next move or place to put
our foot as we sunk a hand into a crack and lowered down. Glad those moves were
over! Time for helmets and harnesses. We brought along pickets, rope, and a
second tool… but never used them. Standing on a foot-wide grassy ledge we put
on our crampons before the first snow gully crossing. We could see most of the
traverse ahead of us and the theme was to cross a snow gully then scramble
across some rocks to the next snow gully…. Repeat about four times. Each one
was fun and had its own bit of spice to it. Nothing too puckery though. On
Friday the snow was in fantastic shape… well
bonded and easy to kick steps into, though getting mushy real quick. Across one
more rock rib and we could see the mighty Corinthian Column ahead of us. What a
beauty! A couple little-known mixed rock/ice routes are on either side…. Gotta
come back with a bad-ass rope-gun to further investigate these. The traverse
under the Corinthian Column was spectacular! Wayne went first as I snapped a
bunch of photos, then I followed tipping my helmet to the Column stating that it
was nice to finally meet her. On the other side of this traverse we could see
most of the Y-couloir and the entire Bottomless Pit. What a wonderful place that
I just can’t get enough of! The traverse took 1.5hrs and we really took our
time with chatting and making sure we found the best way. We had one more rocky
step into steep snow to drop in the Y-couloir. Since we climbed the Y a few
years ago, this time we glissaded and boot-skied down a few hundred feet to
where the Y splits with the RxR couloir at 12,700. The sun just poked through
onto the RxR couloir and the snow was in ideal shape. A few set of tracks going
up both couloirs from recent climbs. The rest was just 1400ft of fun climbing on
perfect snow. We swapped
stories and laughed like always, and with a few hundred feet left we had a
couple options. We wanted to stay on snow as long as possible so we crossed a
bit of scree onto more snow and finished up right on the summit to the feet of
tourists wondering where the heck we came from. The couloir took a relaxing
1.5hrs also. We answered the usual questions and some guy even wanted his
picture taken with us…. Made us feel like some kind of hero’s! Only took
30mins back to the car via the standard Crags route along the NW face.
8/22/10, Barr Trail from downtown Manitou and back to Manitou, Pikes Peak
Marathon, 5hrs 24mins.
9/25/10, Barr Trail, 7hrs 55mins total. Full moon hike to complete the grid row.
Some aspens, not many people. 2hrs to Barr Camp, 4:10 to summit. So quiet.
Didn't even need headlamp above treeline. Beautiful full moon, strange
shadows.... just fantastic. Needed headlamp once in trees most of the way.
8/21/11, Barr Trail from downtown Manitou and back to Manitou, Pikes Peak
Marathon, 5hrs 13mins.
8/27/12, With Homie Prater from just below Glen Cove for his 14ers record
1/9/13, Bike the Pikes Highway from Crystal Reservoir. 3hrs up, 1hr down.
26.5miles. With the highway now open to bikes and a stellar forecast (22 degree,
5-10mph wind), I couldn't resist the opportunity for a Pikes winter bike ascent.
Not too bad going up, mostly one gear above granny. I had on 4 layers of
clothes, balaclava, and goggles for the way down.
7/19/14, Gotta get up there at least once a year! A sleepy run up/down Barr
Trail starting at 4am. 6hrs 40mins. Herd of bighorn sheep on the summit. 40th
time up Pikes, 200th 14er ascent!
7/3/15, From the Crags with Andrew Hamilton as part of his 14ers record-attempt.
10:20pm start, 12:50am summit, 2:25am finish.
6/11/16, Rumdoodle Ridge and Y-couloir (left branch) with Kyle. 4.5hrs. Great
weather and an awesome day revisiting a closeby favorite.
9/9/17, From Crags with Keith and Nicholls for a long overdue "we're gettin'
the band back together". 14miles, 4600ft. 3hrs up, great weather and lots
of laughs. Went up Little Pikes Peak and Devils Playground Peak on the way down,
just under 6hrs round trip. Willow's 5th for a pooped pup.
6/15/18, Pikes Peak double crossing. 33.7 miles, 12,029ft, 10hrs 48mins. Started
at 1am, up Cog steps, to summit in 3:12 (too early for sunrise), down to Crags
(5:10), up to summit (8:00), down Barr Trail.
8/10/18, 20.7 miles, 5:45, up the Cog steps down Barr Trail.
6/1/19, 2.8 miles, 3hrs. Rumdoodle Ridge to Railroad Coulior with James. Felt
like cheating parking at Devils Playground then getting dropped off at Rumdoodle
Ridge by a shuttle. Fun scramble down the ridge, dropped into the Bottomless
Pit, fun snow cruise up the coulior to the hordes of tourists and construction
on the summit. Since we were hiking "Euro style" we decided to take
the shuttle back to the truck also.
5/9/20, 16 miles, 5.5hrs. Crags from winter closure. 2:55 up. Added Little Pikes
Peak and Devils Playground Peak.
6/20/20, 30 miles, 9.5hrs. 2am start, Barr trail to summit to Devils Playground
and back. Freezing hands up top and lots of slipping and sliding on the fresh
7/17/21, from The Crags with Miles Boy Scout Troop. 20th 14er for Miles, 50th
Pikes summit for me. We (7 kids, 5 adults) hiked in 1.5 miles to the last stream
crossing on Friday evening and setup camp just as it started raining for a bit.
Jean hiked in early in the morning and met us at the tent as we were cooking
breakfast. On the trail by 6:10am Saturday, slow pace up to treeline and the saddle below
Devils Playground then the kids were flyin' along the gentle slope. Across the
highway and the kids were singing and having a great ole time. So impressed with
Miles fitness level, ability, and hiking knowledge. Finally at the last steep
slope and on the summit after 4hrs! Tons of pictures, donuts, and checking out
the new summit house and we started down after close to an hour, around 11am. We
slowly picked our way down the rocky slope then the kids were flying again.
Since the dark clouds were building we just took one long break near Devils
Playground and heard a couple rumbles of thunder. It wasn't long before we were
below treeline then back at camp a little after 7hrs total. Drinks, food, naps,
rain, then a fun night around the campfire as the kids raged and did hysterical
9/2/22. Annual summit of Pikes, from Crags. 2:25 to summit. 4:45 round trip.
Little Pikes Peak and Devils Playground Peak also.
Sherman: 14,036 ft.
6/21/98 Sunday. 8 miles round trip, 4.5 hours total. Got to the trail head
around 8:30 a.m. and started hiking. Some dark clouds in the sky in front of us
and we headed back to the car when it started raining. Decided to wait it out
and started a little farther up the 4X4 road. Not even 20 minutes into hiking it
started snowing!! We got a kick out of the fact that it was the first day of
summer. Followed the trail up past some old mining building and got to the talus
slope. Figured that we would go up on a slant instead of straight up. We tried
to stay in the snow whenever we could so we could get better foot holds. Spent
plenty of time crawling up using our hands. Made it to the saddle connecting Mt.
Sherman to Mt. Sheridan and the wind almost blew us over the side. Extremely
windy and cold but made it to the summit and didn’t stay for long due to dark
clouds rolling in. Instead of walking down we were able to slide most of the way
down on our feet and butts like we were sledding. Got back to the car just when
the hail started coming down.
12/7/03, From camp above Fourmile Creek TH. The 3 13ers and camping out in the
high winds wasn't quite enough for me and Aconcagua training so I decided to
take a run up Sherman too, with a full pack. There were some dark clouds and
snow reports not far off so I wanted to hustle. I took the steep scree both up
and down this time, worked out pretty well since it was all pretty frozen. Got
to the summit in 1.5hrs and decided to skip Gemini since the cloud were close
and moving fast. Some quick foot skiing and hiking got me back to the truck in
just over 2hrs. A great training w/end!
5/21/04, Fourmile Creek TH. ~8miles round trip. Just under 6hrs total. After 7
weeks of doing absolutely nothing with a pulled groin it was finally time to get
back into the mtns. Peggy has been wanting to climb Sherman so I figured that
would be a good test of the leg and possibly hop over to the high 13ers, Gemini
and Dyer. We were able to get all the way to the TH with no snow problems. The
hike up to the mines was mixed between packed snow and rocks, easy stuff. There
was a giant cornice between Sheridian and and Sherman so we opted to skip that
route, I've also done the direct scree slope twice now, so we went for the
saddle between Sherman and White Ridge. We got a little higher then we wanted,
then took a steeper slope then intended, but got up to the high ridge just about
to the summit. We used only snowshoes and that was fine for the steep slope. It
was real windy as usual on the summit, so we dropped down a bit for a bite to
eat before heading over to Gemini. Summited Sherman again on the return trip
3/6/05, Skipped up Sherman again with Jean and Denali after getting my truck
stuck in the snow, backpacking up to 12,600ft, and camping. A beautiful, yet
windy, day finished off with a fun glissade after hopping over the Gemini and
back over the summit of Sherman! Man, that ridge looks so awesome with all the
wind blown snow! Just over 5hrs from camp.
7/19/15, Part of 24hrs of 14ers.
9/9/16, Part of 6 14ers with Eric in 11hrs, starting with Quandary at midnight.
Cold and windy.
4.6miles, 1986ft, 5hrs. Miles 3rd 14ers, Asher's 1st, and Willow's 4th. With
Asher moving next week, we figured this would be a good way to get in the mtns
and have the boys spend some time together. We camped at the Horseshoe CG along
Fourmile Creek road and got a 6am-ish start. Slow and easy going during the
chilly morning with lots of snack breaks and the boys having a good old time.
Got to the summit in 2hrs 40mins where a dog took a bite out of Miles sandwich
right out of his hand. Great weather and fun chilling. Got down in exactly 5hrs
and Asher declared it was his favorite day of hiking ever. Most of the hiking
conversation was about Godzilla and King Kong, and the entire drive home the
boys spoke nonsense with an English accent.
1/28/21, 9.7miles, 3,052ft, 4hrs 35mins. January grid spot from the winter
parking for Willow and I. Used microspikes the whole day. 2hrs 40mins to summit,
real windy along the ridge.
4/30/21, 8.4miles, 3,373ft. 3hrs 40mins. April grid spot from the Leavick mine
for Willow and I. Used microspiked the whole day again. 1hr 50mins to summit on
a warm day, had time to go over to Sheridan. Snow was getting real soft.
10/29/21, 11.3miles, 4,326ft, 5hrs. October grid spot from the 12k gate. The
weather was so nice that I went over to White Ridge also, then back towards
Sherman, over to Sheridan, Peerless and Horseshoe.
7/2/22, 13.3, 4,934ft, 5hrs 10mins. July grid spot. White Ridge, Sherman,
Gemini, Sheridan, Peerless, Horseshoe, Finnback Knob.
ft.; Mt. Cameron, 14,238 ft.; Mt.Lincoln,
14,286 ft.; Mt. Bross, 14,172 ft. 6/28/98 Sunday. 7 mile
round trip, approx. 6 hours total. We camped at Kite Lake Campground, 12,000
ft., at the base of the cirque containing three of the summits. Absolutely
beautiful summer day, not a cloud in the sky. We packed up and started on the
trail up Democrat at 7:00 a.m. Only a few patches of snow to cross on the way
up. The slopes were mostly large rocks so climbing up them wasn’t so bad. Got
to the saddle connecting Democrat and Cameron and summited Democrat around 10:00
a.m. Followed the saddle across to Cameron which wasn’t so easy. Long and
steep at sections. Camerons peak was large and rounded, but a nice change. The
hike to Lincoln's peak was short but rewarding. The summit was small and couldn’t
hold more than a handful of hikers. Plenty of people hiking up the south slope
with snowboards. The trip to Bross was long but easy because it was not steep
till the end. The reward of doing all 4 summits was sliding down atleast 1500
to 1700 feet of snow along Bross’ steep side right back to the campground.
Great day of hiking but never again will we forget to bring sun screen!!
8/10/03, Mt. Bross/S. Bross/Lincoln/Cameron, mountain biked from junction of
Kite Lake Rd and CR415; 19 miles and 4hrs round trip, over 3000ft elevation.
Gregg and I thought it would be fun to mtn bike up an 14er and believe it or
not, it was! These were perfect ones because mining and 4x4 roads go right to
the summit of Bross and all the hiker traffic leaves a nice wide, somewhat
smooth trail; Only took 2hrs to slug up to the summit of Bross where Peggy just
arrived from Kite Lake, from there it was an hour to hangout, go to S. Bross
(unofficial 14er) and make it over to Lincoln. I had to carry my bike on my back
the last 50 or so vertical feet to the summit of Lincoln, but it was worth it.
About 40mins to Cameron and back to Bross, then a screamin' 30mins down over
3000ft vertical! That was the reward and it was so worth it! The best was the
looks on people's faces and what they had to say when they saw us biking at 14K!
I was messing with some of them saying we took a wrong turn on the way to
Breckenridge and others seemed interested to try it themselves. Unfortunately
there wasn't a keg on top on Lincoln like some said.
7/5/10: After Quandary in 2.5hrs, I drove to Kite Lake since there wasn't a
cloud in the sky. Its been too long since I was in this area. Some good PPM
training and I kept the HR all aerobic. One hour to the summit of Democrat,
50mins to the summit of Cameron, 12mins to Lincoln, 30mins to Bross, and 40mins
down. Including Quandary, a total of 14miles, 6640ft and 5hrs 47mins.
10/01/10, DeCaLiBron from Kite Lake with Denali. 2hrs 50mins. Jogged some of the
3/4/11, Lincoln, Cameron, Bross. 12miles, 4000ft, 5.5hrs. Bad forecast and was
going to bail until Bill Houghton said "let the weather change your plans,
not the weatherman." Parked at the Paris Hill Mine and skied up to Kite
Lake in 1hr. Windy and partially overcast. Heading towards Democrat but didn't
like the snow and bailed back towards Bross. Picked an awful ridge to go up and
was really getting worked over, popped out on the Cameron/Bross saddle. Crazy
windy. Over to Lincoln (3:10), getting blown over, skis acting like a sail on my
pack. No reason to stop, headed to Cameron (3:30), then over to Bross (4:00).
Still no reason to stop and down the standard route of Bross, mostly wind-blown.
Back near the lake at 4:50 and strapped on the skis again for an easy ski back
to the car. A little frost-nip on my face yet a great butt-kicker in the mtns.
4/15/11, Bross, Cameron, Lincoln. 11.3 miles, 3920ft, 5hrs 13mins. Cold and
windy all day. Started from Paris Mine, visability kept going in and out. Full
battle gear on right from the start. Only a couple stops for hand/toe warmers
and heavier gloves, too cold to eat or take pictures. Bross summit in 2:20,
didn't look at my watch on Cameron or Lincoln... too busy leaning into the wind
and keeping "the boys" warm." The sky cleared up as the day went
on, but not the wind. A good whoopin' in the hills and completed the
"seasonal grid" row for these peaks.
9/2/11, Democrat. Jean and I both had the day off so we dropped Miles off at
school and headed to the hills with Denali. Beautiful weather and a slight chill
to the breeze, we were on the summit of Democrat in 1.5hrs. Instead of rushing
up/down the others we took our time getting down and had lunch in Alma.
1/2/12, DeCaLiBron. A free day and a gentle winter so far. Started at 3 miles up
Kite Lake Rd on skis... for about 100yds, then all dirt the rest of the way.
Stashed my skis behind the Kite Lake bathroom and was up Democrat after 2hrs.
40mins to Cameron, 25mins to Lincoln, 30mins to Bross. The recent high winds has
blown away most of the scree on the trail. Moving fast and back to the car in
5/3/12, DeCaLiBron. Denali and I went up the SE ridge from directly behind the
bathroom at the TH for a welcomed change of pace. Steep and fun rocks to hop
around. A warm and no-wind day. Summit of Democrat in 50mins, on Bross in 2.5,
figured we could make it down in under 3hrs, back at the truck in 2:55. Closed
out the seasonal grid row for Democrat.
7/19/15, Part of 24hrs of 14ers.
9/9/16, Part of 6 14ers with Eric in 11hrs, starting with Quandary at midnight.
Cold and windy.
11/11/16, November grid spot. 3:10 total.
2/2/17, Bross/Cameron/Lincoln. 12miles, 6hrs, 3855ft from the Paris Mill Mine
winter closure. February grid spot and gear shake-down on AT skis. Windy and
cold. Wore skis up to.
Democrat. 5hrs 10mins, 4.5miles, 2,116 ft. Miles first 14er! Miles, Willow, and
I slept in the truck, woke up at 5am, met Runkle his kids and friend at 5:30am.
Miles did awesome the entire time and I had to keep slowing him down. Summited
in 3hrs 15mins with a chilly breeze. Busy day on the mtn, but so proud of Miles
and great to see how proud of himself that he way.
12/30/17, Bross/Cameron/Lincoln, 12miles, 6hrs, 3714ft. Last monthly grid spot!
Brought skis, was only able to wear them for about a mile, left them at the Kite
Lake bathroom. Not too cold, but incredibly windy all day. Nearly knocked off my
feet a few times and hunkered down several times.
7/14/18, Mt Bross, 4.7 miles, 2,464ft, 4.5hrs. #5 for Miles, #10 for Willow!
Only Bross since Miles was still sleepy from a zoo sleepover and some dark
clouds weren't far off.
7/21/19, Cameron and Lincoln. 6.5 miles, 6 hours, 2,500ft. #7 and #8 for Miles.
Got the TH the evening before, Willow and I slept in the tent, Miles and Jean
slept in the car. Up around 4:30am to pack up, make coffee and oatmeal. Not a
cloud in the sky all day, and a chill to the wind. Cameron after 2:40, Lincoln
30 mins later.
Peak: 14,270 ft.;
Torreys Peak, 14267 ft, 9/5/98 Saturday. 8 mile round trip
took close to 6 hours. We left the Springs at 4:30 a.m. and got to the trail
head of Steven Gulch around 7:00 a.m. The 3 mile road to the trail head was
extremely rough and I thought for sure that my oil pan or exhaust pipe would be
left behind! It was a beautiful day and perfect for hiking. When we got towards
the main trail leading up Grays we could see about 5 mountain goats up on the
connecting ridge. On top of Grays there was a ham radio operator(of course) and
I turned east and saw a mountain goat coming up behind me about 10-12 feet away!
There was only a small amount of snow on the east side of the saddle. From
Torreys peak Brekenridge and the Democrat group could be seen and Dillon Res.
next to the town of Frisco. Also from Torreys peak about 20-25 people could be
seen standing on the top of Grays peak and it looked like a line of
coming up the trail! It was not even cold up on the peaks or the saddle and a
beautiful day to be in shorts at 14,270 feet.
5/15/05, Kelso Ridge, 7hrs 50mins. Kelso Ridge has been on my "to
climb" list for quite some time now and Keith, John
S. and I finally got to it. It was a fantastic climb of mixed rock and steep
snow. Huge cornices and just a slight bit of pucker factor. 4.5hrs to Torreys,
35mins to Grays, and ~1500ft glissade back down! What a ride!
5/20/05, Dead Dog Couloir, 7hrs, 25mins. Another route up Torrey's that I've
been jonsin' to do!! The snow was in great shape and it was a WONDERFUL climb.
Couldn't ask for anything better. Jean was a bit nervous at first, being only
her second snow climb, but did awesome! As did Denali the wonder-mutt. Popped
over to Grays afterwards and did the same glissade as the previous week. Gotta
love spring-time in Colorado!!!!
5/6/07, Grays standard route and NE ridge. 7hrs 30mins, 12 miles, 4450 ft. Too much new snow to climb Lost Rat
couloir, but still hiked up Stevens Gulch from I70 despite the awful forecasts. What
started as a beautiful day turned to a blizzard for most of the day! Still
hammered it up to the summit in 6-18" of new snow along the NE ridge after
Jean and Denali stayed down around 12,800ft.
6/15/07, Emperor Couloir, 4hrs 30mins. "One of the longest snow climbs in
Colorado". WOWZA! Wayne bounced his 4Runner up to 10,800ft and at 11,200ft
we were on snow allllll the way to the summit. Got steeper as we went up and a
bit of pucker factor swinging a leg up and over a cornice. Took 2:50 to summit,
hung out for 30mins talking to some young kids just starting the 14ers and
glissaded/boot-skied down the NW Couloir. Short and sweet!
1/18/10, Kelso Ridge, 6hrs 30mins, 6.5miles 3500'; Keith and I were able to
drive all the way to the summer TH luckily. 1hr to the saddle with good ole
Kelso Ridge starin' us down. The intro is short, and the scrambling begins. At
the first obstacle we put on crampons and ended up leaving them on the rest of
the day. Taking things slowly we picked our route carefully and had the whole
mixed bag of scrambling, loose rock/scree, solid snow, sugar snow on top of
loose rock, etc. This is such an awesome climb because after each difficulty ya
get a break before the next. The final obstacle is the knife-edge white rock
ridge. Keith went to the right and I went over the top riding it like a horse.
Lots of pucker factor! After almost 3hrs on the ridge we topped out with giant
smiles on our faces. A break, then over to Grays since its right there. We were
able to stay on hard snow the entire way and followed the trail down all the way
back. Didn't see a single person the entire day, and only had to dig the Tahoe
out of a snowbank once on the drive back to the highway. I was jonsin' for a
good hard winter climb and this definitely "fed the rat".
10/29/10, Standard Route, 6hrs 30mins. 14miles, 5000ft. Achin' to get into the
high-country, wanted to try out the new Scarpa Charmoz, and tick off a couple
more grid-spots. I only drove a ~1/2mile above the Bakerville exit, warm morning
but I could hear the wind up high. To the summer TH in 50mins, wish I brought my
snowshoes since it was mostly a wallow for the next section to the
"sign". 1:50 to the "sign", glad that was over and knew it
would suck on the way back too. Breathing pretty hard and getting sand-blasted
by snow, but kept on going despite lots of short stops. I was able to stay on
the trail the entire way, on the summit after 3.5hrs. 45mins to Torreys. To
avoid wind-slab snow I went a couple hundred feet above the saddle, then joined
the Grays trail again. More post-holing then sliding down the road. A great day
up high for me and Denali.
8/19/11, Run Grays/Torreys. 1:10 to Grays summit, 1:29 to Torreys, 2:29 total.
Met up with James and Kevin in the parking lot just as they got back.
5/26/13, Emperor Coulior with Hoot, Nicholls, and Danielle. 7miles, 4600ft,
9hrs. Parked just past Grizzly Gulch, an hour later we were starting up 3K of
snow. Great conditions with a fun and steep finish. Went over to Grays then back
to Grizzly Gulch via the saddle between Kelso and Torreys. Wallowing in deep
7/19/14, Dead Dog coulior. Peaks as part of 24hrs of 14ers.
5/14/18, Part of Steven's Gulch to Loveland Pass with Eric. A great 5 peak day
13.5miles and 7300ft.
7/26/19, A quick run/hike up G&T on the way to the Grand Mesa 55k. Started
at 11:30am from the upper TH, dark clouds but they never changed. 1:20 up Grays,
20mins to Torreys, 2hrs 45mins RT.
7/1/20, 8.5 miles, 6hrs, 3,800ft. Miles 11th and 12th 14ers! While at the condo
Miles, Willow, and I took advantage of the mid-week to avoid the crowds. Miles
was cruising right along and we summited Grays in just under 3hrs. A chilly
breeze up high during snacks. About 45mins over to Torreys feeling the cold wind
the entire way. Easily back to the saddle, across the snow, and back down
chatting away and enjoying the great weather. Back to the truck in just over
6hrs and off to the condo to relax and eat, eat, eat.
Harvard: 14,420 ft.
12.6 miles. 9/12/98 Saturday. Myself, Mike Reading and Mike Hrebner left the
Springs at 4:30 a.m. and got to the trailhead at 7:00 a.m. Mike’s car almost
didn’t make it up the road, it was extremely rough in most places and we
bottomed out several times. Once above timberline we saw a herd of close to 50
mountain goats on the side of Mt. Columbia. The weather started to turn and dark
clouds moved in but didn’t look too threatening. Once we were on the scree
slope in started to drizzle, a little farther up it was raining, then hailing,
and near the top it was snowing! I felt nausea a few times near the top but Mike
was leaned over his pole for the duration of every stop. We passed a girl who
said she was sitting up near the top for some time and was about to fall asleep,
pretty smart of her. To get to the highest point we had to do some boulder
scrambling on wet rocks. Met a guy who also went to Penn State at the top and
had lunch and snacks. The temperature was a whopping 38 degrees. It ended up
taking almost exactly 5 hours to get to the summit and a little more than 3
hours to get back to the car. We didn’t even attempt the 2.2 mile,
intimidating looking saddle over to Mt. Columbia. Next time!
A belated birthday backpacking trip with Jean while Miles was at Lori and
Cody's, Denali's 9th birthday also. 10.5miles, 3140ft, ~8hrs from camp to the
summit and back to the TH. We started from camp just before 6am in the dark, the
sunrise with the clouds was
awesome. Such a beautiful area that its been too long since my last visit. About
3hrs to the summit and we had some "summit pringles" after we got Jean
up the little scramble. The clouds were not threatening and a chill to the air,
Fall is on its way! So great to be out backpacking with Jean again and we got
back to camp, packed up, and headed out for lunch at Coyote Cantina.
11/5/12, 2.5hrs up, 4:40 total. Felt great all day and really cooked along. So
tempted to traverse to Columbia, but I told Jean I was only doing Harvard.
8/26/22, Finally the Harvard-Columbia Traverse! 2:45 to summit of Harvard with
clouds swirling all around and signs of recent rain/hail. I questioned heading
to Columbia but decided to start and watch the weather, soon it was pea-soup.
Not too hard to follow and didn't start raining until the last slope up
Columbia. 1:50 for the traverse. Rained the entire way down, 6:35 total.
Elbert: 14,433 ft.
9 miles. 9/27/98 Sunday. We camped at Elbert creek campground near the trailhead
Saturday night and woke up to ice on the tent! Started the trail around 8:00a.m.
but got detoured for the first 20 minutes. Not a cloud in the sky the whole day.
What we thought was the summit turned out not to be, but the trail was pretty
steep most of the way up. Summited after 5 hours and just took in the view for
about a half an hour. It was nice seeing patches of yellow aspens on the
surrounding ranges and how tiny Leadville looked. It took about 2.5 hours to get
back to the car for the 2.5 hour ride home.
6/6/03, Northeast Ridge II, same as above. Hendler was in town so after partying
and closing the bar Thursday night we (me, Hendler and Denali) made it to the TH
at 10am. Keyword = "Uber" for the day. Had great weather and made it
to the summit in around 4hrs. Hendler was pretty dizzy but not as bad as on
Pikes two years ago. To the west a killer storm was blowing in so we ate real
quick and headed back down. Denali's first 14er and he did fantastic! Got hit
with some sideways snow and crazy ole winds which blew through pretty quick.
Back in the tree's was real nice and we were looking forward to the after-hike
beers already! Finished in a little over 6hrs with breaks, clothing adjustments,
and Hendler taking bird pictures.
9/28/03, Northeast Ridge II, 12 miles (w/ South Elbert). 6.5hrs. This was a
training climb for Aconcagua, a good finish to a w/end that I hiked 3 13ers the
day before and mtn biked 40 miles the day before that! The Aspens were looking
fabulous all around and there wasn't much snow on top. After finding the group
above the TH then splitting up from the group Bob, Wayne and I made a speed dash
to the summit to get a good workout in. Took just over 3hrs to summit, then
another hour to get to South Elbert and back. A great ending to a self-induced
2/19/06 11.2miles, 4850ft gain, 8hrs 45mins, East Ridge from South Elbert TH.
After a great day ice climbing in Vail we staying in Leadville for hopes of a
winter Elbert summit. The weather was great in the morning as we left the TH on
the packed snow 4x4 road. After an hour and a couple stops we were at the 4x4 TH
and were happy to see the trail was packed beyond. Another 200yds on the
Colorado Trail and we started the steep climb through the trees. We were both feeling
the full-body soreness from ice climbing the day before and kept an eye on the
clouds/snow to the south. Popping out at treeline we still had a faint trail to
follow and stashed our snowshoes at 12,900ft since it looked like we could stay
on rocks and hard snow the rest of the way. The wind picked up some but the
temps were still above zero (barely) so we kept pushing on while taking the
occasional bearing and looking behind us for
landmarks for the return trip. Around 14K we had a brief pow-wow and pep-talks
and decided to push on the last 400+ft to the summit. After 5.5hrs we were on
the highest peak in Colorado in the middle of winter!!!!! We didn't stay on the
summit long at all and made quick time of getting back down with some glissades
and foot skiing. No problems finding the snowshoes and the trail on the way
down, before long we were back on the Colorado Trail for the ~2mile slog back to
the car. The Yukon never looked so great and felt so warm as we hopped in with
thoughts of great food from Coyote Cantina!!!
8/20/10, NE Ridge via mtn bike! I
always figured Mt Elbert’s standard route was mtn bike-able. I’ve biked the
six other 14ers that I thought were possible, so may as well put this bear to
rest as the final one. A day off work and wanting to get out, needing August and
Summer Elbert for my grids, a perfect forecast, and my bike lookin’ to get
some action…. Off we go! I left home a little after 4am and it was pretty
cloudy between BV and Leadville. When the clouds did open up I saw quite a bit
of new snow on Massive. D’oh! At the TH it was bright and sunny and Denali was
doing his usual high-speed laps. The ride south up the Colorado Trail is great
biking, reminded me to move “bike Colo Trail segments” higher up the to-do
list. It’s about 1.5miles of some packed dirt ups and downs, with some easy
rocks, before the turn-off west at the giant “Mt Elbert” sign with an arrow.
Heading west was almost all rideable though there were some spots I hopped off
to push over some rocks or steps that just weren’t worth the energy (gotta
save some energy for the Pikes Peak Marathon on Sunday!) Got to treeline after
an hour and a perfect spot to take a break and suck down some gu. Halfway with
the mileage but still 2700’ to go. The next 1000’ or so were short rideable
sections and some pushin’ pullin’ and draggin’. Higher up it was mostly
pushin’ with the occasional section that I could ride. I tried to get on
whenever I could despite it just being short sections. I passed a few people
that thought they were hallucinating when they saw a mtn bike up there! After
2.5hrs the summit was in sight and I rode the last 50ft happy to be up there on
such a gorgeous morning! Took 2hrs 40mins up. About 6 others up there and one
guy hauled up a watermelon to share and even gave me a can of Budweiser for my
efforts to get my bike up there. Pictures, laughs, views, etc. I was looking
forward to the ride down and goal #1 was to keep all my teeth in my mouth and
avoid any visits to the ER. I crashed twice within the first few hundred feet. I
had to hop off my bike several times to avoid a potential big crash and kept my
feet loose on the pedals for the many foot-dabs. After the tricky sections it
was smooth sailing and absolutely fantastic riding! I kept my speed in check so
Denali could enjoy his run. Back at treeline once again and it was root-hoppin’
rock-ridin’ fun. I wanted to turn right on the Colorado Trail and keep going
to Durango. Back at the car after about 4hrs 15mins total. In the saddle about
50% on the way up and about 90% on the way down. Hhhmmm, I wonder if Grays and
Torreys would be a fun ride?!
7/8/12, East Ridge from 4x4 TH with Kyle, Molly, and Denali. During a family
camping trip at Lakeview CG Kyle and I went up Elbert's easy east ridge since we
were camped right next to it. It was cloudy and 60% chance of heavy rain but we
caught a break in the weather and scooted up in 3hrs, down in 2hrs. Kyle's
second 14er and a July grid spot for me. Always great to visit the highest point
6/19/16, An early morning jog up/down the standard route while camping at Elbert
Creek with the family and neighbors. 1:52 up, 3:10 round trip.
6/30/17, Part of Nolans attempt.
8/11/20, NE Ridge, 10 miles, 4560ft. 7hrs. #15 for Miles! After work on Monday
Miles, Willow, and I left home and camped along the road 1.5miles from the TH.
Woke up at 5am, did the usual coffee, hot chocolate, and oatmeal, packed up camp
and got to the dusty TH at 6am. Enough light for headlamps not needed, and we
headed up the trail recounting how Miles and Asher got lost in this exact area.
D'oh! We were both feeling sluggish and labored breathing, we thought it was
from the dust and later figured it was likely from wildfire smoke. Taking plenty
of breaks and going slow, we broke out of treeline then towards the false
summits. Surprisingly quite a few people for a Tuesday morning. Around 4hrs in,
one last false summit and we were at the highest point in Colorado! Miles was
feeling quite accomplished and many people were amazed that he was 11yrs old and
had 15 14ers under his belt. A few clouds building, and down we went. All of a
sudden there was a loud road and a F16 flew up through the valley sideways and
over the summit! Seconds later a second one followed. Holy Crap!! Not long after
it started to snow a tiny bit. Down, down, down, with Willow chasing marmots,
and back to the dust. One last break at the Colorado Trail and back at the TH in
just over 7hrs. Miles was smoked from a long and tough day. We drank our celebratory beverages and headed to Leadville for
Wild Bills burgers, then to Keystone for a week of chilling, SUP'ing, and
avoiding the smoke.
ft. 6 miles 1/30/99 Saturday. Met Mike Reading and Ted Peters at work at 4:30
a.m. and left for Guanella Pass in Georgetown. Beautiful day to start off with
and we strapped on the snow shoes and started. The first mile goes downhill
through the Willows and it was quite a pain in the ass to get through them at
times. Doesn’t seem like fun in the summer! I thought for sure that I was
going to rip my pants. The clouds started to darken and we saw an awesome
rainbow above the ridge from the sun rising behind it. It begun to get steep
after the drainage and we were making our own small switch-backs around the
rocks. Ted and Mike started slowing down so I went ahead and got to the summit
in about 4.5 hours. Visibility was no more than 20 feet so the view wasn’t too
spectacular. Met some Flyers fans at the top and chatted with them and other
groups who summited while waiting an hour for Mike and Ted. By that time I was
freezing and wanted to get off as fast as possible. Didn’t have to put on the
snow shoes again till the willows because it was easier to slid down on our
feet. At one point I sat on by shovel and slid down part of the way. We found
out later that week that Mike had walking pneumonia. All in all I thought it was
one of the easier 14’ers that I have done so far even in the snow.
11/23/02, from Guanella Pass with Peggy and Gregg. Acclimatization hike for Pico
de Orizaba. Not quite enough snow to use our snowshoes but we carried them along
just in case. Pretty windy up top and cold enough to make the fingers and toes
numb. Biggest difference this time...could actually see more than 20ft and took
4.5hrs round trip!
8/13/06, Tour d'Abyss with Steve Nicholls. See Evans TR below.
6/18/11, 7miles, 2850ft, Standard route, 3hrs. Wanting to complete another
"seasonal grid row" yet not wanting to miss Fathers day, I got up at
12:30am and Denali and I were hiking by 3am. Lots of mud and icy grass. On the
summit after 1hrs 25mins, didn't need more then a fleece. Slipped several times
on the way down, plenty of folks just starting out as I got back to the parking
lot at 6am. The improved road up Guanella Pass is much easier to drive.
12/17/13, 10.4miles, 3466ft, 6hrs, Standard route from winter closure on
Guanella Pass rd. Played hooky from work to hike with Bob. First time at
altitude since surgery.
2/13/15, 13.4miles, 4380ft, 8hrs, with The Cyborg (John Balciar). Standard route
up in 2.5hrs, high pucker factor across the Sawtooth, up Evans (5hrs total) and
West Evans. Down the Gomer Gully for deep snow wallowing through willows and
heat. A gorgeous day for the middle of February.
7/20/15, Part of 24hrs of 14ers.
7/14/19, Standard route with Jean and Miles (his 6th 14er). Camped at Geneva
Lake CG on the Grant side of Guanella Pass, started at 5:30ish, got to the
summit 3hrs and
15mins later with hordes of other people. Laughed about Beavis and Butthead on
the way down. 5hrs 45mins total.
9/3/19, quick run up Bierstadt on the way to Keystone. 1:15 up, 2:15 RT. Lots of
sheep and goats up high.
10/1/21, October grid spot after spending the night at Nicholls. Some snow and
ice up high, good aspen colors. 1:26 up, 2:40 RT.
5/14/22, A long overdue hike with JV and Homie from the winter TH. It was windy
and I wondered if I brought enough clothes. Walked right across the snow and
didn't even see the river. Warmer and less wind the higher we went. Summit in
2:10, no wind, spend about 20mins. A little slippery on the way down and we just
started post-holing near the end, feeling bad for the folks that started late
since they would have mush on the way out. 4:10 round trip.
ft. 2 miles 6/13/99 Sunday. Jamie and I got to the south slope trailhead around
10 of 9 and parked at the dam. We could see from there the huge snow slope that
we would get to slide down. Climbed up over the dam and got to the snow and just
followed someone else’s tracks and foot holds most of the way up. Later the
snow started getting mushy from the sun and we moved over to the rocks and dirt.
Ended up taking 2.5 hours to get to the top and wasn’t difficult at all. After
hiking down about 200 yards the snow couloir started and we sat on our asses and
slid the entire way down in someone else’s track. It was like a mile long,
2500 vertical foot water slide! We ended up soaked but it was worth it to
descend in 10 minutes.
12/22/01, Southeast ridge. The snow at A-Basin's opening day wasn't too great
and Quandary looked so tempting! I wasn't able to drive all the way to the
trailhead so I jogged the mile to the trailhead then jogged to timberline. From
there hiked the rest of the way up in my old running shoes. It was snowing like
crazy on the way down!
3/14/03, Southeast ridge. With Cassel, Bruce and Bruce. Best part was the speedy
"shovel descent". Took 8hrs round-trip.
12/3/04, Southeast ridge. With Hendler and Denali. A great day with blue skis,
good snow, and some high winds. Took 7hrs round-trip. Hendler did great
considering he was in New Jersey the night before and we spent too long at the
brewery. I was hoping to tele up and down, but there wasn't good snow-cover up
high. Used snowshoes the entire way and had some interesting snow/ice formations
on the final summit ridge. Heard a couple "whumps" underfoot on the
snowfield right out of the trees, but nothing that seemed dangerous.
6/10/06, Cristo Couloir. Started off a bad morning with a full moon, waking up
at 3:30am, Keith running over a hose and getting a flat and bending the rim, etc
etc etc. Did this as a snow climb for Rainer training. Only took 2.5hrs to the
top and Keith and I tried to descend the west ridge but kept running into
problems, so we headed back down the Cristo Couloir and caught up with Jean and
Beth. 20yds from the car Jean broke her ankle, luckily we were so close to the
car and hospital. OUCH!!!!
7/5/10: Some good PPM training despite running a fever and feeling like crap the
day before. Keeping the HR below 160 the entire time, made it to the summit in
1:32. Counted 214 people on the way down and back to the car in 2:36. A nice day
and no clouds so I head to Kite Lake for DeCaLiBron! 14miles, 6640ft, 5hrs
9/17/10, East Ridge with Denali and Dad! 7hrs 44mins. What a way to celebrate
his 63rd birthday. On the summit after 5hrs, champagne and TastyKakes. Lots of
stops, but we had all day with great weather and just a little bit of wind.
4/26/13, Ski east ridge with Kevin. 3hrs up, 45mins down. Spent an hour in great
weather on the summit. Felt like crap most of the day.
6/19/15, Part of 24hrs of 14ers. Many goats.
7/18/15, A run up while camping at Lake Dillon. 1:07 up, 1:58 round trip.
9/9/16, Part of 6 14ers with Eric in 11hrs, starting with Quandary at midnight.
Cold and windy.
6/2/17, a quick jaunt up the snowy east ridge while in Keystone for the week.
1.5hrs up, 2hr 45mins round trip. Missed the trail at treeline and ended up near
the mine in snow and downed trees.
5/15/18, May grid spot while in Keystone. 1:40 up, 2:40 RT.
8/24/18, August grid spot. 1:43 up, 3:20 RT. Going slow with Willow and dealing
with a cold.
11/16/18, November grid spot. 2:17up, 3:37 RT. Snow the whole way with Willow.
9/1/19, 3:36up, 6:17 RT. Miles 10th 14er! He's had Quandary on his radar and we
wanted to make it happen this summer. We camped just up the road from the TH and
started around 5:45am by headlamp. Slow and steady the entire was up with
hundreds of other hikers. Miles was pretty pooped and wasn't sure he was going
to make it. After 3hrs 36mins, we were on the summit. So proud! A nice long
summit lounge in perfect weather then we headed down, seeing some mtn goats on
the way. The rocky and steep terrain definitely kicked his butt, and we
recovered with our traditional Mountain Burger and icy on the way home. Lots of
laughs from Miles telling us about "Big Chungus" and "WhatAreThose?!"
10/16/20, October grid spot for me and Willow. Real windy up high. 1hr 35mins
up, 3hrs round trip.
1/16/21, January grid spot with Nicholls on a windy day. 2:40 up, 4hr round
2/19/21, February grid spot to finish off the row. Snowshoes the entire way.
Wind wasn't as bad as predicted but cold cold cold. Had Tom and Nicholls on my
mind all day. 2:20 to the summit, 3:45 roundtrip.
Evans: 14,264 ft.
2 miles 6/20/99 Sunday. Drove to the summit lake trailhead and saw about 10
mountain goats hanging out near the bathroom, including babies. We went right up
close to them and they didn’t even move. Hiked up the northeast ridge through
snow and mostly solid talus. On the summit we saw 4 more mountain goats near the
observatory and rest rooms. We came down by way of a snow slope, it was too
mushy to slide down but we could run down and it is what I would imagine walking
on the moon would be like. Every running step the snow would go up past our
knees and sometimes to our waists. A good and easy hike, it took around 3 hours
total up and back.
8/12/06. 56miles, ~6900ft gain. By road bike from Idaho Springs. 1:20 to Echo
Lake, 3:18 to top, 40mins on top, 5:05 round trip. I had to start at Idaho
Springs knowing that I'd get heckled from friends otherwise. Took a bit to get
into a groove and out of granny gear. Three old dudes from Seattle were biking
up (from Echo Lake) to celebrate their 60th and 70th birthdays! WOW! One of them
had their helmet on backwards! hahah ahahaaa. On top I carried by bike to the
true summit, knowing that I'd get heckled otherwise once again! An awesome ride
that I can't wait to do again...but faster.
8/13/06. Tour d'Abyss with Nicholls. Been wanting to do this for years and
Nicholls and I laughed our way through it for just over 5hrs. Parked a couple
switchbacks from the summit at 13,300ft and dropped down to the lake below Abyss
Lake. Headed 1000ft up the other side to the 13,420 point and the fun scrambling
began over 13,641. FUN FUN FUN!!! East ridge to Bierstadt was fun, 2hrs to the
summit. Guys brewing beer up there, Steve says "I've found my soul mate,
its just too bad its a guy!" The Sawtooth was tons more fun and easy to
follow since Steve knew the way. Lots of people on there and a few that were
plenty lost heading the wrong way to Bierstadt. Took under an hour to get
across, some ledges towards the end with a little exposure. We bounced over the
Spalding since "its right there", then along the ridge top to West
Evans and then Evans. Started getting drizzled on and talked to a Discovery
Channel film crew with Peter Hillary filming for a K2 documentary. Wow! Best was
the pink sweat pants on the summit of Evans. On the way back to the car Steve
slipped on a wet rock and bounced off his back and leg. Ouch! I've never laughed
so much on a single hike, it was nice to be done before dark for a relatively
2/13/15, with Bierstadt and Sawtooth. See Bierstadt above.
9/11/15, West Ridge (Spaulding) with Jean. From Summit Lake up/over Spaulding
and West Evans to Evans. An awesome day out with Jean while the in-laws got
Miles to school and back. Lots of goats.
6/30/18, Northeast face from Summit Lake. 3.4miles 1405ft. 3.5hrs. A slow and
easy day for Miles 4th 14er! Plenty of goats up high and a chilly breeze.
9/28/19, 4.6 miles, 1700ft, 2hrs. From summit lake, over Spalding to the summit
and down the NE face for a Fall grid spot with Willow. Cold, windy and foggy.
ft. 4 miles 9/2/99 Thursday. Fun 7 mile 4X4 road up to the trailhead. I was able
to drive as far as Jamie and I hiked in the snow earlier in the year. I thought
I was heading in the wrong direction because the trail was leading away from the
peak but it eventually cut over. Excellent trail the whole way up until
scrambling on the large rocks near the top. I didn’t get to see the Crestone’s
real well due to clouds and it was extremely windy the entire way up to the
summit. It took 2 hrs and 15 mins to get to the top and 4 hours round trip. Fun
and not such a hard hike.
6/27/04. Did the standard route again after bagging an attempt on Kit
Carson/Challenger from the lakes. Myself, Peggy, and Denali did it in 5hrs
45mins including a couple extra hours for our Kit Carson detour. Had to lift
Denali up over some rocks a few times, but he did awesome the entire way! Poor
tired puppy now though. The summit was clouded in but had great views of the
surrounding valleys earlier.
8/23/07. Standard route from camp after backpacking in with Jean and Brian. Once
Bob and Sharon got to camp in the evening we headed up! Only took 1.5hrs to
summit getting there at 6:15pm. With such great weather, how could we not?!
Three hours round trip.
3/18/11, 12 miles 5260ft. East Ridge from the 2wd parking. An easy winter 14er.
Coyotes howling in the dark at the TH, took 50mins to Rainbow Trail, time for
snowshoes. Steep through the trees following a previous track, a bit windy above
treeline, cloudy up high. Cool ridge! Summit in 3:40 and wind died down. Hung
out for about 20mins, then down the same way. 6:10 round trip.
10/28/11, 12 miles 5260ft. East Ridge from the 2wd parking with Denali again. 9
degrees at the start, hunters with a mega-camp along the road. Snowshoes from
Rainbow Trail. Surprisingly the bridge was out. Breaking trail in 1ft+ snow the
entire way. I wanted to turn around a dozen times. Deep and soft snow but kept
going, great views all around and warm/sunny. 4hrs 20mins up, 20mins on summit,
easy cruise with mostly snowshoe skiing the entire way down. 7hrs total. Huge
blisters on the side of my little toes.
4/27/12, 8 miles, 4300ft. East Ridge from Rainbow Trail. Denali's first hike in
several months due to his sore leg, but he did great and was pretty sore
afterwards. Tons of downed trees. Very windy and cold up top, no need for
snowshoes. Got close to blown down a couple of times and was on my hands and
knees to get to the actual summit. 2.5hrs up, 4:40 total. Windy windy windy.
8/21/21, 11.6 miles, 4,131ft. West ridge. Drove out to the new South Colony TH
on Friday night and got one of the last parking spots, fortunately we could set
up the tent right next to it. A busy TH all night/morning. Got up at 4:30am for
coffee, breakfast, bathroom and we were on the trail at 5:40am. 2.5 miles
cruising up the old road then through the forest with great campsites around and
dominating view of The Crestones. Soon we were above Upper S. Colony lake and
switchbacking towards the west ridge saddle. Great weather and just a slight
chilly breeze. Around 13,400 Jean stopped and Miles, Willow, and I continued. It
was rockier than I remembered but soon were on easier trail near the summit. On
top after 4hrs 10 minutes! #21 for Miles! After a brief stay we headed down
towards Jean and the breeze got cold enough to layer up. Down down down, several
big horned sheep, and we were all out of water at the old trailhead. The last
2.5 miles down the road seemed like forever and after 7hrs 40mins we were back
at the car for drink and Miles laid on his side with a stomach ache.
Tabeguache Peak: 14,155
ft,; Mt. Shavano, 14,229 ft. 8 miles 9/18/99 Saturday.
Mike Hrebenar picked me up at 4:30 a.m. and we got to Jenning Creek trailhead
and off hiking by 7:30. The trail started off nice through stands of changing
Aspens. That was soon over and we started heading almost straight up on a
horrible trail of loose pea size rocks. Saw about 20 mountain goats on the
opposite slope. After we got up to the 12,900 ft ridge the slope wasn’t as bad
but it was up and down, up and down. From this ridge we could see Shavano’s
summit and Tab’s west side. The ridge at about 13,800 was a bad trail along
loose boulders and talus and took us over about 4 false summits. The trail would
appear and disappear as it pleased and route finding was difficult due to plenty
of cliffs and a dangerous gulch close-by. Got to the summit of Tab. after 3
hours and it only took 1 hour to get to the summit of Shavano. The east side of
Tab. to the connecting saddle was loose rock and not fun. Some snow on the ridge
to Shavano and an easy path to follow. The worst part of the hike was getting
back down. We had to summit Tab. again to avoid to cliffs then back to the up
and down and over the false summits. The steep part at the beginning of the
trail was bad on the knees and it was great to see the jeep after 8 hours total
4/26/03, Angel of Shavano II from Blank Gulch TH. 8 miles, 4,430ft. 7 hours
roundtrip. A beautiful and classic snow climb. Met Gregg and camped at Placer
Creek, it was quite a bit warmer than I thought, though still right around 30
degrees. Just above 10K feet we got into the snow. The snow chute was in great
condition and took us up to about 13,600ft. Real windy and cold, but great! Some
folks climbing up and tele'ing down, and the glissade took us over 2000feet down
in under 30 minutes. We had tons of gear with us that sucked carrying, but glad
that we brought snowshoes cause even with them we were post-holing on the way
10/15/05 Standard route from Blank Gulch TH. 9 miles, 7.5hrs round trip. A new
14er for Jean and Denali, and I think now I've climbed Shavano via its three
routes. A bit of lost trail in the snow in the trees and lots of elevation.
Hopped over to unranked 13,640ft Espirite Point as well. A
beautiful windless day on the summit. A soak in the Princeton Hot Springs on the
way home was a perfect finish!
11/4/16, Shavano, Tabeguache, and 13,712ft from Blank Gulch. 5hrs 25mins. Zero
snow (unfortunately for skiing). 2:10up and then 30mins to Tab.
1/6/18, Shavano, Tabeguache, 6hrs 15mins, 5350ft, 11miles. Willow and I hiked in
near summer-like conditions except for a cold breeze up high. Two more winter
6/26/20, Shavano, Tabeguache, 4hrs 30mins, 5350, 11miles. A mellow jog/hike on a
7/9/22. Shavano, Tabeguache, 4hrs 35mins, 5350, 11miles. July grid spot. 2:05 to
Shavano, 30mins to Tabeguache.
9/3/22. Shavano, Tabeguache, with Miles and John Sterguis. We stayed at John and
Helen's house in Garfield, on the trail at 5:15am with Miles many sneezes from a
cold. Headlamps for a bit. Miles started feeling better higher up, Jean went a
bit below the saddle, and we summited after 3:45. Beautiful day and stayed for
15mins. Rock hopping over to Tabeguache in 45mins, then back to Shavano trying
to contour around but ended up going back up to the summit. On the way down
Miles toes were sore from all of the downhill, then we had "Babyhead
avenue" torture. Round trip of 8hrs 37mins. #28 and #29 for Miles, half way
ft.,6.2 miles 5/13/00 Saturday. 7.5 hours round trip. Southwest slope from North
Halfmoon creek trailhead. Colorado’s second highest peak and the name says it
all! Jamie and I drove to the trailhead and slept in the truck Friday night and
woke up to -25 degrees F. Started on the trail a little before seven and got to
the valley where Mike H. And I got turned around last time. Saw about 7 mountain
goats playing on the cliffs. Found the small trail leading out of the meadow and
started gaining some serious altitude. Went through some icy cliffs to start
then a couple of small snow fields. 5 skiers passed us so we had them to break
trail for us! Jamie got altitude sickness slightly above timberline where we put
our snowshoes on and decided to stay there. I continued on not knowing what was
in store for me. The higher up I got the steeper it got and switch backs in
snowshoes sucks! It turned to mixed ice and rock high up and got quite scary
when the spikes of the snow shoes would not hold. I ended up having to depend on
the ice ax quite a bit. The ascent from the valley to the saddle was 2,750 feet!
I hit the 13,900 ft saddle and started feeling the altitude myself, but made it
to the summit for a short stay and breathe taking views. I was hoping to
glissade down most of the way but the snow was too hard and way to steep to have
any kind of control, so I slid down small parts back to where Jamie was hanging
out watching the goats. All in all a steep and tough hike.
7/19/13, Massive Mania! I've been wanting to do this forever.... left the house
at 3am, started hiking from N. Halfmoon TH, ended up on the SW trail (I wanted
to come down this) and its in much better shape then 13yrs ago. On S. Massive in
1hr 40mins, Massive in another 22mins, Massive Green in 13mins, then the fun
began getting to N. Massive. Lots of scree and jumping around, but on the summit
in another 22mins, then 14,169 in another 12mins. I thought going down would be
quick and easy, but there wasn't much of a trail and loose slippery rocks,
swamps, wet grass, until I found the trail below treeline then jogged back to
the truck for a total of 4hrs 19mins and 4,984ft elevation gain. Fun!
6/18/16, An early morning jog up the Standard route and down the SW trail while
camping at Elbert Creek with the family and neighbors. 14miles, 4hrs 21mins
8/27/16, S. Massive and Massive. 4:13 up, 7:52 total. A great day out with Jean
while Miles had a sleepover.
6/30/17, Part of Nolans attempt.
8/5/22, SW slope with Miles, Johnny, and Frank. 6hrs 52mins, 7.7miles, 4000ft.
14er #25 for Miles and first one of the season after a crazy summer of surgery
on both knees, buying/selling houses, and going to Iceland. Drove out Thursday
night, slept in the truck a couple miles from the TH. On the trail at 5:30am.
3:30 to the summit, stayed for 30mins, slow going down. Fortunately Miles knees
felt good, plenty of mosquitos while refilling water. Miles and Johnny beat the
snot out of each other on the drive home.
14,042 ft.,4 miles 5/27/00 Saturday. 4 hours round trip. Myself Jamie and John
Hall drove down to the 4X4 road Friday night and camped 3.3 miles in from the
main road. We woke up Saturday and hiked the grueling 3.5 miles up the rest of
the road, which took 5 hours. It was amazing that some trucks got up to Lake
Como. We pitched camp about .25 miles east of the lake and I strapped up and
headed for Ellingwood. Little Bear and Blanca were enough to intimidate anyone
and I took the trail as if I were hiking Blanca. Beautiful waterfall at the
first steep section and it didn’t ease up at all! Ended up doing a lot of
climbing with my hands over various size boulders up to the saddle between
Blanca and Ellingwood. Once on the saddle I realized that I would have to climb
below the saddle and around the cliffs. I started to feel the altitude but kept
going. Finally reached to summit for a short stay and thought that I could head
down a more direct route but ended up stuck in some cliffs where even I was
quite scared. Much to my dismay I had to climb back up almost to the summit and
back the way I came. I was swearing that I would never leave the trail again if
I got off of this mountain. I felt like shit by the time I got all the way down
and headed right for the tent to take a well needed nap. Ended up doing 9 hours
of hiking that day.
1/7/12, 11.5miles 5590ft. Jason's
pics. Met Jason and Bill at the 2wd TH and slept in the car. Jason bounced
us up to 10K Saturday morning and we started hiking at 7:30am. Surprisingly
hardly any snow and glad that when we did get to snow, that it covered up the
awful road. Made it to the lake and post-holed a few times then cut right across
the frozen lake while some clouds covered Little Bear's summit. We set up camp
on the bench above the lake after 2hrs and dumped everything we didn't need. Off
at 10:30am, some very annoying post-holing in the very inconsistent snow. Past
the lakes and up the headwall in increasing pea-soup clouds. Some sketchy (but
fun) moves up icy rocks and intermittent trail. Visibility decreased and the
wind increased. Crusty snow, frozen and icy rocks, crappy snow gullies. We hit
the saddle right at the low point and turned left. Bad idea since this put at
the unclimbable notch. So we downclimbed and started traversing again. Some
nervous and mentally tough spots, but we were warm and had plenty of time. After
3hrs from camp, we popped up onto the earned summit. We stayed just long enough
for some food and drink, then retraced our steps down not sure if Blanca was in
the cards or not yet. Back at the saddle we figured we would start up Blanca and
see what happened. More of the same "alpine-esque" conditions but
things were going well. We found the trail on the ridge and motored on. After
just 90mins from Ellingwood, we were on Blanca! Definitely another earned
summit, and the wind even died down for a few minutes. Heading down wasn't bad
and at the top of the headwall we saw Kevin, Brian, and Allen on their way up.
After a brief chat we continued to post-hole back to camp just after 5pm seeing
an awesome sunset. Trey was there and we ate, melted snow, and laughed the
evening away well into the night after the other crew got back at 8:30pm. Sunday
morning's hike out was easy and we kinda regretted listening to the dead-wrong
forecast and not bringing rope and crampons to try Little Bear. 16th and 17th
6/25/21, 14.9miles, 6,084ft, 6hrs 45mins with Blanca. Summer grid spot. Left the
house at 3:20am and bounced up the rough road to 9k ft (could've driven another
1.3miles to 10k) starting just after 6am. Tons of people camped lower on the
road (Sand Dunes crowds?) and cows everywhere. Ticked away the miles going up
the road past the Jaws 4x4 obstacles and into the beautiful basin and scenic
lakes. Made a mental note that the Ellingwood turnoff was at 13,450ft and headed
right towards Blanca with clouds starting to swirl. It was chilly up high and
made it to the summit in 3:15. Didn't stay long and headed towards Ellingwood
keeping an eye on the increasing clouds. Plenty of random cairns, up the face
and started a Gaia gps track to not get caught in the cliffs. On the summit in
4:15 as the clouds kept building. Back into the valley and the light rain
started. I hustled to get to treeline and the downpour, wind, and thunder
started at Lake Como. I kicked rocks at least 400 times (half for Nicholls) and
slipped and slid down the baby-heads on the terrible road. The time dragged on
and I got back to the truck in 6hrs and 45mins.
Peak: 14,345 ft,
4 miles 5/28/00 Sunday. 5 hours round trip. John and I were planning on leaving
at 5:30 am to attempt Little Bear then the ridge to Blanca. The wind held us
back until 7:15 and were chose the direct route up Little Bear. After climbing
several hundred feet of near vertical ice we came to a dead end of loose rocks
and cliffs. We descended a little and tried another way around but came up with
nothing again. It was quite scary at times considering that we could barely kick
foot holds and we were hanging onto our ice axes for dear life. We ended up
coming down the same route defeated, but alive, and went off to hike Blanca by
itself. It was basically the same route up Ellingwood but the top parts got real
sketchy and there were several technical sections. We made it to the top after 2
old men raced past us in the other direction. Coming down was almost as
difficult due to the loose rock and shear faces that we had to climb down. Ended
the hike with some glissading in shorts through slush. We both got serious
sunburn and John beat himself up good by stopping boulders with his legs. Pucker
1/7/12. See Ellingwood above.
6/25/21. See Ellingwood above.
ft; Mount Oxford, 14,153 ft; 11 miles 6/25/00 Sunday. West
Slope II, West Ridge II. 7 hours round trip. We drove in and camped Saturday
night just west of the Missouri Gulch trailhead at a cool little spot. Got eaten
alive by mosquitoes and couldn’t build a fire due to the county wide fire
restriction. Started hiking around 7:00 a.m. and the trail started with
switchbacks immediately. Once we got past the switchbacks and into the gulch we
could see the rest of the trail and it was switchbacks to whole damn way. Jamie
and I split up near where the trail split for Elkhead pass and the clouds
started rolling in. I summitted Belford around 10 and didn’t spend much time
there before heading to Oxford. It only took 45 minutes to get across the saddle
to Oxford and the weather was deteriorating fast. Looking back west, Belford
quickly got covered in storm clouds and it was time to put on the shell. It
started snowing pretty hard by the time I was at the low point of the saddle and
I was about to ditch my poles because I started to hear some thunder and see
some lightning. The snow stopped just before I got back to the top of Belford
(which sucked having to go back over top again!) and the rain soon begun.
Not far down the trail I saw 2 Saint Bernards, one with a backpack on trudging
down the trail. They were huge and soaking wet! All in all it wasn’t a hard
hike and was just a lot of walking and stairs, a total of 5,900 vertical feet.
On the way back home we drove through where the Hi-Meadow fire just finished its
line of 10,000 acres of destruction.
7/28/01 Same route with Peggy, descended through Elkhead Pass after a jog over
to Point 13,762 south of Belford, about 6hrs round trip.
7/24/05 Normal route and a couple new 14ers for Jean and Denali. Just under 8hrs
total. These were the best 14ers yet since I asked Jean to marry me on the
summit of Belford!
5/26/07 Part of the Missouri, Emerald, Iowa, Oxford, Belford, Pecks
11/25/11 Belford and Oxford for a Fall grid spot with Denali. Snowy, but not
quite enough for snowshoes. Powdery Fall snow on top of ice. Kinda warm and real
windy up high. 3hrs to Belford, 45mins to Oxford, 50mins back, 6:50 roundtrip.
12/30/11 Belford and Oxford for a Winter grid spot and close out all four
seasons. Windy, but not quite as windy as last month. Same time stats as last
trip, but 6:30 total. Left an hour before JV, Homie, and Tony and saw Homie and
Tony at the saddle. Took my time going down and waited out of the wind the
jogged down with Homie.
8/20/16, 14 miles, 7090ft, 5hrs 40mins. Gridding Belford, Oxford, Missouri. 2:11 to Missouri, 3:50 to Oxford,
4:28 to Belford.
8/12/17, 21.8 miles, 7552ft, 10hrs. Bel, Ox, and Miss with Eric from camp
1/2mile from Winfield. Started at midnight. I felt terrible the whole time. Took
a 10min dirt nap on the way back from Oxford. Dropped down from Elkhead Pass and
up the scree to Miss. west ridge (preferred going down that slope) great sunrise
and light though! Went down the north ridge to Chlosey Lake and I had us bail to
390 instead of going up Huron.
9/27/20, Jean, Miles, Willow and I backpacked to the cabin (1.7 miles, 1,613ft)
on Saturday and got little sleep from the wind. Sunday we took our time waking
up figuring we would just hike up the valley since the cold breeze was still
blowing. We got up to 12,700ft and Miles was cold and wanted to turn around, so
while Jean and Miles headed back to camp I quickly tagged the summit. A great
little spot to camp to make these 14ers more reachable for Miles next time.
9/5/21, our trick of getting to the TH while the Saturday crowds were leaving
worked perfectly. We backpacked up to the cabin in 1hr 20mins, setup camp and
did the usual camp chores and in bed around 8am. Up around 4:45 and on the trail
right after 6am with perfect weather. It was cool to see baby Ptarmagins
(walking rocks) and an Erome ferret! Easy cruising in the shade and on the
summit in 2hrs 40mins. #22 for Miles! Jean headed back to camp and Miles,
Willow, and I headed to Oxford. Looks far away but 1hr later we were on the
summit. #23 for Miles and several people impressed with what Miles has
accomplished. Back to the saddle and up "heartbreak hill" to Belford
in an hour. Not fun, but great training for the kid. We laughed our way down the
trail in perfect weather and back to camp. We ate Ramen, packed up, the did the
1.7miles downhill back to the TH (7.5hrs for the day) and off to Mountain
Burger. A great way to sneak in a couple more peaks on Labor Day before the
crowds headed home.
ft; 8 miles 8/19/00 Saturday. 4 hours round trip. After a long and hard night of
drinking I woke up at 4:30am, ouch!, and Sunny and I hit the road. We got to the
trailhead around 8:00am, Southwest Ridge from west Winfield. I was able to drive
up farther than the book said so I knocked off about 1.5 miles. Hiked into a
beautiful valley and there were lots of dark clouds behind the peaks. The clouds
cleared up and the uphill began. Sunny was hunting around for marmots and pika’s
the whole way up. Hit the 13,000 ft ridge and almost got knocked over by the
wind! It got steep again for a section of solid rock that was easy to follow up.
It was quite foggy on the final ridge and I just kept my eyes on the guys ahead
of me when the trail broke up. Sunny didn’t veer far from the trail on the way
back to the truck and hit the first mud puddle that he found and almost drank
the stream dry! It was an easy peak that I would definitely climb again.
3/23/12; 9.5 miles, 4500ft, Northwest Ridge. 2:40 up, 4:45 total. An easy and
beautiful day. No snowshoes needed, but some post-holing. The Ellingwood Ridge
caught my interest and is now on the short-list.
2/18/17, 8.6 miles, 4335ft, standard route, 3:35up, 6:07 round trip. A winter
grid spot on a beautiful day. Wore my skis for Power of Four training and really
wished I had snowshoes instead. Too steep for skis, carried them most of the
way, and only about 700ft of skiable snow up top. Down low was too steep and
tight in the trees, so carrying skis and post-holing in ski boots was the name
of the day.
6/30/17, Part of Nolans attempt.
9/22/17, 9.5 miles, 4400ft, standard route, 2:10up, 4hrs round trip. A Fall
grid spot to complete the seasonal row. Willow's 6th. The colors are off the
hook and a little bit of snow and cold wind on this fine first day of Fall.
8/1/20, 8.4 miles, 3,566ft, 6hrs 50mins. Southwest Ridge route. 390 was crowded
with campers and we bounced up the 4x4 road the evening before and camped near
the TH. A chilly start at 5:30am and easy hiking up in to the valley. Then
steep and loose up to 13k and trying to follow the easiest trail through the
steep rocks. A few false summits then we joined the busy standard route,
summiting after 4hrs. Miles 14th 14er! Willow chases marmots and we slowly
picked our way down. The steep/loose section into the valley was tough for
Miles and it was a relief to be back on easier ground. Back to the truck for
celebratory drinks then cheese steaks at Biggie's in BV!
ft; 6 miles 8/16/00 Saturday. 6 hours round trip. East Slope II from Mt.
Princeton TH. Jamie,
Sunny, and I left the springs about 5:30am, got to the top of the 4x4 road and
trailhead around 8:30am. The road wasn’t too bad except it was real thin and
had two good tight turning switchbacks. We got up to the first ridge and the
trail turned pretty rocky, but solid. Once we got up to the steep, straight up
part, Sunny and I took off for the summit. We passed several lesbians (must have
been a convention) and got to the summit by 10:30am. Everyone loved Sunny and
Jamie was up top with us within an hour. After some lunch we headed down the
ridge instead of straight down. It was less steep but still treacherous at
parts. As we got to the final stretch there were storm clouds all around and we
saw a few not so smart people on their way up the trail.
6/12/04. Since Princeton is so beautiful and such a fun hike I couldn't resist
hiking it again when Peggy wanted to. We camped near Cotopaxi since Cassel was
in town and we were rafting the following day. Got to the TH around 8:30am just
a bit above the Radio Towers and saw John Erikson and another one of Peggy's
friends! Small world. Sweated all the beer and Patron out in no time and cut off
the trail to head up Tigger Peak. Lots of scrambling and boulder hopping around
and after just an hour we had the summit of Tigger to ourselves. It was nice and
warm, but a bit windy on the summit and ridge. Some dark clouds coming from the
west as we quickly made our way along the ridge to Princeton's summit. Lots of
other people on the mtn heading up the standard route. We were moving along
pretty fast and were on Princeton's summit just an hour and a half after leaving
Tigger. Rumor had it that Cardboard Rodney was on top of Princeton so I got to
meet a couple other folks from 14erworld.com and pose for pic's with Cardboard
Rodney! Small world once again. We headed down the standard route and only hit a
couple small runs of snow. Back at the truck after 4.5hrs roundtrip and on the
way back to camp for tons more beers and laughs!
11/7/14, up the standard route from the radio towers, down the ridge and across
Tigger Peak. A windy day for a Fall grid spot.
1/15/16, 13 miles, 5400ft, from the winter TH. A cold and windy day up and over
Tigger Peak. Doubted making it all day but after 4hrs and 15mins I was on the
summit. 7hr 30mins round trip.
7.5 miles, 3,350ft, 6hrs 40mins, from Radio Towers. Miles 9th 14er!
Went up the rough 4x4 road on Saturday, there was a Yukon off the edge. Camped
at the Radio Towers… Jean and Miles in the truck, me and Willow in the tent.
Up at 4:45am, packed up and had the usual coffee and oatmeal, on the trail by
5:45am. Gorgeous sunrise! Turned off the road, up and over the grassy ridge of
Tigger, and along the rocky trail. We were making great time and Miles has
really progressed this summer with his speed and efficiency over tougher
terrain. His new power food is Jack Link beef sticks and he’s been averaging 4
of them per hike. Up the new trail to the ridge where
Jean called it a day since her hip was bothering her. Miles, Willow, and I
continued, I forgot that it gets real rocky and slower but he handled it like a
champ. On the summit after 3hrs and 45mins to folks cheering for Miles! We only
stayed for 15mins since the weather was supposed to change and slowly picked our
way down the ridge back to Jean. The miles dragged on and we got back to the
truck after 6hrs and 40mins just as the first rumble of thunder started. Jean
closed her eyes most of the way down the 4x4 road and we stopped for our
traditional Mountain Burger and slushie.
14,067 ft; 10 miles 10/20/00 Saturday. 7.5 hours round trip. Northwest Ridge II
from Missouri Gulch trailhead. Cassel and I got to the campground the night
before to figure out that I forgot my sleeping bag! We got up and had to wait
for first light before we could start. The switchbacks start right from the
beginning. It was pretty windy but eased off once we got to 12,600 where we
started right for the summit. We followed a snow chute up and were on the 14,000
foot ridge in no time. We chilled on the summit for over an hour and ended the
day by glissading down and running most of the way back to the truck.
5/26/07 Part of the Missouri, Emerald, Iowa, Oxford, Belford, Pecks mega-loop!
8/20/16, 14 miles, 7090ft, 5hrs 40mins. Gridding Belford, Oxford, Missouri. 2:11
to Missouri, 3:50 to Oxford, 4:28 to Belford.
8/12/17, 21.8 miles, 7552ft, 10hrs.
Bel, Ox, and Miss with Eric from camp 1/2mile from Winfield. Started at
midnight. I felt terrible the whole time. Took a 10min dirt nap on the way back
from Oxford. Dropped down from Elkhead Pass and up the scree to Miss. west ridge
(preferred going down that slope) great sunrise and light though! Went down the
north ridge to Chlosey Lake and I had us bail to 390 instead of going up Huron.
6/10/18, 13 miles, 4746ft, 5hrs. 4am start from camp just a mile up the road
with Willow. 2:50up.
Peak: 14,003 ft;
8 miles 10/21/00 Sunday. 6 hours round trip. North Ridge II on the way up and
Northwest Slopes II on the way down from South Winfield trailhead. The
switchbacks started immediately on this one as well as the day before. We had a
long straight shot to the 13,000 foot ridge that knocked Cassel and I down
pretty fast. Once we got up there we were able to see the peak and it was quite
intimidating and rugged from our angle and it looked almost impossible. We
climbed up and over 13,500 foot Browns Peak and took a much-needed rest. Along
the ridge to Huron we tagged point 13,518 foot just because it was there then
joined the Northwest trail and climbed the last several switchbacks on ice to
the summit. We were watching the weather closely but the ugly clouds stayed
high. We didn’t waste anytime getting down the trail and ran most of the way.
We were real glad we took the North Ridge route, it was much more scenic and not
as many switchbacks.
5/28/07 Up and down the NW Slopes II. 6hrs 20mins. Jean's first 14er since
breaking her ankle! Fun snow on the way up and a big ole cornice on the summit.
Even snowed a bit on the way down.
8/26/17, NW Slope, 3hrs 20mins (1:47 up). A quick trip up Huron while Miles was
having a sleepover. I spread some of Denali's ashes on the summit. 6" of
snow the last couple hundred feet. First graupel of the season.
6/30/17, Part of Nolans attempt.
8/13/17, 7 miles, 3406ft, 6hrs 20mins. Miles 2nd 14er!!! Willow's 3rd 14er!
Camped just northwest of Winfield. Miles was getting over a cold, just had a
slight cough left, and said he wanted to give Huron a shot. Up at 5:15am, hit
the trail around 6:30am and took it slow and steady. Some dark clouds burned
off, Willow hunted marmots and pikas. Miles didn't feel too good at 13k, then
10mins later decided he wanted to keep going. Summited after 3hrs 45mins and
Miles was so proud! Awesome stuff. Food and pictures, then slow easy footing
down the scree to easier ground, then an easy cruise out. Miles totally kicked
14,196 ft; 7 miles 5/26/01 Saturday. 8
hours round trip. Southwest Slope
II from Denny Creek Trailhead. Boiling Larry, Erika, Soni and Sparky came into
town the night before so we put down bunches of beer and headed out early in the
morning. Started on the trail at
9:00am and the weather looked great. A
fun climb, and the trail got real steep once we got out of the drainage and on
the slopes. Sure enough weather
rolled in when we were around 13,000+ feet and we had about 60-mph winds and
some snow. The dogs were having
some trouble on the boulders near the top so they got lifted over them and
Sparky got carried part of the way. Larry
post-holed most of the way down. I
was glad to be with these guys for their first 14,000 foot peak.
From Denny Creek TH again; 8hrs. After Jean, Denali and I couldn't get close to
the TH to climb the Angel of Shavano the day before, we decided on Yale for this
day. The weather was looking iffy but we figured we would give it a shot anyway.
The trail was snowy but packed down and we made great time up to the creeks.
Then the steep stuff
began and so did the post-holing and slowing down. At one point we could hear
coyotes howling a valley or so away, pretty cool. The clouds kept creeping down
and all around us. It wasn't until we were on the 13,900ft ridge that the
visibility disappeared and the flurries started. From here the real fun began
along the rocky and snowy ridge. I love this type of stuff and couldn't get
enough of it! After 5hrs we were on the summit for a quick bite to eat before
heading back down. It was slow going with all the snowy rocks and steep
downhill. Luckily on the way up we took some bearings and remembered plenty of
landmarks since we couldn't see crap now. We were so happy to get down into the
valley despite both of us having upset stomachs, but we had Wine Burgers and
beer on our minds!
Denny Creek TH; 4hrs 24mins, with Mascot. 11miles, 5680ft. PPM training, grid spot, and new 13er
with Denali. Jogged most of the way to treeline, fast hiked afterwards got to
the summit in 1hr 35mins. Headed over to Mascot via the loose and steep ridge in
45mins, back to Yale in 50mins, jogged most of the way down stopping for water
breaks for Denali.
9/22/12; Denny Creek TH. 9.5miles, 4300ft, 3hrs. A first day of Autumn run up
Yale. 1:35 up, 15mins on summit, ran all the way down for 3hrs total.
10/4/20; No hockey and a great forecast for the weekend so Jean, Miles, Willow
and I backpacked 2 miles and 1,200' in 1hr and 20mins to an awesome campsite
where the trail parallels Delaney Creek. We relaxed and enjoyed just hanging out
and playing cards before a chilly night and an early start. Willow wore Jean's
down jacket in the tent, it was hysterical but kept her plenty warm. We only
needed headlamps for 30mins and kept a good pace in the chilly morning until the
occasional touches of sun on the easy-going trail. On the 13,900' saddle we
picked our way around the rocky ridge and had the summit to ourselves after
3hrs. #16 for Miles on a perfect day! With no worries about weather, we stayed
for awhile snacking and chatting. Eventually we started to head down taking our
time and shedding layers as the day warmed up. Back at camp we packed up and
headed down the easy two miles to the trailhead. Our biggest disappointment was
that Biggies in BV was out of food so we had to starve until we got to Mountain
14,073 ft; 10 miles 5/27/01 Sunday. 10
hours round trip. West Slope II
from North Cottonwood Trailhead. Started
with a later than planned start and once we got close to the end of tree line
the snow was real soft from the sun and we were falling through with every step.
But we could see the slope we needed to take up and there was no more
snow, so there was hope. After trudging through near-swamp conditions we made a break
for the ridge with a direct line. Every
time we got to a point that we thought was the ridge from below another one
appeared. We thought we could only
see a false summit but it was a high point along the ridge.
The whole climb up was steep, steep, steep.
Once on the 13,600 ft ridge the rest was smooth sailing.
The dogs had no problems but were sleeping at every chance on the way
down. We got to do some scree
skiing and glissading too before taking our own, shorter route back towards the
swamp. There were intermittent
streams everywhere and with a little luck (and Larry’s good feelings) we
landed on the trail again. It was
amazing how much snow melted during the day and how high the streams had risen.
We finally made it back to the truck half delirious and aching for cheap beer
and big fires!
9/10/11, 8miles, 4060ft. TH to camp, to summit, to camp. An awesome belated
birthday backpacking trip while Miles spent the night at Lori and Cody's. We
packed in 3 miles and found a great camp then headed up Columbia. The slope was
too steep and slippery for Jean so I boogied up to the summit and back. It'd
been 10yrs since I was last up here, beautiful area. New 14ers for Denali too.
Fun times back at camp with a fire and telling stories about Peen State.
9/26/21, 12.7 miles, 4,250ft. Miles, Frank and Johnny Reiser, Willow, and I
hiked in 3 miles to 11,200ft on Saturday to a great campsite to the left of the
trail on the other side of the stream... flat, secluded, and had a fire ring.
Lots of yellow around with the changing Aspens. We setup camp, sipped from the
flask while the kids built a fire and bridge. The stars were amazing and it was
a warmer night than we figured it would be. Probably my best night of sleep in a
tent ever. Up at 5am for morning duties then on the trail at 6am. After about a
mile the sun started coming up on we turned onto the marked trail for Columbia.
Across the boulder field then back and forth on the new (and much improved)
switchbacks from CFI. We were in the shade and a stiff breeze kept up bundled
up. The last 800ft was the awful Columbia scree. Soon enough we got into the sun
and on the ridge. Easy cruising to the summit just under 3hrs, all by ourselves,
it was warm and no wind so we hung out for 40mins. Back down and we were
surprised that we only saw 6 people all day. In camp just under 5hrs and we
packed up and headed down. We teased Miles about his monkey butt. 1/2 mile from
the end there was an enormous moose in the middle of the trail! It was narrow so
we kept going back as he approached, we hid behind some trees ready to dart
across the stream when he finally turned up a slope. After 6:15 beer and soda at
the car, pizza in Buena Vista, and the long drive home happy to squeeze in 1
more 14er for Miles bringing his total to 24, 8 of which were this summer!
8/26/22, Finally the Harvard-Columbia Traverse! 2:45 to summit of Harvard
with clouds swirling all around and signs of recent rain/hail. I questioned
heading to Columbia but decided to start and watch the weather, soon it was
pea-soup. Not too hard to follow and didn't start raining until the last slope
up Columbia. 1:50 for the traverse. Rained the entire way down, 6:35 total.
the Holy Cross:
14,005 ft; 12 miles 6/22/01 Friday. 9.5
hours round trip. Holy Cross Couloir III,
class 3 Classic from Halfmoon Trailhead. I've now got a new favorite climb! The
conditions were great, the weather was great, and a 1200 foot 45+ degree snow
climb to the summit was AMAZING! After margarita's and only 4 hours of sleep I
met John Stergius at 3am and off we went. The hike up to Halfmoon Pass made us
feel like we were getting a bunch of the elevation gain out of the way but we
soon dropped all the way back down into the valley knowing that we had to come
back up after a long day. We started getting views of the peak that just made us
stop in our tracks, absolutely beautiful. The Cross couloir could not be seen
until we were way into the hike and around to the east face. Once we got views
we got pretty excited cause all systems were a go! After a steep climb we geared
and roped up and dropped into the snow chute at 12,800. The next 1,200 feet was
kick, kick, step, move axe, kick, kick, step, move axe, etc for 2 hours. There
was tons of heat radiating off the snow and it was starting to get real soft.
Seconds after a brief picture stop it sounded as if a freight train was coming
through and I turned around in time to see tons of snow, rock, and ice breaking
off the cliff and taking out our trail about 15 feet behind John. Way too
close of a call so we high-tailed it the rest of the way. The couloir lead right
to the summit, so we hung out for a while the headed down the North Ridge route.
Storms were moving in all around and we got hit with some winds and a little
rain. The hike back up the Pass was not exactly what we wanted to see!
9/4/19. Halo Ridge along with 13,248 and Holy Cross Ridge. 14 miles, 6hrs RT.
Left Keystone after a horrible night's sleep, not really wanting to do the
drive. I forgot about the 8 miles of dirt road. Started at 6am by headlamp and
iffy weather. Took 2hrs on the great trail to get to the Notch Shelter. Holy
Awesome Views!! Simply amazing. There were clouds already and it was windy, so I
started towards 13,248 knowing I might turn around. Weather held and I kept
moving fast along the talus. The views all around were great. Not long after, I
was on Holy Cross Ridge and then Holy Cross in 1hr 35mins after leaving the
shelter. Didn't stay long, but took my time going down the north ridge route.
The 1k gain up Half Moon pass was brutal, then it started to rain. Happy to get
a chance on this awesome 2mile long ridge.
9/25/22. I was tired and not feeling well but Jean, Miles, and I drove to the TH
on Saturday with a great forecast. Didn't realize it, but the aspens were
raging. We took 2 hours to hike up and over Half Moon Pass and down to Cross
Creek, happy to see most of the campsites open. We setup home at site #4, cook,
ate, filled water, and went to sleep. Up at 4:30am, we did the usual routine,
happy it wasn't freezing cold, and hit the trail at 5:30am. Slow and steady.
Jean called it quits around 12,600ft, while Miles and I motored on, I had to ask
him to slow down a few times. It was chilly in the shadows on the backside. On
the summit after 3hrs, 14er #30 for Miles! It was so nice we hung out for
30mins, then picked our way back down, happy to get into the sun. We got to Jean
and back to camp in 6hrs, drank a cup of coffee, packed up and headed for
"Heartbreak Hill". It took about 1:45 to get back to the car and after
the long dirt road Miles quickly fell asleep before pizza in BV. The aspens on
Tennessee Pass were absolutely glowing.
14,047 ft; 13 miles 6/23/01 Saturday. 11
hours round trip. Northwest
Ridge II from Taylor Ranch Trailhead. The ranch was recently sold again
and these owners do not let anyone on. Apparently this trip was the only trip
allowed on this year. The CMC held a raffle that I entered in on the last day
and got chosen as one of the 30 of over 100 that applied. After not getting home
from Holy Cross till after 10pm the night before I was off to San Luis at 3am.
We started on the trail at 6:30am and slugged up the 4x4 road then up to the
ridge. The ridge was high and long was gave up great views of the surrounding
area. There is about an 8 foot cairn on the ridge, biggest one I've ever seen!
After the false summit all 30 of us made it to the real summit and enjoyed the
calm weather and views. The area is pristine and it shows that there are not a
lot of visitors. This was about 6-7 peoples 54th peak and it was great to see
how excited they were. It was a long hike down and we took several unwanted
stops along the way to keep everyone together. I thought all day about an
afternoon nap but that never happened. Physically I felt fine but the lack of
sleep was hurting my brain. I was really looking forward to the beers after the
long drive home.
14,042 ft; 7.6 miles 6/30/01 Saturday. 5.5
hours round trip. North Face II, Class 2+
from Huerfano River Trailhead. Peggy and I started on the trail around 8am
after nearly rolling my truck on the 4x4 road on the way up. Quite scary to
begin with! We actually started from the Lily Lake TH and found and
followed the Huerfano River. After scouting out a spot to cross and
getting wet feet anyway we started the steep climb into the beautiful valley at
12,000 feet. We saw a herd of young big horned sheep and were hoping that
if we found another skull it would be closer to the trailhead. We could
see brief glimpses of the summit behind the ridge and it looked quite
difficult. From the valleys the views of Blanca and Ellingwood's west side
were great. After another real steep climb up to the ridge at 13,000 feet
I started wondering where the actual trail was and how it creeped up the steep,
craggy side. We got to a col with lots of scree in one side but some
decent holds here and there. There was a 60 year old working his way up in
front of us that we talked with about the rest of the route. We decided to
go for the steeper, but more solid looking, route that led up up to the false
summit, but only about 100 yards from the true summit. After snacks and
taking in the views we headed back down on the correct route. The way down
was no easier than the way up but we slowly descended passing several other
people on their way up. Once we hit the 13,000 foot ridge again we looked
back and smiled at the sheer face that we had just climbed!! A fun peak that I
would definitely do again.
8.7miles 3885ft, 4hrs. It's been awhile since visiting this area. The aspens
were just a day or two over perfect. Easier than the first time, though Denali
crapped out at about 13,700ft so I boogied up and back quickly, on the summit in
2hrs. The gully had some snow and ice in it, but nothing to worry about. Back at
the car in 4hrs after a few breaks and plenty of aspen pictures on the way
10/1/22, Miles and I snuck in 14er #31 for him before it started snowing across
the entire state. Left home at 4am, started hiking a little before 7am. Made
quick work of the first 3 miles then the grauppel started! It came and went
quick, then a cold breeze and blue skies. We kept moving and re-evaluating
conditions then arrived at the base of the gulley. Just a little bit of snow in
the shadows and cracks and we slowly and carefully picked our way up. Miles did
amazing in the tough parts and we kept going up. Before we knew it we were on
the false summit and 5 minutes later on the summit after 3.5hrs. It was a quick
stay to beat the weather and we started down. It was surprisingly easier on the
way down mixing up butt-slides and stemming as the weather held. Before long we
were back in easier terrain and after a long snack break we cruised back, total
time just under 7hrs.
14,309 ft, Wetterhorn
14,015 ft; 15 miles,
8/31/01, 7 hours round trip. Matterhorn Creek trailhead. I had a 4 day weekend
so how better spend it then climbing. After class on Thursday night I
drove almost to Blue Mesa Reservoir and slept in the truck. I woke up
early Friday morning and did the rest of the drive to the trailhead and got
started at 7am on the Southwest Slope II, Class 2. The views were
incredible from the 12,458 ft pass of Wetterhorn, Matterhorn, and Uncompahgre.
There was weather moving in and it was snowing by the time I got to the summit
of Uncompaghre up the long trail that circled the mountain. On the way up
I found one of the west slope trails down the scree so I made a speedy decent
down there and back to the pass. The weather started clearing so I went on
to Wetterhorn by contouring towards the Southeast Ridge II, Class 3. It
got steep real fast so I just trudged along to the ridge with magnificent views
of the face the whole way. I picked through the crags and towers on the
ridge and into the gully leading to the finale summit pitch. The book was
not lying that it gnarly and amazing. The last 150 feet was a near
straight up wall of broken cliffs. I bit the bullet and started up using
the great hand and foot holds. Before long I was on the summit watching
the snow surround Uncompaghre. The down climb was a little bit dicey but I
took my time and made it down safely. The best was looking back at the
pointed, jagged, rocks leading up to the summit knowing that I just climbed up
them. After getting back to the trailhead it was onto the next ones.
One minor glitch was the huge aspen tree that had fallen across the road during
the day. I tried to push it with my bumper to no success and eventually
built a sort of ramp over it with logs and stones. I would definitely
climb these beautiful mtns of the San Juans again.
7/10/21, Uncompahgre from Nellie Creek TH. 7.7 miles, 5hrs, 3,462ft gain. After
lunch at the Lake City Brewery Miles and I bounced up the 4miles of rough 4x4
road. We found a level spot just .1miles from the TH and setup camp. I took an
hour long nap then we laughed and annoyed each other and ate hot dogs and beans.
Around 11:30pm a storm blew in with crazy wind and rain. We heard a tree fall
near our tent and it scared the crap out of us so we retreated to the front
seats of the truck. The storm only lasted about 20mins, but we slept in the
truck the rest of the night. Another 5:30am alarm for the morning chores and we
were hiking by 6:30am again. It wasn't long before Uncompahgre dominated the
view. Out of nowhere we heard a phone alarm and found an iPhone about 10ft off
the side of the trail. Miles imitated Cletus from the Simpsons most of the way
and we laughed and enjoyed another day of amazing views. Up up and up to the
12,900ft saddle. The trail curls around the peak and to the harder rock gully to
the summit plateau. Miles did great on the tougher terrain and we were on the
huge summit after 2.5hrs. More high fives and reveling in the amazing views all
around. #19 for Miles! Another long summit stay then down, the gully was slow
and tricky but easy cruising after that. We were sore, tired, dirty, and smelly
and back at the truck after 5hrs of hiking. We had our celebratory drinks while
packing up camp then bounced down the rough road. A quick stop at the brewery
for a to-go pretzel for Miles then the long drive to meet Jean in Salida. What
an amazing few days of 14ers with Miles!
14,001 ft, Redcloud
14,034 ft; 11 miles,
9/1/01, 4.5 hours round trip. Silver Creek-Grizzly Gulch trailhead. I camped at
the trailhead and woke up around 6:30am with a mission in mind, that was to climb 3
peaks if weather, lungs, and time permitted. I was hauling ass from the
start and quickly got to the 1.5 mile mark of the south fork drainage. I
found the trail and worked my way up the barren and beautiful gulch to the
Northwest slope. The trail was broken and loose the whole way, I was
thinking how nice it would be with skis coming down in the winter time. I
got up to the ridge between the two peaks to be greeted with a sign saying that
it was not a trail and dangerous. I followed the ridge over to Sunshine to
be the first one of the day on the summit, in only 2.5 hrs. Not wasting any time
I made it across the saddle to Redcloud in 40 minutes. Looking down the
standard route I could see a couple dozen people on their way up. I jogged
most of the way down the standard Northeast Ridge with Handies in mind. I
couldn't tell by the look on peoples face whether they were shocked, amazed, or
pissed that I was jogging down! I got to my truck around 11am to refill my
Camelbak, change boots, and off to..................
9/4/08, Couldn't resist re-climbing these peaks along with 13,832, 13,811, and
8/28/22, drove out on Saturday and camped, surprised there was only a few cars.
Chilly morning, nose bleed at 4:15am in the tent, had to shove an empty sugar
packet in to stop the bleeding. Miles had a stomach ache so him and Jean turned
around after 2 miles. I summited in 2:25, 30 mins to Sunshine, 30 mins back,
4:45 total. Hard to believe I had 4 14er summits to myself on a summer weekend.
14,048 ft, 7.6
miles, 9/1/01, 3 hrs 40 mins round trip, Grizzly Gulch II, Class 2. Silver
Creek-Grizzly Gulch trailhead. At first I was planning on climbing Handies
the following day, till I woke up that morning and was determined to climb all
three. I was a little sore and tired after Sunshine and Redcloud but
pretty pumped at the same time so off I went. I kept thinking that Bruce
said, "I'm sure some people have done all three...", so I took that as
a dare! After hiking up along the creek I was greeted with a mind-blowing
view of Handies east face way off in the distance, I started thinking "what
the fuck am I thinking." I just kept an eye on the trail and tried
not to look up in the distance at how far away the summit was. Weather was
moving in, the wind picked up and the temperature dropped. The clouds were
higher than the peak and there were no signs of thunder or lightning so I kept
going. Before long I was on the steep switchbacks of the final
ridge. Once I got to the summit I saw the same guy from Sunshine who was
also hiking all three, but he took the easier shorter route up American Basin,
sissy. I was planning on spending some time on the summit to take in the
views, relax, and ponder the awesome day until a storm came flying over the
ridge and knocked visibility down to about 15 feet and dumped tons of
snow. Gotta love a blizzard the first day of September!!!!!! I
hauled ass down the same gulch knowing that I had a few blisters and calves
tight enough to cut glass, but I was quite happy with what I had just done
that day. Off to Lake City for grub then the drive to San Luis.
7/9/21, 5.5 miles, 3.5 hrs, 2,413 ft gain from American Basin. After a flat tire
and a long drive on dirt roads from San Luis, Miles and I stopped in Lake City
for gas then off to the American Basin trailhead. There were a couple of fun 4x4
spots and plenty of side-by-sides. We parked in the only flat spot, cooked
burgers, goofed around, and we were reading in the truck by 7pm. Miles was
asleep by 7:30pm and I fell asleep soon after. The stars were amazing! We got
started around 6:30am on another gorgeous day and cool temps. I love the views
of American, Niagara, and Jones rising above you the entire time. Slow and easy
pace and loving the views and changing terrain. Before we knew it, we popped
onto the summit after just 2hrs. More adults amazed at Miles accomplishments and
his 18th 14er. Peaks as far as the eyes can see and pure heaven. After another
long summit rest we headed down and took a break to soak our feet and skip
stones in the high alpine lake. Back at the truck after 3.5hrs of hiking for
celebratory drinks and we decided to have lunch at the Lake City brewery. Can't
beat an IPA, soft pretzel, and meatball sub after a few days of hiking.
14,014 ft, 12 miles,
9/2/01, 5 hours, East Slopes II, Class 1. Stewart Creek trailhead. It was
pouring rain and sleet the night before when I got to the trailhead, so I just slept
in my truck after doing some homework. When I woke up I knew I was going
to get soaked and it was freakin' cold! I was so sore but I knew I'd be
pissed if I had to come all the way down 40 miles of dirt roads to do this peak
later. The hike up along Stewart creek was really nice through beaver
ponds and Gunnison National forest. After breaking treeline I thought I
could see the summit, but it was a falsey. There were a couple people
ahead of me and I wanted to burn past them. I blew past them on the steep
climb up to the saddle between San Luis and Organ Pipes, then saw two others
about 1/2 mile ahead. I set a nice pace for myself and was soon right up
on their ass. I passed them on the final false summit and was atop with
lots of wind and stunning views of the magnificent San Juan mountains. I
stayed on top for 1/2 hour thinking about the 6 peaks I had done in 3
days. The hike down was fast and didn't take too long. What an all-star
climbing weekend: 6 San Juan peaks, 45 miles of hiking, and close to 15,000
vertical feet. Holy shit, dig it!
9/29/12. 2.6 miles RT and 1400ft from San Luis saddle as part of the Colo
Trail Segments 18-21 hike. I beat Eric to the summit and for a 6-pack
7/8/21, from Stewart Creek. The day before Miles and I doive 4hrs and 15mins
then backpacked in 1.5hrs and 3 miles to a great camping spot (despite the flies
and mosquitos) around 11,400ft. We started just after 6am in perfect temps and
kept a slow pace going up the valley. Ticking off the miles and elevation we got
to the 13,100ft saddle then saw the real summit, D'oh! Slow and steady we
enjoyed the amazing views all around and summited after 2hrs 20mins. Only 2
people on the summit, much nicer than the front range 14ers! We chilled, ate,
and took pictures. A guy was so impressed that this was Miles 17th 14er. The
hike down was easy and we talked about the Simpsons movie most of the time. At
camp we ate Ramen, packed up, and hiked the easy 3 miles out for a total of
about 5.5hrs and 10.4miles moving time. It was great to see less than 10 people
the whole time. At the truck we had our celebratory beverages and started the
long drive on dirt roads towards Lake City, slightly detoured by a flat tire in
the middle of nowhere.
ft, 6.6 miles, 5/18/02, 8.5 hours, South Face II, Class 3, South Colony Lakes
trailhead. I drove up the killer 4x4 road Friday night and got an early start
Saturday morning. I hiked up to the lakes and started up to the saddle between
Broken Hand Peak and Crestone Needle. I was hoping to climb the Needle on the
way back. The snow was way below what it normally is for this time of the year
and I didn't hit any till about halfway up the saddle. It was pretty steep so
the crampons and ice axe got put to use. I dropped down the other side to
Cottonwood lake and was able to see the awesome traverse between the Crestones.
I got around another ridge and could see the whole southwest couloir laid out in
front of me. Only about the top 1/3 was still holding snow so I took Roach's
advice and scrambled up the class 3 rocks and cliff on the right side of the
couloir. I dropped into the couloir around 13,400ft and followed the snow the rest
of the way up to the Red Notch at 14,180. It was pretty steep in spots and the crampons
and axe definitely helped. Just another couple weeks and there won't be anymore
snow in there. From the Red Notch it was just a short scramble to the
summit for awesome views. On the way down I took a fall as soon as I got back
into the couloir and almost needed to put self arrest training to use. Luckily I
stopped quickly and was able to continue down the snow and the class 3 cliffs
again. I was real whooped by the time I got back to the Broken Hand/Needle
saddle but followed the climbers trail along the ridge towards the couloirs of
the Needle. I got to about 13,300ft and got to a point that scared the shit out
of me and I was unable to go any farther. Looks like I'll have to make the drive
in one more time (hopefully). All in all, I thought Crestone Peak was pretty
tough, high pucker factor.
Red Couloir from Cottonwood approach. Backpacked into about 11,200ft with Jean,
Denali, the Bershaders, Dwight, and Sarah....Bob was coming up later that night.
We walked right past the "no tresspassing" sign and up the
3000+ft/3.5miles, it was a sweet hike that lost the trail alot and went along
some awesome conglomerate slabs past waterfalls. Sunday we were on the trail
around 6am picking along a faint trail once again. It was real windy and before
long we were at that base of the couloir looking up at the quickly melting snow.
The others took off since they were going to try the traverse and we left Denali
down low. Jean and I scrambled up the awesome conglomerate to about 13,120ft
where we geared up and dropped into the snow. From there to the notch was great
snow climbing with a couple short sections of cramponing over rock instead of
solid and thin ice. From the notch we left our ice axes and crampons
and started the last bit. Since it was a new and hard 14er for Jean, I would go
about 10-20ft then belay her up. Before we knew it, we were on the summit
getting blown around and checking out the awesome views!!! I was SOO happy that
Jean made it and proud of her. What a relief! The down climb wasn't too bad, we
belayed the first couple snow sections the simu-climbed the rest in the
softening snow. We took a nice long break once back with Denali then headed up
Lake to wait for Keith and Beth who were on their way down Broken Hand Pass. Was
10hrs before back at camp, and finding camp was quite the chore with the dozens
of cairns everywhere and bushwhacking. What a fantastic climb though!!
ft, 11.2 miles, 8/16/02, 4 hours, West Slope II, Class 2, Baldwin Gulch trailhead.
Left Colo Spgs at 5:30am and was hiking by 8am. The 4x4 road up was fun and
after parking you just had to keep hiking right up the road until the last 1/2
mile. There were trails to cut the switchbacks, but for the sake of my knees and
since there was no rush I just followed the road. I was trying to spend as much
time at altitude to help get ready for the Pikes Peak marathon. Got to the
summit after 2hrs and relaxed and read Maxim and looked around for 2hrs building
up red blood cells. I heard a plane not far off and thought nothing of it until
it sounds real close, I turned around and it was a single-prop about 15 feet
away from the summit! Pretty cool. Took a slight shortcut down past an old
prospect and wish that I hadn't, got pretty steep and did a number on the knees.
Took my time getting back to my truck then set up camp at 11,000ft and relaxed
and did a lot of reading.
06/24/07, 6hrs 50mins. Since first hiking Mt Antero I figured it could be mtn
biked since a 4x4 road goes almost to the summit.
Well, since Jean wanted to hike it and we conveniently had our mtn bikes... I
decided to give it a try. We slept in Camp Yukon at the beginning of the 4x4
road and bounced up to the stream the following morning.
The first couple miles were torturous and not very bikeable. I was really
regretting bringing my bike. After that, the road is mostly dirt and much of it
was rideable until the last 1/2mile. At this point I just had to carry my bike
to the summit and that sucked, but was worth it! On the way down I would fly
down a switchback or two, then wait for Jean and Denali. That makes five 14ers
4/25/14, 9.5 miles, 4748ft 4hrs 50mins. A Spring grid slot from the 2wd TH.
About a 1/2mile after the stream crossing, I headed up the snow filled gully and
west ridge. Gains elevation fast! Up under 3hrs, then foot skied down the same
2/3/17, 12.7miles, 4900ft, 6hrs 10mins. Met The Cyborg at the TH after thinking
of 100 excuses not to go after yesterdays beat-down on Bross. Skied up the road
and up a gully to just under 13k then hiked the rest of the way. Great weather
and views, on the summit around 4hrs. Back down the way we came then skied down
just trying not to crash. Big ole blisters!
10/20/17, 12.4miles, 4900ft, 5hrs 15mins. October/Fall grid spot for 20th 14er
in all seasons. Took some of Denali's ashes with me and reflected on the good
times with Billy Campbell. 2:55 up. Most of the snow was avoidable and I was
fine in Gore-tex trail runners.
7/25/20, 10miles ~4180ft, 6hrs 15mins. Miles, Jean, Willow and I camped at the
creek crossing and it rained most of the night. We started at 5am via headlamp
with thin clouds above figuring we would turn around if the predicted rain came
in early. Hustling along we were on the summit a little after 3hrs! Hard to
believe so many people drive to 13,500 then summit... cheating! We didn't spend
long up there, and the clouds rolling through the valleys looked like dragons
breath. Easy hiking down the road and back to treeline where we finally took a
long break. Fortunately we were able to sneak in a summit before the bad weather
started. #13 for Miles!
ft, 10 miles, 9/1/02, 4 hours (from basin), East Slope II, Class 2+, Blaine
Basin. After getting shot down on Wilson Peak due to conditions I did a big
backpacking loop then hiked into Blaine Basin. From all the cars in the lot I
figured it would be tent city, but I was the only one in the basin, cool. I was
up at 6am the following morning and on the trail at 6:30am. The trail was pretty
steep from the start and I couldn't quite find one up and over the scree so I
followed the trail towards the couloirs on the north face then headed across the grassy benches.
Around 12,500 I was able to see the trail leading up the long and steep col to
join the Yankee Boy Basin trail at the 13,500 saddle. The rocks were loose and
there was a lot of slipping going on. At the 13,500 saddle I could see several
people heading up the standard route and was real glad I came up through Blaire
Basin. The couloir leading to the exit crack was a cool scramble and the crack
(2+) had some good solid holds, but lots of loose stuff. After the crack you can
see the last 200ft or so of broken cliffs leading up to the summit. These cliffs
were a little hard getting down but not too bad. I was glad to get out of the
crack and couloir before the herds of people got up there. The scree down lead
to some great foot skiing for a speedy decent.
6/6/14, 7.9 miles, 4800ft, 7hrs, Snake Couloir. Pics
here. After a couple hours of sleep, we (me, Wayne, James, Kevo, BK) were
heading up Yankee Boy Basin from the 4x4 TH. The road went quickly and we were
surrounded by beauty of the San Juans. Up the Lavender Col to the 13,500ft
saddle, down 1500ft into Blaine Basin, circled most of the way around Sneffels
to the apron of the Snake Couloir. Lots of post-holing until we were in the
shade, then perfect cramponing conditions. The turn in the Snake got about 55
degree, and it was easy to get into a flow. At the top of the couloir we found
the 3rd class notch then just 100ft to the summit in 5hrs. Perfect weather for a
1/2hr lounge before the speed 1.5hr descent down the standard route. Back at
camp with a beer in hand by lunch time.
ft, 6 miles, 7/26/03, 6 hours, Northeast Ridge II, Class 4, Maroon Lake TH.
Finally an Elk 14er! Drove to the TH Friday night in 3.5hrs and just slept there. Was hiking by 6:15am towards Crater Lake and made the turnoff shortly
before getting there. From there it got steep most of the was into the basin
below the Northface. Boulder hopping towards the ridge then plenty more steep
uphill. There was a family of goats scurrying above knocking the occasional rock
down. At the 12,900ft ridge I left my poles and ice axe and followed the cairns
along the exposed and broken cliffs. It was a little hairy in some spots but
plenty of options of which way to go depending on what looked less-hairy. Mostly
class 3 with a few class 4 spots that were fun, but I was dreading coming back
down. Before I knew it there wasn't any higher to go and I was on top in around
3hrs by myself! Nice. I was following the cairns back down and took a slightly
different route, but felt good about it with some slow and careful moves. There
was a group of 5 on their way up so we took turns waiting as to not knock rocks
down on each other. Seems like I had more trouble on the steep dirt sliding
around then on the ledges! Back down at the crowded TH and all the Aspen
tourists where I got questioned on what I was doing while filtering water?!
ft, 10 miles, 7/27/03, 7.5 hours, Northeast Ridge II, Class 2+, Castle Creek TH.
I met the CMC group the night before and we camped along CR120(Pearl Pass), of
course it started raining as soon as we started setting up! I used to want to
mtn bike Pearl Pass till talking to some folks who just rode it and seeing the
condition of the road, not anymore. After dinner it was still raining so I was
in bed early and slept pretty good from the good workout on Pyramid. Up at 5am
and we drove a bit farther up the road and hiking by 6:30am. Had a bunch of
stops for clothing, food, etc. Up the road through the rain, into Montezuma
Basin, and onto the snowfield. As usual the weather changed real fast and the
sun was shining bright now! The snow was fun and I got to kick steps most of the
way up. From the top of the first snow field we could see the rest of the route
and it was pretty steep up to the ridge. Once on the ridge it was a little slow
going for route finding and a few class 2+ moves with some decent exposure.
After about 3 hours we were on the summit in beautiful sunny weather. We still
had plenty of time to get to Conundrum so we worked our way down the loose ridge
to the low point in the saddle and up the other side with similar climbing to
Castle's ridge. Aaahhhh, the 3rd (but unofficial) 14er of the weekend! The rocks
were real colorful and nice looking. We climbed back down to the saddle and
worked our way down some tricky spots to get to the snow of the standard route.
Some rocks flying and slow going for some. After that it was an awesome 2
snowfield glissade back down to Montezuma's Basin! Got the usual frozen ass and
monster wedgie, but well worth it. Along the road on we saw the "human weed
whacker", some guy knocking the heads off the thistle for whatever reason?!
Got back to camp and packed up quick for the long and rainy ride back to Colo
8/14/22, 8 miles, 3,811ft, 7hrs 10mins. Drove out to Aspen on Saturday and found
that the dispersed campsite #5 was free along Castle Creek Rd. We setup there,
got eaten by mosquitoes, and then it rained for hours. We talked in the tent and
I fell asleep real early. I was up just before 4am and woke up Jean and Miles at
4:15am for coffee and oatmeal. We bounced up the road and parked at 11,300ft.
Miles and I made quick time up the road, Jean went at a leisurely pace to hang
out in the upper basin. Could've driven up to the mine at 12,500ft without
issue. Up to the ridge then the fun stuff started. We went slow and careful to
pick the easiest spot and Miles did great. Some big steps, a little exposure,
and some slippery slopes... typical Elk Mtns hikes. On the summit in 2hrs
45mins! A big step for Miles and great progression to a tougher peak. We had the
summit to ourselves and stayed for 15mins. The trip to Conundrum went relatively
easy with no surprises, it took 45mins and we waved and shouted to Jean. Awesome
views all around. Just 5mins up there, then 40mins back to Castle since we were
not going down the steep/loose gulley. We picked our way down the difficulties
of Castle's ridge taking each one slowly and carefully then back to Jean in the
basin. Down the headwall and the road back to the truck, packed up camp, saw 3
Ferrari's in Aspen, pizza and a slushie in BV. #26 and #27 for Miles!
ft, 4.6 miles (from Chicago Basin), 8/30/03, 5 hours, Northeast Ridge II, Class
3, Needleton/Chicago Basin TH. Had to take advantage of the long Labor Day
weekend so Peggy and I took the Durango-Silverton train on Friday and got
dropped off at Needleton, the starting point to get into Chicago Basin. Took
3hrs to get packed in and set up camp around 10,800ft just as the rain started.
Saturday morning we started up towards Twin Lakes while the clouds were moving
in. We passed some groups that were heading back after hearing thunder near the
ridge. Not long after getting to 12,500ft the rain, snow, and sleet started. We
retreated to camp drenched and tried to wait it out. Around 1:30pm the rain
stopped so we dried everything out and headed back up towards Twin Lakes. The
clouds were just barely over the Eolus "Catwalk" but we kept going.
Once getting past the long slog and high benches we were on the ridge and it was
windy but looked like we could make it. The Catwalk was pretty narrow in places
but easy to get across with big exposure and big views in all directions. After
that we picked our way through the east cliffs eventually working our way
higher. There were a couple pretty scary spots and some wet rocks which didn't
help at all. 2.5hrs after leaving camp we were on the summit all alone and
according to the register no one else was up there for 3 days. Nice. It was
beautiful! The down-climb wasn't exactly fun and took awhile, once back down on
the ridge North Eolus(14,039ft) was right there, so I had to quick get up there
too! After 5hrs we
were jogging back into camp racing the sleet. The two trips up to Twin Lakes
ended up paying off and it was a successful day after all.
ft, 4 miles (from Chicago Basin), 8/31/03, 8 hours w/ Windom, South Slopes II, Class
4, Needleton/Chicago Basin TH. The weather was looking more favorable Sunday
morning for our third (and hopefully final) trip up to Twin Lakes. We took a
break at the lakes and quickly got bum-rushed by 29 mountain goats looking for
handouts! The baby ones were cute and had little tiny horns. A bit farther up
the basin around 13,000ft the sun would occasionally pop out from the clouds and
it sure felt great. Up Sunlight's south side towards the ridge where it got
progressively steeper and steeper. The cairns were easy to follow and we ditched
our poles and started heading west towards the summit hopping around the
boulders. There were a couple tricky parts, but nothing too hard or
committing....yet. Eventually we could see the famous "summit blocks"
and got to the bottom of them with the clouds getting darker and darker after
2hrs 45mins. I did "the move" the same way most people describe it by
scrambling up the first two large blocks, doing a leaning-forward fall to the
third block, then a final committing hop onto the highest point! Finally! Man
was my heart racing, now the hard part...getting down. The first move wasn't too
bad, but for the second I had to hold onto small knobby pieces of quartz in the
granite and lower myself and reach my foot over as far as possible finally
touching the next block. Once on there it was just a "controlled
slide" down the blocks back to the somewhat safety below. Peggy chose not
to do the final bit based on being a little short and my recommendations. We
roughly followed our same path back to the ridge boulder hopping, sliding on our
butts, and toughening up our computer keyboard/mouse friendly hands! Down to the
13,300ft basin and onto Windom............
ft, 4 miles (from Chicago Basin), 8/31/03, 8 hours w/ Sunlight, West Ridge II, Class
2+, Needleton/Chicago Basin TH. We were feeling pretty good coming off Sunlight
and heading towards the easier of the 3 14ers of the w/end. From the 13,300ft
basin we decided to take a leisurely stroll up the easier west ridge to the
summit instead of the more direct and steeper scree/rock couloirs. The weather
was improving so we felt like we had time on our sides to enjoy the warm sun and
deep blue skies. The rock was solid most of the way and the route was easy to
follow. A few big steps and maneuvers got ourselves along the summit ridge to
the highest point just 2hrs after leaving the summit of Sunlight. At the top
were a few shed-sized blocks to the highest point that were nice to scramble up
and check out the beautiful scenery all around. We could even see a few folks
negotiating and hesitating the summit blocks on Sunlight. Given the weather and
time of day we took our time on the summit and getting down. Pretty psyched
about 3 new 14ers we were high on life and got back to camp for a feast of
chicken, rice, more chicken and pepperoni after
almost an 8hr day. Loved it, the Chicago Basin is a most remarkable area!
Unfortunately we had to get back to the train next day for the long ride back to
Colo Spgs and reality. *sigh*
Bear Peak 14,037
ft, 2.2 miles (from bench above Lake Como), 5/30/04, 8.5 hours, West Ridge III, Class
4, Lake Como TH. This is a peak I was definitely fearing, but after the recent
TR's regarding doing this as a snow climb I figured it may be a bit easier this
time of year. The original plan was the San Juans, but weather changed our
plans. Keith, Beth, and Bob picked me up Saturday morning and a few hours later
we were hiking up the horrible Lake Como Rd. Keith drove to about 9400ft and we
hiked the rest. Wasn't too hot but I was dying from not carrying a big pack for
a few months. 3 hours later we were at the bench above Lake Como around 11,900ft
and setting up camp. It was pretty windy and cold up there, temp didn't go above
25degrees all w/end. Some Goldenschlager around a campfire kept us somewhat
warm. We were on the trail and working up the north-facing snow slope around 7am
the following day. Apparently it's normally a horrible scree field so this was
much nicer despite the cold and wind. Steepest was around 40 degrees and before
long we were at the 12,580ft notch and putting the crampons and axes away. Next
was the fun scrambling to the base of the Hour Glass. This was on mostly good
rock and some fun playing around, unfortunately we were going the opposite way
of the sun and it never quite caught up to us! At the base of the Hour Glass we
could see there was snow/ice most of the way up and exposed rock near the
summit. Back on with the crampons and it was solid footing going up with the
sun-cups. There were some real tricky spots where the pitch hit 45degrees and
the snow, ice, and rock started mixing together. Most of the way up I was
thinking about how un-fun it may be coming back down! Just a few hundred feet
below the summit we stashed our crampons and axes then did the 3rd class
scrambling over fun, but loose, rocks to the airy and freakin' cold summit after
3.5hrs of climbing! Nice, had the whole place to ourselves. We didn't spend too
much time up there, then slowly and carefully worked our way back down to our
stash. We were able to somewhat easily down climb the upper snow/ice to a rock
ledge above the steepest part that was covered in solid ice. Bob set up a double
rope rappel that would put us right above the other rappel point. This took
almost an hour to get us all down and at one point I knocked a toaster-sized
rock loose that caught Keith right in the hip. Pretty colorful and sore by the
end of the w/end, but could've hit much worse spots! The second rappel proved
interesting with 40mph winds roaring up the couloir, everytime Bob would attempt
to throw the ropes down they would get blown back up to where he was! This lead
to quite the tangle of ropes that we nick-named "Figure 9" and
"Figure Fook" knots. Once out of the couloir we worked our way back
across the dry and fun ridge scrambling to the notch. We could then see camp and
had the one more snow field to go. This was pretty easy except some post-holing
towards the bottom. Once back at camp after 8.5hrs we cracked open the 4 beers
we brought up and Pringles. A fun night of camping, camp fire, food,
Goldenschlager and Hot Damn, and lots of laughs. The hike out Sunday only took
2hrs but man, does that road suck to hike on! Glad to be done with Little Bear!
ft, 15 miles, 6/20/04, 11 hours 15mins, Keyhole II, Class 3, Longs Peak TH.
After several days of rain it seemed that Longs may have some interesting
conditions! Gregg and I left Golden at 3am and were on the trail just minutes
before 5am. We kept hoping that the sun would pop through the clouds and got to
the Chasm Lake junction in just over an hour. After some food and a brief hint
of sun the peak disappeared and tons of snow and wind came out of the blue! We
did a "privy bivy" and hid under some bushes near the shitter during
the storm. After that we stood around warming up deciding what to do, saw a
couple folks on Keiners! We decided to re-assess the weather at Granite Pass and
after plenty of indecision we started heading back. After seeing a few yahoo's
in shorts then others in sneakers we turned back around losing an hour. About a
dozen folks up at the Keyhole by the time we got there at noon, some were
turning back, some were heading across the traverse with crampons and ice axes,
and some were heading across then quickly coming back. We were getting tight on
time (had to meet my folks for dinner in Denver) but decided to wait to see what
3 guys had to say that were heading back from the summit. After talking to them
we decided to give it a shot regardless of the dark clouds, our biggest fear was
wet and slippery granite. There were footholds in the traverse across snowfields
and rock ledges which gave us some confidence, I kept my eyes away from the
cliffs and ledges at the bottom of the run outs! The trough was completely filled
with deep snow and was an absolutely fun snow climb up 500 feet to the next
traverse called The Narrows. Got pretty warm with the sun reflecting off the snow at times. The
"Narrows" traverse was once again real dicey given the mixed
conditions, wind, and lack of room for error! A couple more traverses and
rock-hopping before I got to the bottom of "Homestretch". This is
normally class 3 on dry rock, but covered with snow and ice now. A couple spots
the ice was REAL thin and the crampons couldn't get real good purchase in the
soft snow at other spots...pucker factor 9.9! This was definitely the scariest
part of the climb for me. I worked my way up pretty fast and the summit was just
100ft away! WooHoo!!! Now the fun part....getting back down. Once again the
"Homestretch" was the worst for me getting down, I waited for Gregg
there and we boogied as fast as we could back to the Keyhole considering this
next storm wasn't going to pass by. Some
plunge-stepping down the Trough saved us some time and route finding was a piece
of cake with the foot holes and painted bulls eyes. On the windy traverse back
to the Keyhole the snow and thunder started and kept getting worse! We dove into
the stone hut and hid out for an hour while the thunder and lightning
boomed right overhead! No signs of the weather getting any better so after not
seeing lightning for several minutes we made a break for it. We were slipping
and sliding all over the boulders but made it out alive jogging the sections we
could. Back near Chasm Lake I saw a guy wearing a sweatshirt from my high school
1800 miles away! Small world. A great climb and a long day!
2010/09/17-18 – “Longs
Peak Duathlon” Biking: 54miles,
4040’; Lyons to Longs Peak TH and back. Hiking: 14miles, 5100’; Longs Peak.
Start: 10:15pm Friday night. End: 3:15pm Saturday afternoon. Me, Guy, and Eric.
The planning went like this via email….. Jeff:
Hey fellas, we’re due for a September adventure, any ideas? Guy: I’ve been
wanting to hike Longs Peak. Jeff: I think we should bike to the TH from Boulder.
Eric: Sounds good.
I’m up for anything. The plan was
set, that easily. Friday evening we
were supposed to meet in Boulder and bike to Lyons before it got dark and the
drunks were out on highway 36. Since I was running ridiculously late after
hiking Quandary with my Dad, Eric and Guy biked from Boulder to Lyons and I met
them at Oscar Blues where we hydrated with a couple brews and laughed about
previous adventures. At 10:15pm we were on our bikes and starting up St Vrain
Canyon on highway 7. We had bike lights and headlamps, but we kept them off as
much as possible since the bright moon lit our way. I thought it would seem
steeper, but we chugged along mile after mile catching up on each others lives
and tossing in the usual “your mom” jokes. Mostly easy uphill with a few
rollers the closer we got. The 27miles and almost 4K feet took 3hrs and seemed to
go by pretty fast. There were only a few cars out and the shoulder was plenty
wide most of the way. The steepest part was the last mile up to the TH.
1:15am at the TH and there were some folks
climbing out of their cars getting ready for the hike. We got the “what the
hell are you doing on a bike at 1:15am look”. We locked our bikes to a tree,
swapped bike shoes for trail runners, and headed up the trail. While Guy was in
the bathroom, we kindly slipped a big rock in his pack for a little extra
weight. About an hour up the trail we stopped to filter water and were all
feeling a bit knackered. Since it was 3am and we didn’t want to get to the
Keyhole before first light, we decided to take a dirt-nap for an hour. Wrapping
up in a space blanket I easily fell asleep and at 4am we were all shivering and
ready to get moving again. Another hour to the Chasm Junction and thank goodness
for the privy! What timing. More
laughing and joking the hours away, and the usual beautiful Colorado sunrise in
the high-country. Through the Boulderfield and up to the Keyhole we got to feel
the warmth of the sun for about 10mins before going to the shady side. The wind
sounded worse then it actually was, but another layer of clothes and it was
bearable. Into the Trough and
despite Guy’s suffering, he kept saying that he wanted to go for Lap 2 as soon
as we got back to town. The Narrows were easier then I remember from six years
ago, and the Homestretch seemed like a breeze without wet rock and snow. On the
summit sometime around 9:30am. Thorough
discussions ensued about the pro’s and con’s of eating a couple beef-sticks,
due to the digestive pandemonium there were definitely more con’s. We were all
getting a bit whooped, but just kept chugging away trying to keep safe with the
dozens and dozens of folks on the route. Back in the Boulderfield (or the
not-so-narrows or the PieHole) we took a nice
long break, yet upset that there wasn’t much more uphill. It took just over
4hrs to get back to the
TH and after taking a bath under the water spigot, it was back to the bikes
still locked to the tree. Fortunately, a marmot did not steal our shoes or a
bear eat through Eric’s top tube to get to a Clif bar. The
first 10ish miles had more rollers then I remembered from 12+hrs ago. The short
uphills were all done in granny gear, but we got through ‘em. Then it was
miles and miles and miles of sweet downhill cruising back to Lyons in about
90mins. Tired, but mostly sore abs from laughing so much! We arrived back in Lyons shortly after 3pm, almost a full 17hrs from
leaving the night before. Another fun adventure for the record books to tell
around a campfire.
3/13/14, Keyhole route. A Longs Peak winter grid slot has been on my mind for a
couple of years. A free mid-week day and decent forecast had me at the TH solo
around 5:30am. Through the forest by headlamp was fun, as always, and the winter
cutoff was clearly defined. As soon as I got out of the clouds I found out the
forecast was wrong by about 20mph and it was time to get on the battle-gear.
Chasm Junction came quickly and I found the trail easily. Instead of taking all
of the switchbacks I followed some snowshoe tracks over the shoulder of Mt Lady
Washington. The wind was roaring through the Boulder Field and a snow sucker
hole reminded me to step carefully. The Keyhole was soon in sight and after
about 2.5hours I was there listening to the jet engine wind. Katoola's off,
crampons and ice axe on. Between the Keyhole and the Trough was careful stepping
and wind-blown snow. Not too bad. The Trough had me dragging and taking plenty
of rests. Hard to believe, but the wind was worse on the Narrows. I stayed close
to the non-drop-off side and stepped carefully. Finally, just the Homestretch.
This was the easiest part since the wind was at my back and the footing was
solid. Got picked up once by the wind, then onto the summit in just over 4hrs. I
stayed for about one minute then headed down. Going down the Homestretch and the
Narrows was tough with the wind. Back to the Trough I had to pull myself through
since the wind was pushing me in the other direction. Back across to the Keyhole
and through the Boulder Field, running out of energy and tired of the wind. Near
treeline I figured I could finish under 8hrs. Jogging most of the switchbacks
had me back at the car in 7hrs 17mins. An earned grid-slot.
9/25/15, The Camel and Cables with Wayne, 8hrs 45mins. A Fall grid spot to hit
Longs in all seasons. Started at 5am, Chasm Junction in 1:20, down to Chasm Lake
for perfect timing of the sun coming up and turning the east face orange. Up the
scree of The Camel for a change of pace, and to the base of the Cables Route. We
took our time getting ready and figuring out exactly where the route was while
catching up on the past year's fun. Wayne led it like a champ despite cold rock
and a streak of ice. It was only one pitch then we put the rope away and
followed the fun ledges, slabs, and scree to the summit in 5hrs. A gorgeous
sunny and windless day. Back down the same way and two fun rappels. My foot was
killing my from catching a rock on it earlier. A quick side trip up Battle Mtn
ft, ~5.5 miles, 6/26/04, 8 hours, South Face II, Class 3, South Colony Lakes TH.
Another trip for the Pathfinder up the S. Colony Lakes road! Camped right before
the stream crossing once again and it rained off and on most of the night. Peggy
and I were awoken to Denali barking and howling so we had to bring the soaking
wet and muddy dog into the tent. Yuk. Hit the trail at 6:30am the next day and
made great time up to the lower lake. From there we took the cut off towards
Broken Hand Pass and boulder hopped up to the snow. We put on the crampons and
ice axes and left Denali down there so he wouldn't knock all kinds of rocks down
on us and others, I didn't feel real confident about him climbing up the steep
couloirs either. The snow was pretty soft by now and we made good timing up the
pass, the top 1/3 was dry. We traversed over to the base of the eastern couloir
following the group and taking our time. As rumor has it, the conglomerate rock
has bomber holds! We headed up the eastern couloir with no snow and
cutover to the western couloir. After talking to two guys on their way down we
decided to stick to the eastern couloir all the way to the top. Some pretty
steep scrambling and not stuff we wanted to come down! Not long after we were on
the summit with some clouds around, glad to have that part over but now came the
dreaded down climb. We started down and got into what we thought was the western
couloir, there were some cairns and we followed them until they disappeared.
Farther down we figured we weren't in the correct spot and had to up climb back
to the same point! Pretty steep and a bit dicey. We saw the guided group coming
up another route and headed down that way, all was good till we didn't cut over
and went down another wrong couloir! That one really sucked and had a tough
climb down and back up the wet rocks.
Finally we got in the correct spot and
recognized some things, whew! At this point we were so ready to be out of there!
With some careful scrambling, traversing, and lowering ourselves around we were
finally at the base of the couloir back to where we left our axes. Over to
Broken Hand Pass and then we just had the one tricky move down the giant boulder
before the snow. Some foot surfing and plunge stepping got us back down to
Denali and just as we were about to head back to the trail we hear, "oh
SHIT....ROCK, ROCK, ROCK!!!!!" I looked up and a boulder the size of a
refrigerator was barreling down towards us! Peggy and I quickly dove behind an
even bigger boulder then pulled Denali over. That was enough excitement for one
day, we thought....about a mile or so before camp it started hailing and
raining. So we dragged our soaking wet butts back to the truck where beers and
pizza were waiting!
8/25/07, Standard route, Keith and Beth's last 14er! Me, K&B, Bob and
Sharon, Nicholls, and Steve Cassin. Champagne on top and the surprise that they
climbed Culebra two weeks ago! HA! Fun bomber Sangres conglomerate once again
and not as scary as the first time. An hour to Broken Hand Pass, 2:15 to summit.
Headed over to Broken Hand Peak afterwards.
ft, 21 miles, 7/17/04, 6.5 hours (from camp), East Slopes II, Class 3, Snowmass
Creek Approach. Eric and I met at the Snowmass Falls Ranch TH and started on the
trail around 6pm Friday night. It rained most of the drive to Aspen, but clear
skies once there and at the TH. Not long into our hike the thunder started and
the skies darkened, next was light rain off and on. The view over Bear Creek to
Snowmass is awesome. At first we were hoping to get up to Snowmass Lake for
camp, once it started raining we were hoping to get to the lower lakes for camp.
By the time we got to the log jam at the lower lakes it was a freakin'
torrential downpour! Instead of crossing and heading for the trees on the other
side, we backtracked about a mile to some spots we saw around 10,200ft. Once
there we were soaked to the bone and the tent filled with water in the brief
minutes it took to set it up! I was mopping up never-ending puddles with my
socks. It was just after 8pm at this point and we were considering heading back
to the cars to dry out and do the 21miles on Saturday. But the rain let up after
about another hour and it wasn't too cold so we stayed. Woke up and put on wet
clothes, then hiked along the overgrown trails getting even wetter from the
vegetation. At the logjam we considered wading across, but it was pretty deep
and flowing good from all the rain. With us each having a trekking pole and a
long stick we hopped over the logs one by one getting to the other side with
even wetter feet. Didn't take long at all to get to Snowmass lake where we
pumped water and scouted the route. Unfortunately we started to follow the
uphill trail towards Buckskin Pass instead of the lower one rounding the lake.
Close to the pass we pioneered our own traverse back down to the base of the
giant scree slope. This sucked going up with lots of sliding around but better
ground over near the stream and grass. Above the scree around 12,000ft the slope
was much more gentle and we followed cairns up towards the snow fields. We were
able to avoid most of the snow and boulder hop around to the base of the ridge.
From here we chose a ~40degree dirt and rock slope to the ridge. Clouds were
starting to build all around and heading our way so Eric decided to turn at this
point. This sure wouldn't have been a real fun way to come down either. A short
bit farther I was on the ridge and following a faint trail on the south side of
the ridge along solid rock with some class 3 moves. It was actually quite fun
stuff! On the summit after 4 hours from camp it was just myself and one other
guy from New York. Due to the weather I didn't hang out for long and started
heading back along the ridge. The giant snowfield on the north side of the ridge
was way too inviting so I found a notch to hop over and was soon zipping down
the snow with my axe digging in deep to slow me down. This saved a ton of time
and between glissading and foot-skiing I was at the top of the scree again in no
time. Some fool was on his way up the scree at this time, obviously unprepared
and ignorant to the weather! Met Eric at the bottom and we were at the lake
again by noon. Easy hike back until the crux
moves on the logjam! Seemed easier
this time though knowing which logs to step on and they were mostly dry, unlike
the morning. We were back at camp around 1pm and packed up our wet gear. On the
hike out it started raining once again but who cares at this point?! It actually
felt refreshing. My feet were pretty trashed from hiking 16 miles that day in
wet shoes, it was nice to be back at the truck. Now I just had to find some
pizza and hopefully dry out some socks before meeting Keith, Beth, and Bob at
915/12, 3.5hrs (round trip from lake). Jean and I were backpacking the 4-pass
loop, we got to Snowmass Lake at 1pm and there wasn't a cloud in the sky, so I
figured a re-visit was necessary since the forecast was great. I was flying up
the slope making great time having bad memories of all the loose giant boulders.
Made it up the 3K ft and to the summit in 1:50. Some guys up there who just
summited (3pm) from lake Geneva. Carefully picked my way back down and back to
camp by dinner time.
Maroon Peak (14,014ft), South Maroon Peak (14,156ft)
9.4 miles; 7/18/04; 11 hours roundtrip (from camp); Northeast Ridge
South Ridge II; Class 4; Maroon Lake TH. I've been quietly fearing these peaks
and glad that Bob volunteered to lead Keith, Beth, and I up them! Still wet from
Snowmass I met them at the TH and we hiked in about an hour and set up camp.
After lousy sleep and a way-too-early 4am wake up, we were on the trail by
4:30am. We found the trail that crosses Minnehaha Creek pretty easily from our
recon this night before, but had some problems afterwards in the bushes and
initial scree. Ended up doing some Indiana Jones maneuvers and found the trail
along the left of some cliffs. It was starting to get light out which helped as
we worked below the north face where the steepness lessened for a traverse over
a boulder field. We started along the broken cliffs and Beth wasn't feeling too
well and turned around. Personally I would not have minded if we all turned
around at that point as well! A loud group above us kept knocking rocks down
already so it was helmet time. Soon we were at the 11,900ft notch and the face
looked impossible! Carefully following cairns and checking out all possible
routes we slowly worked our way up the class 3 cliffs. The pucker factor was
increasing with each step and I wasn't quite feeling "on". The route
really wanders all over and soon enough we were at the crux move up the chimney.
It was a bit wet but we made it up with some grunts and groans. What helped us
the most was checking out just about every option of possible routes before
of the harder moves. After 3hrs and 45mins we scampered around some snow and
popped out onto the summit! Whew. After some major discussion as to whether to
continue on the traverse or retreat back down, we decided to atleast start on
the traverse and turn around if we felt like it (I sure didn't want to
down-climb the way we came up though!) The down-climbing was real hairy and
Bob's pack took a tumble at one point barely stopping right before a cliff a few
hundred feet below. We made pretty good timing to the first short rappel. Got
that set up then pulled the rope....we were committed to the traverse now!
Shortly after was the second and longer rappel, and we rappelled one other
section where the down-climb was hairier then we preferred to test. Once again
route finding was the key and proved to be the most time consuming. I was quiet
throughout most of the traverse and would be very glad once it was over. Once we
hit the notch where the Bell Cord Couloir splits the Bells we thought we were
real close, but it still took awhile with plenty of hard moves. 3hrs after
leaving North Maroon we were on the summit of South Maroon. Whew! Little did I
know what lay ahead to get down still! The next 0.6miles was along the west side
of the ridge going up and down along ledges, cliffs, gulleys, and rotten rock.
Each gully we were hoping was the 13,300ft notch, but of course it wasn't! We
were lucky that the weather was holding out which could've made this climb a
helluva lot more difficult! Once at the notch we could see the 2800ft class 2
and 3 decent to the stream below. This really sucked too and the knees were
screaming. A light refreshing rain fell and soon enough we were at the stream
and drug our butts the last couple miles back to camp for a total of just over
11hrs. These were definitely the hardest 14er's I've done and not sure I'd want
to go back anytime soon! Sure was glad to have climbed them with great folks
like Bob and Keith though.
ft), Kit Carson Peak (14,165ft),
11.6 miles, 7/30/04, 7hrs 45mins, North Slopes II and West Ridge II, Class
2+ and 3, Willow Lake TH. I guess you can say that "fourth time is the
charm" since I've gotten turned around 3 times previously on these peaks
due to weather! Drove out on Thursday night and just slept in my truck at the
TH. I was hoping to start at 4am and use some of the full moon for light, but
sleeping an extra hour sounded better and the moon was below the trees. I was on
the trail just a few minutes after 5am and was going at a pretty good pace up
the switchbacks. I was wondering if I would come back for these peaks a 5th time
if needed. I didn't need my headlamp for long and had forgotten about all the
tons of switchbacks to get to the lake. I got to Willow Lake after just 2hrs and I
couldn't believe there were 3 people camped right behind a "Wilderness
Restoration Site" sign. What ignorant idiots. At the east side of the lake
I was soon reminded how steep it is to get up to the ridge of Challenger. Some
of the rock is solid, there are some grassy patches, and some of the rock is
just loose and horrible scree. As usual there are several trail choices, I went
with the one that stayed west and close to the ridge. Soon I got to the ridge,
dropped to the south side, and was at the spot I've been to twice before...once
in deep snow and another time in the rain. On the thin ledges of conglomerate
with a good amount of drop to the one side, I started across. Luckily I was
feeling really good and they seemed quite easy this time. A few gulleys worth of
them and I popped out onto the ridge and could see the true summit not far away.
The ridge walk was a blast and after just 3hrs 40mins after leaving the TH I was
on the summit of Challenger. There's a nice plaque and an American Flag up there
for the Space Shuttle Challenger crew. I had just gotten TastyKakes from home so
I had to take a picture with them and eat 'em down. The weather was looking
great so off to Kit Carson. You drop down about 300ft before getting on
"The Avenue", I expected this to be about 4ft wide but it was more
like 15ft wide and a piece of cake! That ascends, then descends before turning
up the gulley to the summit. Some fun scrambling and rock hopping around and
40mins later I was on the summit of Kit Carson! Aaahhhh, #51 and #52. I hung out
for a bit checking out the surrounding peaks, the sand dunes, and the
helicopters looking for a lost climber. I remember folks saying its easy to miss
The Avenue on the way out so I took my time getting down the gulley and looking
for markers. I knew if I hit a big pile of snow and saw a white-ish rock on the
right, I went down too far and soon saw
a group coming over from The Avenue. A lost dog was in front of them and we
chatted for a bit. The uphill was not all that fun, and it was nice to be on the
summit of Challenger again. I stayed on the ridge for a while and saw a trail
again, I started heading down but didn't recognize any of it. It was a different
trail but some folks said that's the way they came up. I should've stayed with
the way I came up cause this trail was all loose with lots of sliding around.
The clouds started moving in and I was trying to get down fast to make HH in
Colo Spgs with plenty of time to spare. After getting off the steep slope near
the lake I refilled with water and started jogging thinking it would be good PP
Marathon training. Got a light sprinkle of rain and burned the miles away pretty
fast, getting back to the TH in under 8hrs roundtrip. Definitely some cool peaks
that I would do again!
ft, 17 miles, 8/8/04, 9 hours (from camp), Northeast Ridge II, Class 4, Capitol Creek
Approach. Yet another peak that I was fearing a bit, but Bob re-assured me that
it was easier then the Bells Traverse...Whew! I hiked into Capitol Lake on
Saturday using the Upper Ditch Trail to avoid the lose of 400ft on the Capitol
Creek Trail. This trail was 6.5miles and took just over 2hrs, it was a
beautiful hike in Aspen trees, open meadows, crossing streams and some good
elevation gain towards the end. I could hear the infamous cows mooing down in
the valley as hikers were going through. The plan was to meet some 14erworld
folks at camp so I was asking along the way if they were Rob or Ryan. At the
climbers trail cutoff I found Rob and he directed me towards camp where the
other Rob was. It was pretty rare weather in the Elks being bright and sunny
without afternoon rain. After setting up camp we got water, ate, hung out
talking and swapping stories while Capitol, K2, and the Knife Edge ridge between
the two loomed in the background. The 4am alarm came way too fast and we were on
the trail shortly after 4:30am hiking up to the Daly/Capitol ridge. The trail
was real nice and we were on the ridge in no time with the horizon turning all
shades of red and orange to the east. From recent TR's we knew there wasn't much
standard hiking from here on out, so the poles went in the pack. We traversed a
couple hundred feet and came across the first obstacle, a spine of rock that we
ended up going down and around steeply on loose rock. After this was boulder
hopping through the basin towards Clark Peak on good solid granite blocks. We
crossed a couple small snowfields and soon were in the warm sun. We had our ice
axes for the snow field towards K2, but could've gotten away without them. At
the saddle before K2 we ditched the ice axes and poles and headed up towards the
harder stuff. Some hand and foot climbing got us on top of K2 with the classic
view of the knife edge ridge and the deciding of our fate! TR's told us to bear
right from the summit towards some slightly easier down-climbing. After some
recon we found something not so bad and worked our way down backwards. After
this there was only one way to go along the ridge, otherwise it was a 2,000ft
drop down either side! Some ledges, exposure, and hopping got us to the start of
the knife edge. From reading so much about it we kinda knew what to do and it
wasn't too bad, my key was not to look down! Switching between smearing on one
side with feet on thin cracks and butt-shuffling across, Ryan made it look
simple while I filmed with his video camera. I went next and wasn't as scared as
I figured I would be, following Ryan's exact movements. Next the two Rob's
shuffled over as well with confidence and ease. Glad that was over! More ridge
walking and class 3 stuff landed us at another (but shorter) more difficult
knife edge! *gulp* This one was all smearing for the feet since not many ledges
or cracks and once again solid rock. We slowly and carefully checked out all
possible routes once off the ridge and chose to go low towards the gully. This
was more like North Maroon Peak with loose ledges and picking our way up. A few
climbing moves here and there, but nothing too scary or exposed. Soon we were on
the final summit ridge and just some more scrambling moves away from the summit!
Clear skies all around were a welcomed sight to see. We were the first group on
the summit after 4hrs 15mins and hungout for a while reveling in the cool climb.
Only halfway through the climb now, and sounded like we picked the easier route
up. We found the same route back down but had plenty of other climbers now to
possibly knock rocks down, I couldn't believe how many people were on Capitol!
Once again we carefully picked our way to the knife edge where just a couple
people were on their way across. Reversing our same moves we made it across
without problems and only had the up-climb of K2 before we were in safer
territory. Found a slightly different route that wasn't too bad and then we were
congratulating each other since all the tough stuff was done with. Hopping
across the boulders back into the valley and across the traverse got us back to
the Daly/Capitol saddle and then down to camp in 9hrs total. A quick pack up of
camp and hitting the trail got me back to the TH in just under 2hr for the long
and hungry drive home. I'm glad to have recently climbed some hard 14ers before
Capitol and glad the weather worked out for us. Rob, Rob, and Ryan were some fun
and confident climbers as well. What a great day!!! Oh yeah, what a great day
till I stepped on a dried cow pie with a gooey inside about 1ft away from my
ft), Wilson Peak (14,017ft) 7/16/05, From Navajo Basin,
9hrs from Navajo Lake. Did the marathon drive on Friday with Jean, Beth, and
Denali only to arrive at the TH in the rain. We took our time getting ready
hoping it would stop and started off in a drizzle eventually. From all the
vegetation and rain we got completely soaked anyway. After 2hrs and 20mins we
were at the lake and found a great spot a bit farther up on the north side of
the lake. Had a great dinner of pot roast and mashed potatoes (who says
backpacking food has to suck?!) Keith got to the TH around 11:30pm Friday night
and started hiking in at 3:30am, meeting us at camp right around 5:30am. We
quick hopped out of the tents to make it seem like we were awake! Breakfast and
packing then we were on the trail by 7am on our way to the Upper Navajo Basin.
After an hour we had passed El Diente's north slopes and were at the base of
Mount Wilson picking out our route. We followed the grassy/rocky benches higher
up then followed the snow the rest of the way to the ridge since we brought
along our crampons and ice axes. Before long we were off the snow and snaking
through the loose but solid rock on the way to the infamous notch. This was some
REALLY fun scrambling. At the notch I dropped my pack and climbed right along
the 4th class ridge to the summit, while Keith and Beth followed (the smarter
route) down and up the ledges, and Jean hung out at the notch. Looking back at
the traverse I was glad we weren't heading that way. While scrambling back down
some clouds were moving in, since I still wanted to get over to Wilson Peak I
started boogying down while the others took their time. Back at our stashed
poles I found a marmot boldly nibbling on our hand grips! Bastard! I practically
jogged down the rocks, across the basin, up to Rock of Ages Saddle, over to the
Gladstone/Wilson saddle, and over to the false summit. There were some rain
drops so without wasting any time I got down and up the crux and onto the summit
exactly one hour after leaving the group. Just enough time for one picture and
to sign the register before I retraced my steps practically jogging the entire
way back beating the lightning and thunder. Whew! Two down and one to go! Keith
hung out in the basin for me while the girls headed back to camp only to see
Denali pouting that we left him. Lots of food, laughs, and Jager-bombs, before
turning in for an early night.
ft), 7/17/05, From Navajo Basin, 7hrs roundtrip from Navajo Lake. After a solid
nights sleep Keith and I were on the trail at a leisurely 7am to hopefully
tackle the north slope of El Diente since it was still covered in snow. I felt
like dog-shit on the hour hike up until we took a break for food and to switch
into crampons and ice axes. From previous trip reports and checking out the
conditions we choose to climb up steep snow in the couloir to the left of the
Organ Pipes that dog-legs to the right at the top. We moved well through the
ever steeping snow and topped out after 1hr and 20mins already dreading the
return trip. We stashed the crampons and ice axes and hopped to the south side
of the ridge for some AWESOME scrambling across big blocky rocks and towers. The
route finding was easy with the numerous cairns and steep drops showing us which
way not to go. Before long we were back on the north side of the ridge on the
other side of the Organ Pipes and just a couple gulleys away from the summit!!!
I couldn't believe we were so close to my last 14er! It was awesome making the
last few moves to the summit topping out just under 3.5hrs! We had the entire
place to ourselves and did some brief celebrating. We radioed to the girls who
had hiked up to the Upper Basin and they sung "Happy last 14er" to the
tune of Happy Birthday! Okay, now to get our asses safely back down. The rock
scrambling was a blast once again and we took a long and much needed break at
the top of the
couloir. This is the part we were NOT looking forward too. We
decided to belay each other down a few rope lengths to be safe in the steep and
mushy snow. This worked well and eventually we were at a point were the slope
lessen and we were able to climb down unroped. Now that that was over I could
finally enjoy finishing!!! Back at camp we packed up while drinking celebratory
Jager shots before the 2hr hike out to the cars and celebratory beers! We raced
to Montrose where we inhaled pizza the did the marathon drive back to Denver
getting in at 1:30am. Ouch. What an amazing w/end!! I was so happy to finish
with great people in such a beautiful area! Only thing I would do differently
would be to save an easier 14er for last so I could enjoy it more and not be
scared to death on the down climb!