Wednesday, F, Ezra and I decided it was time to climb Mt. Sneffels. The climb marked the first 14er for both Ezra and I as well as the first 14er F has climbed (he’s driven up Mt. Evans).
We started our climb in beautiful Yankee Boy Basin. From the last parking area, it’s only about 1 1/2 miles to the summit so we took our time on the way up. We stopped for awhile to photograph this really friendly marmot:
As is normal in the San Juans, the views just get better and better (and my list of mountains to climb gets longer and longer).
We even found a bunch of fulgurites (is it still a fulgurite if it’s not a tube?):
Monday morning, Amanda, Jolleen, F, and I woke up at 3:30 and loaded up in the jeep. We headed up Corkscrew Pass and then headed to Hurricane Pass (12,407′). As we had planned, we arrived in almost total darkness to see the whole progression to sunrise.
As we waited in the dark, it was cold. I glanced around at the high peaks silhouetted against the starry sky and started thinking “up.” With shooting stars from the Perseids all around, I decided to head up the slope to our east. Away I went, picking my way through the scree, pausing now and then to note the lightening of the sky to the east and how the mountains in the distance showed more and more. Steadily, I climbed, worrying that I wouldn’t reach the summit before I had gotten too far away from the group.
Finally, I arrived at a craggy summit standing above the Lake Como basin. I could see the lake, shining darkly, down below. I could pick out Uncompaghre and Wetterhorn Peaks along with hundreds of other peaks that I can’t name. It was quiet and cool with just a slight breeze—the morning brimmed with possibility and excitement.
I returned to the group warm and happy—I had just climbed 13,447′ Hurricane Peak before sunrise. Not a bad way to start a day.
More from our sunrise adventure to come soon. (Like once I get pictures from Jolleen and Amanda since my camera battery was completely dead…)
OR Show is an interesting experience. You’re surrounded by awesome outdoor gear and pictures of people doing awesome outdoor things but yet you’re (happily) trapped in a twilight zone. (F quipped: “This place is like Vegas, I have no idea what time it is.”) Fortunately, we were able to scratch the outdoor itch with a #hikerchat adventure planned for Saturday sponsored by Teton Sports, Goal Zero, Good2Go Bar, and American Backcountry.
It was so much fun to be hiking with a big group of people and just hearing laughter floating through the fresh mountain air. Stories of travel, climbing, and of course hiking were the order of the day.
Haley spent last year as a Grassroots ambassador for Stonewear Designs and it turns out we were both rocking Stonewear on the trail!
At the saddle above Catherine’s Lake, Shawn laid out he plan for what was to come: the group was going to head for a minor summit followed by Sunset Peak. Forrest and I took a look at the basin and glanced at each other. “I think we can hike around the lake,” he said. “I want that third summit,” I replied. And we were off: on a mission to loop back to the saddle in time to meet the group.
We were about two-thirds of the way up Sunset Peak when we realized that we were really going to have to kick it into gear if we were going to not have anyone waiting on us!
Somehow, Forrest always winds up taking pictures of me in caves, hollow, trees, etc. This trip was no different:
And a cheesy self-portrait:
The rest of the #hikerchat gang on Sunset Peak:
Grabbing the summit of Pinnacle Peak was pretty awesome but seeing this beautiful guy (and his friend) was definitely the highlight of the 3Up Adventures route:
In the end, Forrest and I covered 8.6 miles with about 1,700 feet of elevation gain. Not too shabby. 🙂
Last weekend Sprocket indulged my peak bagging impulse by summitting Peak 2434 in the Little Ajo Mountains with me. It was a gorgeous day and we both really liked the short (but steep!) hike. The views from the top weren’t too shabby either!
A couple weekends ago, Ezra, Sylvia, and I set out accompanied by Sprocket and Blue for the summit of Cardigan Peak (2,922′) near Ajo. The weather was cool and absolutely perfect for a hiking adventure. Together, we figured out a way to the summit, stopping to relax a few times along the way.
The summit was unexpectedly exciting! There was a nice pile of boulders on the summit. Blue, Sylvia’s dog, wasn’t interested in touching the tip top but since I was going, Sprocket was sure he needed to come too—even if it made me a little bit nervous!
It was so much fun to have friendly hiking partners to enjoy the outdoors (and the post hike ice cream) with!
We landed on a new tropical island and within an hour we were standing at the top of a really really big mountain: Mauna Kea—13,796′ above sea level!
Going to the summit was one of my goals for our trip to Hawaii so we’d done a fair amount of research about the road to the summit. Most of the guides said that it was a very rough 4-wheel drive road however we found both Saddle Road and the Mauna Kea Access Road to be in very good condition. The Access Road is about 15 miles long and all but about 5 miles are paved. This road is easily driven by any vehicle, not just 4-wheel drives. There were little rental cars all over it.
At the top of the mountain, there is a short path to the summit high point. There isn’t much of a view because the mountain is so broad and vog often blocks views to the south towards Mauna Loa and Hilo.
It’s a pretty crazy feeling to leave the lush vegetation around Hilo and drive up into the empty cinder landscape. Getting in to the car the air was sticky and warm but up on the summit was windy and 50 degrees!
Friday, we hiked Picketpost Mountain in Superior, Arizona with Blaze. After spending several days in town it was really nice to get out and do some exploring!
The trail up Picketpost is about two miles long and gains just under 2,000′ of elevation. The elevation gain is lots of fun however as the trail ascends up one of the mountain’s rocky shoots. The trail is blazed and fairly easy to follow.
Our second day in Yellowstone started in the parking lot of Canyon Village. We ate a quick breakfast in the cafeteria and headed for Mt. Washburn. It was a short and sweet 3.1 mile climb to the summit. It was one of those hikes with a perfect grade–we didn’t feel like we were working but still managed to gain 1,400 feet!
After the hike we headed up the Lamar River Valley towards the Northeast entrance of the park. That was by far the most beautiful part of the park in my opinion–there were just some gorgeous mountain cliffs and the valley got nice and small as we approached the park entrance.
We finally found a date to head south and climb Mt. Thielsen! This time we were joined not only by Ezra but by Dan, a friend Forrest made when he worked the HP auction, who was back for another go-round in Oregon.
We had an absolutely beautiful day for a climb. The trail was really well constructed and the hike up the the PCT junction seemed like a breeze! (Dan for one might argue with me a bit on this.) When I got my first good view of the mountain I couldn’t help but notice its similarities to Mt. Crumpet (of The Grinch Who Stole Christmas fame). The scramble up the summit block was so much fun! Forrest scared himself a little bit when he decided to take an alternate (read: poor choice) route up but eventually we all found ourselves standing at 9,182 ft! (9.8 miles round trip, 3782 feet elevation gain)
The view was beautiful. We could see Bachelor, South Sister, Diamond Peak, and Mt. McLaughlin, not to mention Diamond Lake and Mt. Bailey. We headed down the mountain ready to go find a place to camp and grab some dinner.
Finding a place to camp turned out to be a little harder than we’d expected as all the campgrounds on Diamond Lake were closed for the season. We wound up camping on a Forest Service Road that took off for lakes to the north…we were near the much less scenic dumping grounds for Diamond Lake Resort. We found some wood for a fire, cooked dinner, drank a couple of beers and all promptly passed out. I spent most of the night shivering in my pathetic excuse for a sleeping bag (fabulous for light summer hiking and 40 degree nights…not so great for the fall 25 degree ones) but eventually Forrest took pity on me and shared a bit of his amazing old Coleman bag.
The next morning we headed to the Diamond Lake lodge for some coffee. It was fun to sit by the huge old (1920s?) fireplace and talk to the resort workers about the resort and the area but it was soon time to head south to Crater Lake.
I’d never seen the lake and it was pretty amazing. I do have to admit that I was more enamored with the view of the super fun mountain I’d climbed the day before across the lake. We hung out in the lobby of Crater Lake lodge while eating our breakfast of bagels and checked out the display of the lodge’s history. It was a little sad to see how much it would cost to stay and eat at that beautiful place…out of this world expensive! We checked out the small visitors center, took some pictures, and decided against doing the whole rim drive to head out along the Rouge River instead.
This ended up being a fabulous idea! We got to see the pretty falls near the headwaters as well as the place where the river actually runs underground through some lava tubes (Forrest and I stood on top of it!). Just on a whim we stopped to see Mill Creek Falls and instead found ourselves at the Avenue of the Boulders. We all had a blast scrambling around the big rocks to see where we could get ourselves. Eventually we found the falls but they weren’t near as exciting as the boulders had been.
After that we headed back to Corvallis–but what an awesome October weekend!
Sunday, Forrest, Ezra, Thomas, and I headed up the slopes of Mt. Washington (7,794 ft). We left Philomath about 6:30 in the morning and even I chowed down on a Egg McMuffin as we headed east. We arrived at the trail head about 8:30 and were immediately swarmed by mosquitoes.
We followed the Pacific Crest Trail south for about three miles to get to the climber’s trail–Forrest and I hiked this in a speedy 40 minutes! After that the going got slower for me as my cruise focus has dampened my exercise drive recently. Still, all things considered we made decent time to the summit block. From the base of the block to the summit was so much fun! There wasn’t anything overly technical but there was a lot of climbing and scrambling to be had.
We ate lunch at the top swarmed by flies instead of mosquitoes but the view certainly was something. To the north we could see Three Fingered Jack and Mt. Jefferson, to the south/south-east there’s the Three Sisters, and several others (I need to go over my Oregon peak picking some more with Forrest…).
The climb down was something as well. Fortunately we’d brought rope because we’d read about a sketchy area for down-climbing. Sketchy was right! We all basically lowered ourselves down the rope hand over hand while walking our feet along the nearly sheer crack we’d climbed up earlier–it was exhilarating to say the least!
From there Forrest and Thomas took off down the scree slope while Ezra and I chose the trail. We chose wrong. It was long and hot heading down across the ridge and things didn’t get much better once we reached the trees. Forrest and Thomas beat us by a good forty minutes and went swimming in Big Lake while we were still slogging down the PCT being eaten the whole way.
All in all, it was a good climb and gave me inspiration to start running again (and not only running, but running hills and running then repeatedly). Too bad it’ll all come to a halt when I get on a boat in six days…