Thursday, July 28, 2011

La Plata Peak

We finally managed an early morning climb by sleeping in the truck at the La Plata trailhead. The truck had been slow in starting, and that morning when John tried to turn it on so we could warm up for a few minutes, it didn't start at all. The prudent thing probably would have been to try to take care of it that morning. Instead, we went for a hike.

It was a gorgeous morning, how could you not want to be up in the mountains?!

I'm not sure what this summit pose is supposed to represent:


Scenery ... again:

Fun rocky trail:

Nice marmot:

On the way back to the truck. I wonder if it will start now?

Checking out the fast-moving water - glad there was a bridge for this one:

And... no, the truck (which is named Tug, by the way) wouldn't start. No amount of fiddling or reading the manual or jumping it would help. So began the work of figuring out how to get it to the repair shop in Leadville. I almost got a picture of Tug on the flatbed tow truck, but the camera was still IN the truck at the time, bummer. The nice guys at the shop did some diagnostics, but it was clear we weren't getting it back that day. And it was Friday afternoon before July 4 weekend. Hmm....

Our friend Danny is so kind, he loaned us his truck to take to Silverton, then his friends Mark and Ken drove it up to Silverthorne for us. What a bunch of wonderful guys! We are very much in your debt.

And that concludes our pre-Hardrock mountain climbing. Excellent training in a beautiful state!

Antero Attempt

Many years ago, John climbed partway up Mount Antero, but didn't get to the top because he was with a guy who wasn't quite ready for such a long hike at altitude. Antero was one option on my list of several options around Buena Vista, and John was partial to it, so away we went. We kept saying we would get up early and start when we were supposed to, but we had not accomplished that yet. This morning was no different.

The weather looked OK when starting out, just a few clouds. On the road toward more road up many switchbacks:

Higher up, it was clear that some kind of weather was moving in.

We made it to 13,800 feet but did not push for the summit because of dark clouds fast approaching. Turning around, we ran downhill and dropped quickly away. We were a good bit lower when the hail started, but nowhere near the shelter of trees yet. I didn't know it then, but this turned out to be really good practice for Hardrock (and this is as close a shot of the peak as we got):

Then the sun came out! Should we go back up, John asked? No way! We'll just have to try again another year - maybe John's 3rd time will be a charm.

Then more thunder, more clouds. About a mile from the truck it started pouring. Ugh. We ran down the hill in soaking wet shoes. It was a good test of my rain jacket for the race (it passed, so that was nice).

We headed to Bongo Billy's where we sat on the porch, drank warm drinks, and watched storm cloud after storm cloud roll across the mountains and through town - crazy weather day:


Another "catch-up" post from our Colorado trip... we did a second double-14er day, and it was a good one. It was kind of a triple-14er, but not really, or I guess it depends how you count it. It could have been a quadruple, but the top of Bross was closed. I'm not sure how you "close" the top of a mountain, but we didn't go up there to see if there were fences or armed guards.

We drove up as far as we could, parking just below the first big snow field across the road. It almost looks like foamy surf:

The view up the valley where we were headed:

We weren't surprised to see snow over the trail:

It was good practice for kicking steps in snow on the side of a hill:

Saddle up! (No, I just mean there's a saddle... up)

Finding a good way up Democrat was tricky. The actual trail headed into steep snow fields and lots of talus. We saw Sombrero Guy glissading down - and then I think we saw him again on a bike heading up toward La Plata a couple days later?

It was a scramble involving boulder hopping, but we made it to the top, yay!

Hmm, what pose should I try next?

I used this one for my Hardrock Twitter account photo :)

Why, yes, I will try a tasty piece of dark chocolate yumminess, thank you.

We headed down the ridge instead of trying to pick our way down the way we had come up. This worked out MUCH better and I was glad John had suggested it.

Heading up to the next mountaintop:

We had to walk around the top of Mount Cameron to figure out where exactly the highest point was located. It was weird - first it looked higher over there and then from "over there" it looked higher back where we just were. Anyway, we got to the top... somewhere:

It was just a slight drop down to the next saddle before starting up the trail to Mount Lincoln. Because it's so shallow between them, and Mount Lincoln is higher, apparently Mount Cameron doesn't really count. But that won't stop me from putting it on my 14ers webpage.

Karate Kid:

My version from a less impressive location:

Starting down the trail, admiring the views:

Incredibly, we ran into a couple from Norway who has raced with a Norwegian friend of ours. I guess we each look like adventure racers to each other, so we had to stop and talk. How funny to meet them on the top of a mountain!

The road over toward Bross had many colorful flowers:

If you can see the faint colors on the hillside - those are all flowers. Pretty!

We crossed below Bross on a connector trail to finish a big loop and head back down to the truck.

Phew, another long day! I started each day slowly, waiting to see if my body was ready to climb in the altitude again, and it kept agreeing to go uphill, so that's what we did!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Grays and Torreys Peaks

Our first double 14er of the season - it was a day for Grays Peak and Torreys Peak. We parked down at the interstate and hiked up the road (someday we'll get 4WD, and in the meantime we get more of a workout).

Crossing the footbridge at the start of the trail:

This sign gets a lot of press in the trip reports. I can report that it was still partially snowed under the day we went (June 27):

Hello, Marmot!

This was unexpected - Hello, Billy!

I don't recall John ever actually RUNNING up these mountains (I know I didn't), but it kinda looks like it here:

Dark chocolate Kit-Kat reward for reaching the summit of Grays Peak:


Another Yay!

Impressive scenery:

Another delicious Kit-Kat, once we reached the top of Torreys Peak (John, I think that's the short straw, so I get the rest of the chocolate...)

Snow on the summit:

Looking back at Grays:

Snow fields on the way down:

I guess I better get used to this...

Day 2 = another good climb, another amazing day in the mountains