20 August 2009

An August roundup

Yesterday I enjoyed the benefit of not having to worry about thunderstorms and got up at the lazy hour of 7 am for a day in the mountains. A partner bailed but I still went out and climbed the West Ridge of Pacific Peak.

The approach thoroughly taxed me. It wasn't until I was descending back to the truck I realized how steep the hike was. Add to the fact that I went too high and wound up on the west ridge of Atlantic Peak, before descending to the Pacific Creek basin.

The ridge was rather easy and I ran up the thing quickly. A little over halfway up, the fun stops and talus slogging begins. I've come to terms years ago that I am not a peak-bagger. For me it's the journey that makes the day. So when the climbing ended, I reversed course and downclimbed, a little off the ridge crest this time, and got back to the basin.

Forgot the camera on the desk in my loft so no pictures. Not that I was stopped long enough to really do more than take in the views of the basins and the shrill chirps of pikas and marmots.

Some pics from previous excursions the past few weeks:

Spent three days in the Sangre de Cristo mountain range again. Only had one good day of climbing weather, where I rode up the worst road known to man (Hermit Pass Road) and climbed some headwalls that were more than I planned. Also the steep talus and forest in between made for a very stout 1,200 feet of climbing.

The camera tilt doesn't do it justice. Scampered up 10 feet before realizing I couldn't get off the rock on to the steep talus without possibly destroying an ankle or sliding down 100 feet into the forest. So I climbed up the slopping slab.

Some idyllic mountain stream photos. The stillness of the forest was buzzing with the flights of bees and other assorted winged critters. Great place to eat lunch and contemplate the noise of life.

The false summit of Horn Peak tries to peek out from clouds. I took the wrong trail and once near treeline, discovered everything was saturated with moisture. Any climbing was out for that day. Still got about 12 miles of forested hiking in of getting yelled at by numerous garrulous squirrels.

Fun Sangre rock. Some closeups on a boulder problem I scrapped my way up during my hiking.

Crestone Needle and other peaks in the south of the group. Drove up a 4WD road to treeline and nearly got blown away. Constant wind around 40 mph with gusts upwards to 60 mph. My hat blew away once while I waited for the blustery conditions to abate. They never did and so I left. Wasn't going to do a solo ridge climb in such conditions. I like me!

Weston Pass. Decided to check out a road I had passed numerous times in South Park. I got led to this spot, where I ran up a 13er near the pass and got snowed on coming down.