Lake Isabelle

Lake Isabelle

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Meadow Mountain

Meadow Mountain 11,632
1/26/08
7.7 miles/2,832 vertical
Jeff and Allison Valliere, Dave Hale, Steve Hoffmeyer, Terri Horvath, Jennifer Roach, Jean Aschenbrenner, Scooby, Shep and Sierra

Not wanting to commit to too much this weekend due to other obligations and shaky weather reports, we quickly accepted Stevo’s invitation to join him for Meadow Mountain and St. Vrain.It was a bit windy and snowing when we all met ½ mile from the summer Mount St. Vrain TH, and we were wondering what we were doing there. Once we got going, conditions were not too bad, but I was surprised to find so much snow and such minimal (none) evidence of human traffic.Even though most of us had been up there a few times, we immediately lost the trail after passing the summer trailhead. I wallowed my way in the general direction of where I vaguely remembered the trail to be and we soon found it.Following the trail with the new snow was easier than wandering in the woods, but was still a good workout with all the fresh powder. Once the valley steepened, the real work began and we all took our turns breaking trail in the ever deepening fluff.Just below treeline we fully bundled up for the battle we knew was soon to follow. We gradually emerged from the trees into a full on 60-70 mph headwind/ground blizzard. See videos: http://s147.photobucket.com/albums/r296/jeffvalliere/Meadow%20Mountain/?action=view&current=MVI_4969.flvhttp://s147.photobucket.com/albums/r296/jeffvalliere/Meadow%20Mountain/?action=view&current=MVI_4967.flvNear the saddle at the far reaches of the Krumholtz, we removed our snowshoes and lashed them to the branches so they would not end up in Longmont.From here, although the summit looked so close, it would take a surprisingly long time in the ever increasing wind (video of upper slopes http://s147.photobucket.com/albums/r296/jeffvalliere/Meadow%20Mountain/?action=view&current=MVI_4978.flv)It took all of my might to place and secure each foot and pole. One moment of inattention or being off balance would send you tumbling across the talus.A few choice words were uttered along the way, but were quickly absorbed in the fury of the wind. Once on the flat summit plateau, I ran and took a few leaps toward the true summit. Once I jumped up, the wind would literally extend my leap by several feet. I also tried leaning into the wind several times and could easily maintain a 45 degree angle. I had to be careful to not face directly into the wind, as this would catch my hood (secured by goggles) and throw me severely off balance and threaten to rip off my goggles. (Summit video: http://s147.photobucket.com/albums/r296/jeffvalliere/Meadow%20Mountain/?action=view&current=MVI_4982.flv)Allison, Steve and Terri all arrived soon after (Dave, Jennifer and Jean were much smarter than us and turned around) and we spent no time lingering. Going back to treeline was a struggle not to get thrown to the rocks and it was a no brainer that St. Vrain was not in the cards. Allison got thrown to the ground at least once, but bounced out of it quickly. Once in the trees, we re-joined the remainder of the group and it was a total cruise back out in our now well worn path.This was one of the most hard earned small “easy” peaks I can remember due to the trail breaking and especially the wind. I had been up there a few times before and it was such an easy cruise, but this trip felt like somewhat of an accomplishment. All in all an amazing day with a great group of people. We were all quite compatible and had much to talk about, which really added greatly to the enjoyment of an otherwise less than ideal weather day.Pictures:http://s147.photobucket.com/albums/r296/jeffvalliere/Meadow%20Mountain/
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