Saturday, June 6, 2009

Saturday, 6/06/09 Mt. Bierstadt

I called Homie this morning to see if had anything cooking for the weekend. We tossed around a few ideas and decided to make a last minute trip up Bierstadt. Left his house in Superior a bit after 9:30am, headed to the Guanella Pass TH and started at 11:32am. Things looked pretty melted out, aside from the relatively fresh snow above ~12,500, so I decided to "run" it. We wanted to go pretty light, but some hikers finishing warned us that the winds up high were strong and it was cold, so we headed back to the car for more layers.

The trail through the willows was a mucky mess which required some acrobatic moves back and forth across the trail to stay reasonably dry. I knew there would be little chance to set a PR today with the conditions, but I wanted to get in a good workout. As soon as the trail steepened, I knew I was not recovered from Thursday and just resorted to power hiking for pretty much the remainder of the ascent. Soon the wind started to pick up in earnest and I was getting pelted by some stingy ice crystals that were getting whipped up.

I eventually decided to put on the fleece I tied around my waist at the last second, but that involved removing my pack and was a bit of a trick in the windy conditions. After staggering along preoccupied with this task, I finally just decided to stop and do what I needed to do.

Once on the snow, I was surprised at how firm and grippy it was, great traction, some steps and no postholing. The route also headed up the hill a bit sooner, slightly deviating from the summer trail, but only by a few hundred feet on the most. I enjoyed heading straight up the fall line and made good progress through this section, although I found it hard to really push hard with the strong winds and cold temps with the windchill.

I made the summit in 59:17, 3:28 slower than PR, but I was pleased with this all things considered. Once at the top, I put on my bomber Patagucci hooded jacket, another pair of gloves and my balaclava and started back down to meet Allison and Sierra. I quickly dropped 800ft. or so and helped pace her to the top. John had topped out in 1:14:?? and came back down to join us back to the top. We topped out again at 1:22pm, a 1:50 ascent for Allison and did not linger due to the cold and wind. We headed down steady pace and arrived back at the TH at 2:37pm for a 3:05 RT. Although short, this turned out to be an awesome day out. Back to the high country tomorrow for some ridge running over a few 13ers.

No comments:

Post a Comment