Monday, September 21, 2009

Sunday, 09/20/09 Bear Peak

I was planning on a bike ride, but when I got out of work it was cloudy and really windy, so I called Homie to see if he was game for a trip up Bear Peak and he was game. We started around 5pm from the Cragmoor TH and it was actually quite nice out, surprisingly little wind. We took it fairly easy, conversation pace the entire way as we always have lots to talk about. Made the true summit in 51:29 and then took it slow and easy on the down. 1:32 RT.

Friday, 9/18/09 N. Twin Cone Peak (12,323), Mount Blaine (12,303)

N. Twin Cone Peak (12,323), Mount Blaine (12,303)
~11 miles
~2,800 vertical
4.5 hours
Jeff, Allison and Sierra Valliere

On our way home from a few days in Fairplay, we decided to stop on Kenosha Pass for a short walk to enjoy the fall colors. We started walking at a fast pace along the road toward N. Twin Cone Peak at 10:30am with no real plan, aside from taking some pictures and enjoying the warm sunshine.

Before we knew it, we were well on our way to the summit of N. Twin Cone Peak. We had climbed it before in December, so it was nice to climb it again under more pleasant conditions. I had hoped to take a long leisurely break in the nice warm sun to soak up the views that we sacrificed on our previous trip, but as soon as I took a picture or 3, Allison pointed toward Mount Blaine and suggested we head over.

From N. Twin Cone, Blaine looks very close, 10-15 minutes maybe? We reached the saddle quickly on the dirt road, but the trip to the summit of Blaine from there was a little slower than expected as it is all uneven grassy mounds, rocks and willows. Normally it would be no problem, but since I am still favoring my healing foot, I was being slow and cautious as to not tweak it on the unstable footing.

Eventually we made the summit and were surprised by the jumble of huge boulders which made for an easy, but very fun rock hop. The weather and views were great and I was pleased to get an unexpected new LCW peak.


Thursday, 9/17/09 Mt. Evans B (13,577), London Mountain (13,194)

Mt. Evans B (13,577), London Mountain (13,194)
~11 miles
~3,200 vertical
5.5 hours

After climbing Decalibron the previous day and a great night of sleep in the cabin in Fairplay, we headed over toward Mosquito Pass for a few new 13ers. In this area, Mt. Evans B and London were on my unclimbed list (as well as Pennsylvania, but we decided to save it for another day).

We parked below the London mine, walked past the mine and headed directly up the hill to cut off a little walking on the road. Once on the road, it was smooth sailing up to the pass, where everything was covered in a layer of rime ice. It being a Thursday, we were surprised to encounter a Jeep on the pass. The guys were quite friendly and we chatted it up a bit, mostly about the poor little dog that had been lost up there a few weeks prior on Mosquito Peak as indicated by the signs posted throughout the area. I hope he was eventually found and maybe the posters just had not been removed?

The stroll along the ridge was pleasurable as the day warmed the views to the West opened up. The summit of Mt. Evans B was enjoyable, but somewhat unremarkable (except for the views of course).

On the way back to the car, we took the little side trip up London Mountain. Though not much vertical is gained, the initial section of the ridge is a bit scruffy and requires a little route finding to keep it at class 2+. After the scruff, the ridge rolls for a long time over several false summits before topping out and took a surprising 25 minutes from the road at a not too fast hiking pace.


Wednesday, 9/16/09 DeCaLiBron

7 miles
3,600 vertical
~5 hours
Jeff, Allison and Sierra Valliere

To celebrate our 5th wedding anniversary, a co-worker friend of Allison’s loaned us their cabin in Fairplay for a few days. We do this annually and climb local peaks, enjoy the fall foliage and have a nice dinner in Breckenridge.

Allison came up with the idea of climbing Decalibron, as she had climbed them all before, but never all at once. The weather report looked iffy and our somewhat late 9am start was no guarantee for success, but our plan was just to keep an eye/ear on the sky and be willing to turn back if things looked bad.

Not much to say about the route, as it has been recited many times before. I will say that this was my first time up the entire trail leading to the summit of Democrat and was impressed with how nice it is. In the past, I have always taken different routes, or deviated from the main trail on snow or talus. I think next time I run this loop, I will stick to the trail exactly and save some time.

It was a nice change of pace to interact with others on a mountain, as we have been climbing obscure 13ers on weekdays as of late and never see anybody. We exchanged hellos with 5 people descending and passed two others on the way up and on the summit who we spoke with a bit. The first was Joe from NC, who was on his 3rd 14er (after summiting Grays/Torreys the previous day). Joe was planning on the whole loop as well, but we never saw him after Democrat, so I am assuming altitude got the best of him.

Also on the summit was a 75 year old gentleman from Kansas who drove out for what I think he said was his 10th 14er. We were impressed and gave him kudos and encouragement and remarked that we hope we are still as fit at that age.

Although there was a fair amount of fresh snow, it added to the enjoyment, especially for Sierra who was rejoicing that winter is on it’s way (Allison was not so pleased with the snow on the descent of Bross).

Crossing from Cameron to Lincoln, we were walloped by a quick moving snow squall which forced us into all the warm clothes we had and reduced visibility greatly. Since there was no thunder or lightning and I am very familiar with the route, we thoroughly enjoyed the short winter preview.

All in all a great and somewhat leisurely way to spend the first of our 3 days in the mountains.