Daylight savings meant that it was headlamps from the get-go. I much prefer using my headlamp in snow, especially with a big group so I can use not only my own light but all of the other lights reflected off of the crystals, the white should be here soon. Tonight also happened to be my 100th summit of the year, it was nice to get that with RMR friends who have been there for at 30 or so of them, and supplied much of the motivation of staying motivated all year.
|Cool group a folks, not sure who it is that felt they needed to compensate for the moon not being in the picture! :)|
Ran up to Four Pines and over to the Regency. The Regency is notorious for offering one 4th class route hidden among a web of dead-ends and higher difficulty scrambling. Today I suddenly found myself on a tapering flake which required a sloping mantle maneuver that I couldn't commit to, so I had to downclimb and traverse a bit. Next I went up the trivial east face of the royal arch and downclimbed the trickier 5.6 west face. I'd done this a couple times before, but never without sticky rubber, so it took some extra time. With all my slow scrambling I was forced to skip my planned ascent of the 5th.
11/4, Wednesday - Last Flatironette & Green Mtn - 9 miles, 2900', 1:41
Met Ford and Jack on campus and I huffed and puffed to keep up on the runnable terrain -- Jack has imposed a rule of no hiking east of the mesa trail. From the Woods Quarry we marched straight up and accidentally onto the Last Flatironette. I had no idea what slab we were on but the difficulty was easy (which was important for Ford, a relatively new but enthusiastic scrambler). The downclimb ended up being an easy hang-off. We finished up to Green and took an odd combination of trails back down to finish off a great outing. Pretty chilly, a few flakes up top!
11/5, Thursday - Green Mtn - 9 miles, 3000', 1:52
The precipitation that fell last night turned to snow around 6,500ft so I went up and down the Amphitheater trail. Maybe 2 or 3 inches of snow on the summit and a slippery descent. I can tell I haven't dealt with cold temps in a while as I was way over dressed.
11/6, Friday - 1st Flatiron & Green Mtn - 9 miles, 3100', 1:58
On the run up I wasn't sure exactly my plan but I hadn't been on the 1st for a while and it looked free of snow. The scramble wasn't particularly fast without sticky rubber and 3 weeks absent from the rock, but all my cruxes felt fine. Finished up to Green and jogged back down. There was an unnerving amount of ice lingering on the upper 800ft of the mountain and a blanket of clouds obscuring all views, winter is here.
11/7, Saturday - Mt Lady Washington (13,281') - 9 miles, 3900', 3:10
Jack, Joe and I started at the Longs Peak trailhead and jog-slogged up to the Chasm Junction from which we began the steep hike up Mt Lady Washington. Perfect blue skies and surprisingly non-violent wind made for a perfect summit with the panoramic view of Longs' east face which Lady Washington is notorious for. I was surprised how well I was able to navigate my typical route in the trees with unbroken snow, though I definitely missed a few turns.
|Longs looking as freakin' awesome as always|
Although the dirt road up to the trailhead was hardpacked snow with tire tracks, I decided not to push my luck and started running from the highway. First thing I see when I get to the actual trailhead was the same exact car I drove, nice. The overly popular and thus eroded standard trail had a layer of trodden snow which made the going much nicer up to the Kelso turnoff. Kelso Ridge proved to be an exciting ascent with all of the difficult class 3/4 sections getting a 5th class upgrade due to the snow. The final technical section had my usual holds covered in loose snow so I was forced into a sketchy crimp and edge. Amazingly, I never even put on my spikes the whole day. Getting over to Grays was a forced effort, but I can't pass up such an easy tick on a 14er summit. The descent was glorious, plowing through snow then bombing down that snowy, car-tire packed road back to the car. Weather was beautiful as well, comfortable in a t-shirt and clear skies enabled views from Pikes to Longs to the southern Sawatch.
|This short move from the leading man to where I took the picture stumped one of the guys in this party I passed, it was by far the technical crux of the day.|
|View of Kelso Ridge while descending Grays|
So that marks one week of trail running without any horrific ankle ligament destruction, which is good. Happy to getting back to schedule that feels consistent and sustainable.