Saturday, January 4, 2014

Bear Peak Powder Day

Originally planning on spending a fun afternoon scrambling flatirons with friends, these ideas were quickly abandoned when we awoke to 6 inches of fresh snow. I got my friend to go on a "casual" run up Bear Peak - it was anything but casual. This was his first mountain run so he had no idea what to expect. There was probably about a foot of snow on the ground at the trail head, most of which was already essentially packed by our start time. Fern Canyon was difficult, but nothing terrible.

He insisted on bringing his juggling balls...
Bear Peak's South Ridge was Treacherous (notice the capital T). Having one pair of micro-spikes between us, we each had one super -secure foot and one useless peg of flesh that slid everywhere.

Top of Fern Canyon
My friend was not necessarily accustomed to the mountaineering, so the going was slow, but steady. At the summit, I quickly scrambled to the top, tagged the summit and scooted back down. I was extremely cold, completely numb pinky fingers and toes - I later found my sock was soaking from melted snow and had completely frozen around my foot.

I am colder than I look
Brief rest on summit
Wanting to warm up, I hinted at running, but didn't force it until we were off of the technical ridge and back to Fern Canyon.
Cruising down Fern Canyon
Going down Fern was pretty fun, almost like powder skiing. I finally started to warm up as we sped up, and it felt amazing. We walked the final packed downhill to keep the impact off the foot.

Things I learned:

  1. Gaiters don't look stupid, they look like comfortable warm dry feet, put them on at the beginning, not once your feet are numb
  2. If its cold and there is a chance you have to touch the snow, bring non-running gloves in the pack.
It was like 6.5 miles but it took like a year cause of the conditions, it felt like we were climbing Mt. Crumpet looking for the Grinch.

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