Sunday, September 9, 2012

Week Summary: Sept 3 - 9

Mon-AM: 2:02, 4000' ~ S. & N. Arapaho Peaks (13,397' & 13,502')
Slept at the 4th of July TH and took the standard avy gulley up to the ridge, hitting the south summit in 59:40 and making the traverse over to N. Arap in exactly 15min.  Both peaks were swirling in clouds and quite chilly with the strong west wind. Picked a good line on the way back down and generally had a lot of energy in the legs, which was nice after yesterday's slogging.
PM: 1:08, 3000' ~ First Flatiron+Green Mt.
Scrambled the First in 12:40 with a 4:15 downclimb...the wind was really howling up there which always makes the downclimb feel a lot sketchier.  Descended via NE ridge-SR-Amp.

Tue-AM: 2:01, 4500' ~ Flatiron Trifecta+Green Mt.
Tweaked it this morning to go 3rd-2nd-1st instead of the usual order.  I feel like going in descending order might be slightly faster for me.  Was psyched to get up the First in 13:05 with a 2:43 PR downclimb despite being in running shoes.  My climbing PR is a minute faster, but I was using approach shoe rubber.  Super dehydrated by the top of the First, so the trip to the summit of Green was a real slog.  Descended Greenman to Gregory which was a nice variation that I haven't hit in a long time.
PM: 1:19, 3000' ~ First Flatiron+Green Mt.
Got a relatively late start--7pm--so ended up descending mostly in the dark, which slowed things considerably.  New-ish shoes didn't seem to be sticking very well on the rock, so I only managed a 15:15 scramble of the First.  Funny, a week ago that would've been over a minute PR, so obviously can't complain too much. Incredible sunset.

Wed-AM: 1:18, 3000' ~ Third Flatiron+Green Mt.
Early morning because Joel wanted to catch the sunrise from the summit of the Third (lazy 9:30 scramble of the face). Kind of a sluggish downclimb, then marched to the top of Green before heading back down to Chat.
PM: 2:06, 4500' ~ Torreys (14,267') & Grays (14,270') Peaks
Took advantage of the impeccable fall weather and tagged this duo in the evening, heading up the Kelso Ridge to the summit of Torreys.  Started from my usual spot on the road at the beginning of the private property. Legs were really poppy at first but then I really struggled up Grays.

Thu-AM: 2:21, 4500' ~ Mt. Elbert (14,433')
My 23rd summit of the state's high point.  Jogged around to the backside of the mountain for an ascent of the West ridge and then descended the standard NE ridge.  Things were OK for 45min or so, but the 3000' in barely a mile up the back of the mountain was a monumental struggle; zero energy. Was extremely relieved to make it to the summit. Spent most of the rest of the day napping and eating food.

Fri-AM: 3:41, 7200' ~ Guanella Pass to Loveland Pass Traverse
This ~14mi line tags six summits: Square Top Mt (13,794'), Mt. Argentine (13,7xx'), Mt. Edwards (13,850'), Grays Peak (14,270'), Torreys Peak (14,267') & Grizzly Peak (13427'). It's an obvious line that I'd never thought of (indeed, I'd never even been to Guanella Pass before), and was motivated to get out by Ben Clark, who had clearly had this on his tick-list for a while and was interested in getting some footage.  We woke on Guanella Pass to sub-freezing temps and fresh snow on the surrounding peaks.  I very nearly wore tights and would've been a bit more comfortable all day if I had. Ended up in shorts, a long-sleeve, jacket, and gloves.  The summit of Square Top was completely enshrouded in clouds and we had no views to the extent that we first tried descending to the west-southwest and encountered incredibly high cliffs.  Soon enough we found the correct northerly ridge and made a treacherous snow-slick talus descent before climbing to Argentine. Somewhere around Argentine Pass the clouds finally lifted a couple hundred feet and we were able to enjoy some of the incredibly big views up there. Edwards was an easy slog with some nice ridge running between there and Grays.  I waited a long time on Grays for Ben and hunkered down in the talus as a squall of graupel/sleet blew through.  Shortly after that I decided it was time to get warm and I blitzed Torreys and Grizzly before rolling on the CDT back down to our shuttle car at Loveland Pass.  Fun day and some new peaks.

Square Top - ~:58
Argentine Peak - ?? (fog)
Argentine Pass - 1:40
Edwards - 1:59:45
Grays - 2:30:45
Torreys - 2:44:45
Grizzly - 3:12:15 

Sat-AM: 3:07, 5200' ~ Maroon Bells Traverse (14,156' & 14,014')
Slept at the Maroon Lake parking lot/TH and started from there in the morning.  Headed up West Maroon Creek first, meeting up with Joel at Crater Lake, and we took the South Ridge route up Maroon Peak. The 2800' of ascent from the valley to the ridge was some of the most enjoyable trail I've been on all summer--perfect footing, lovely grassy meadow, and a wonderfully steep hiking grade. There was some route-finding issues now and then on the technical stuff leading to the summit, but all in all it wasn't a very complicated mountain.  There was a mountain goat w/ a baby on top, though, and that was awesome.  Joel did some filming on this ascent that took some extra time (and that I didn't include in the running time).  The traverse from Maroon over to North Maroon definitely got my attention, though. The descent down to the saddle between the two (top of the Bell Cord Couloir) was quick but sketchy with loose choss on top of slabs.  From there, the route stays either right on the ridge or makes short traverses on ledges to the left, but more than once I wasted time attempting to traverse on sketchy ledges to the right because I wasn't sure what line was most efficient.  There were maybe two short dihedral/chimneys that required a couple of 5th Class moves, but overall it was pretty straightforward.  I will say I was glad to be traversing from south to north, as downclimbing a couple of those moves would've been slightly tricky. The north summit was a party, so I got out of there pretty quick and began the loose descent down the mountain's north ridge/east face.  Eventually the route turned into a pretty defined path and it was awesome cruising down the mountain on such a direct route.  Hooked back into the Buckskin Pass trail, took it down to Crater Lake and ran back to the Maroon Lake TH for a time of 3:07:58, not including the filming with Joel on the first peak.  Would love to come back and make a clean, no-stops run of this loop, it's a gem despite the loose rock.  With a more focused effort and now with some route-finding knowledge, I think it could definitely go under 3hr.

Crater Lake - 18:55
East Slope turn-off - 39:25
South Ridge - 1:22:00
Maroon summit - 1:44:50
Saddle - 1:50:55
N. Maroon summit - 2:10:45
Rock glacier exit - 2:39:15
Buckskin Pass Tr - 2:49:00
Crater Lake - 2:55:25
Parking Lot - 3:07:58

Sun-AM: 3:38, 5400' ~ Capitol Peak (14,130')
Slept at the Capitol Creek TH and started from there. Legs were a bit weak/tired this morning, but the Capitol Ditch trail is enjoyably flat for quite some time so I was able to slowly find a rhythm after a bit. Things were straightforward up to Capitol Lake at 11,500, but I was psyched to finally start gaining some elevation with the grunt up to the Daly saddle at 12,500'.  From here the route crosses over to the east side of the ridge and I stayed quite a bit higher than what is probably generally recommended, traversing through some brief, loose 4th Class terrain as I angled up towards K2, the small summit that signals the start of the ridge to Capitol itself.  The ridge over to Capitol ended up being more engaging and fun than scary, and with surprisingly solid rock given the crappy stuff that exists all around it. Route-finding from K2 back to the Daly saddle was easier on the way back and then it was just a matter of keeping a solid pace on the flats and rollers on the way back to the TH.  Incredible weather this weekend in the Elk Range, with plenty of leaves changing, too.  CO autumn at its finest.

Capitol Creek crossing - 30:30
Fence - 41:xx
Capitol Lake - 1:08
Daly saddle - 1:22:50
K2 - 1:49:20
Capitol summit - 2:08:40
K2 - 2:26
Daly saddle - 2:47:50
Capitol Lake - 2:53:30
Fence - 3:09
Capitol Creek - 3:16:20
Trailhead - 3:38:22

Hours: 22h41min
Vert: 44,300'

Kind of a weird week. My energy has been all over the place, probably from getting after it too quickly after Leadville, but it's really difficult when the mountains are right there, the weather is perfect, and snow is coming soon.  Some days I feel really fit, and other days I feel burnt out and needing a bit of a break.  We'll see.  I was really happy with my weekend in the Elks, though.  The rock there is pretty scary bad, but the scenery is off-the-charts.  I'd like to get back some time and link-up the Bells with Pyramid...I could've made that happen with some planning on Saturday, but I didn't know how difficult the Bells would or wouldn't be, so didn't want to bite off more than I could chew.  A more likely ambition would be to tackle the never (?) repeated traverse of the Elk 14ers that Neal Beidleman and partner put down back in the 1990s.  Nothing wrong with leaving some projects for the future...

Fresh snow on Bierdstadt and Evans Friday morning, from Guanella Pass.
Ridge traverse over to N. Maroon Peak as seen from Maroon Peak.
Looking back down to Maroon Lake. Photo: Joel Wolpert.
Capitol Peak sunset on Saturday evening.
Summit ridge of Capitol, including the knife edge.


Anonymous said...

Wait... you take naps? - Impressive week and heaps of vert! Impressive work after Leadville and nice job through the Maroons.

Rain said...

Gosh that Maroon area is gorgeous!!!

the runner said...

Nice work week! I dig the new home page photo of you scrambling the vertical.

Jamie said...

Looks like a great week. I've been wanting to do the Guanella to Loveland Traverse for a while. Of course I plan on it taking two hours longer than yours did . . .

Summits said...

if you haven't already seen this- the Capitol Peak to Snowmass Peak traverse might interest you. You need need more gear then you are used to bringing though (rope for raps and protection).

ps- earlier this summer I checked out the Wilson- El Diente traverse, its great and not too technical, you can link Mt Wilson to Wilson Peak to El Diente for one awesome day. I did it without any ropes or protection.

Bradley said...

How do you think your winter outings will change compared to what you've been doing this summer? I imagine the snow will stifle these kinds of ascents, no? Do you think you may repeat the kind of winter you had in 2010, with your Green summits?

Alex Knuckles said...

Hey Anton, I am a former CU student now living in Mexico ... have you ever thought of coming to the races here? The ones in Chihuahua are fantastic, anyhow, carry on with the good work!

mike_hinterberg said...

Beidleman's traverse was pretty epic, it would be fun to see someone take a stab at it.

You've obviously hit RMNP, IP, Sawatch, and Elk Range pretty hard, and a smattering of San Juans...I expect you'll be playing on Crestone Conglomerate soon enough. For novelty factor (and, selfishly, impressive photos and beta), though, it would be cool to see what you could piece together in the Gore Range.

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