Friday, February 12, 2010

Recap 2009

OK; I apologize for being away from this blog for so long. I haven't quit climbing since 2009's 14er season ended. But it's been a busy time. There haven't been any more 14ers, but I have been out bagging new peaks. Here's the "Reader's Digest" version:
25-26-27 August, 2009: We set off to climb the most distant group of 14ers remaining on our lists: the Wilson group, west of Telluride. One day to drive down there, a night at the trailhead, a second day to hike in to Navajo Lake (11,180 ft.), set up a camp, and rest, and finally, a third day to climb and get back out. That was actually Plan B, so we only got two of the three peaks: El Diente Pk. (14,164 ft.) and Mt. Wilson (14,265 ft.). The ridge in between them was dynamite. It was a long, long day, but we made it. 14ers #46 and 47 for me, 44 and 45 for Trisha. Photos are at:
9 September, 2009: For 9-9-09, we sucked it up and went for a big one: Little
Bear Pk. (14,040 ft.) This is on most people's short list for the most difficult 14er, and almost universally chosen as the most dangerous. So we went back up the awful Lake Como jeep road for a third time. Kritter got us just about half way, which is very, very good. We hiked the rest of the way, under full packs, and camped near the lake (11,700 ft.). Up before sunrise the next day, we summitted about 9:20 am and raced a snow/graupel storm down. We didn't quite make it, and parts of the descent were dicey! But we made it down unharmed, broke camp under calmer skies, and made it out in time for dinner in the little town of Blanca. #46 for Trisha and #48 for me. We will finish in the coming year! Photos are at:
10 November, 2009: I climbed Thunder Butte (9,836 ft.), the Douglas County high point, with Buddy and Molly. It's a fairly demanding bushwhack/scramble, and my first Douglas Co. peak. A close look at Sheep Nose (8,894 ft.) showed it to be too technical for the dogs, so it goes on the "unfinished business" list for another day. Pictures are at:
24 November, 2009: Fort Carson (Chapter 1) at last! Four of El Paso County's 37 ranked peaks are located on the grounds of Fort Carson, and ever since last March, they've been the only ones I still hadn't climbed. Thanks to climbing partner Brad Darnell, I'd finally gotten the necessary permission to hit these peaks. On this first excursion, we got two of them: UN 6970 and UN 6740, plus the first recorded ascent of Wild Mtn. (6,695 ft.) which is actually in Fremont County(!). We thought we had also bagged Booth Mtn. (6,470), in Pueblo County, but a reality check after the fact showed that we had climbed the wrong high point! All the same, this got me to 35 out of 37. I have a few pictures, but haven't put them up yet; I will in the near future.
22 December, 2009: Fort Carson (Chapter 2). Brad and I went back, with Trisha this time, and I finally picked up the two remaining El Paso Co. peaks: Timber Mtn. (6,896 ft.) and UN 6510. I finished my first complete county with 6510, the lowest ranked peak in El Paso County. We celebrated with champagne. We also thought we were climbing unranked Buck Hill (6,390 ft.), only to find that we were in the wrong place. So we christened the interesting, and unnamed, little knob we had climbed as "Cimarron Cone," in honor of Cimarron, who also made this expedition with us. Pictures are at:
30 December, 2009: Fort Carson (Chapter 3). With our "hunting" permits for the base about to expire, Brad and I went back and climbed the correct (south) high point on Booth Mtn, Buck Hill (really this time), and a repeat of Wild Mtn. Photos are at:
5 January, 2010: Cedar Point (5,991 ft.). UN 7150, which I had climbed last March (Yes: I know there's no entry for that trip here, but there is a trip report at:
sits on the El Paso/Elbert county line. So when I climbed it in my quest to finish El Paso County, I also got half of the (two!) ranked peaks in Elbert County. On this date, I set out to bag the other one, and finish Elbert Co.
Technically, it's just a hike. The long drive out to Limon is the biggest challenge. To make all that driving worthwhile, I also hit 3 unranked Elbert Co. named summits: Matheson Hill (5,990 ft.), Eagle Rock (6,234 ft.), and "Elbert Rock," the Elbert County high point (7,370 ft.), which lies a stone's throw from the Elbert/El Paso county line. This gives me five of the seven named or ranked summits in Elbert County, more than anyone else, as far as I know! Photos are at:
10 January, 2010: Turtle Buttes (6,423 ft.). With Booth Mtn. really done, I decided to launch into Pueblo County, which has only 9 ranked peaks. The lowest is Turtle Buttes. I took a side trip on a journey to New Mexico to visit Suzanne to grab this obscure summit.
20 January, 2010: UN 11749 and UN 11830. Brad and I donned snowshoes (and Cimarron didn't need them) to hit these Teller Co. peaks on the Pikes Peak quad. 11749 is ranked, and was a repeat for me, and 11830 is unranked, but actually more interesting. This was my first snowshoe outing. We had intended to go on to Sheep Mtn. (12,397 ft.) and UN 11510, but Brad got cold fingers and toes and we bailed early. They're on the agenda for a future climb. I took some pictures but haven't posted them yet.
3 February, 2010: Table Mtn. (7,423 ft.), UN 6183, UN 6460. These peaks are all in Fremont County. Table Mtn. was the main goal, the last one I needed on the Mt. Pittsburg (Yes; I spelled that right.) quad. The other two are nearby. Plus, 6183, the peak behind the Florence landfill, is the only ranked peak on the Florence quad! Photos are at:
11 February, 2010: Huerfano Butte (6,166 ft.). I went down to New Mexico, hoping to climb a couple of peaks near I-25. Recent snow and mud prevented me from reaching either. So, on the way back, I took a short detour north of Walsenburg and climbed the very unusual unranked peak, Huerfano Butte (or "El Huerfano"). This odd rock outcropping is the source of the name of both Huerfano County and the Huerfano River. Photos are at:
And that brings us up to date. Stay tuned...