Monday, March 21, 2011

Nameless Rock Outcroppings

21 March, 2011: On a quick outing, I climbed two unnamed, unranked rocky high points on the west edge of Colorado Springs.
The first, suggested to me earlier this month on a drive-by, is located in Bear Creek Park at approximately
38.8223°N, 104.8877°W. The high point is at roughly 6,650 ft. I took a use trail leading north along the ridge top to the "back" side (i.e., the east side) of the rocks, which required only a bit of Class 2+ scrambling. I believe I also could see a doable route up a gully on the steeper west side, which would lead to the saddle just south of the summit. It looked like also no worse than 2+.
The second one is located a bit farther south, just off High Drive, at about
38.8180°N, 104.8954°W. It rises to about 6,680 ft. Here, too, I did not scale the (likely technical) east side, which rises up dramatically from the creek bed, but climbed to the ridge behind the promontory to approach the summit rocks. This one still required about ten or twelve feet of fairly exposed climbing that I would rate as Class 3. It would be a different matter if the rock were wet.
Long life and many peaks!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

23 Skidoo!
(Mount Rosa)

It had been too long. After achieving my goal of climbing Mt. Rosa (11,504 ft.) in every calendar month in February of 2009, I had kind of put it on the back burner. But with gas surging toward $4 per gallon again, a big mountain requiring less than 4 miles of driving had an undeniable appeal. Plus it would be my first excursion above 10,000 ft this year.
Expecting snow to slow me down on the final push to the summit (it did!), I shortened my usual route by about two miles by starting at Helen Hunt Falls instead of the Gold Camp Road road closure trailhead, and climbed directly up the ridge to the collapsed tunnel, instead of running the road up North Cheyenne Cañon and back again. Other than that, it was the "same old" route, but it had been so long since I had done it that it was easy to love. I also loved finding almost no other people, relatively little snow, and a well-beaten path through it, all the way to the saddle before the final push to the summit. Yay!
Even so, the ascent took almost four hours, mostly thanks to postholing and trail-losing on that last leg.
Sadly, I also found that the old, bolted-in register canister is no long there. However, a new, informal register has been placed in the summit rocks, and I was pleased to find the entry of my fellow peakbagger Jeremy Hakes, and his dad, Greg, who climbed in late February(!). Somewhat fatigued though I was, I made it down in just over three hours. Climb #23 of this fabulous mountain. That's not the record, but maybe I'm number two? Obviously, it's my favorite mountain.
Long life and many peaks!