Your Nemesis (mountain)

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wonderwi
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Re: Your nemesis mountain

Postby wonderwi » Mon Nov 21, 2011 9:59 pm

For me, it was Denali (Mt. McKinley). Three attempts, no summits.

First Attempt: My partner and I were hit with one of the worst stroms to hit the
peak in a decade. Winds over 100 MPH for 3 days. Tent was badly damaged.
After 1 day, we pulled the poles and used it as a bivouac sack. The storm broke
our spirit along with our gear. It took 2 more days of rest, food and hydratuion to
even get ready to descend.

Second Trip: My partner developed pulmonary edema above high-camp. Made a
rapid push back to 14,200 where he recovered. Our get-up-and-go was gone after
that.

Third Trip - Solo Attempt: Just below Windy Corner, I froze 3 toes during an incredibly
fast weather change. Six months prior to the climb, I ran a 16 penny nail through my
foot whild doing construction on my house. That injury restircted blood-flow out or back
to/from those three toes. The other froot never even got cool. I saved the toes by thawing
them on the mountain but I still couldn't get a boot on for 3 additional days because of the
swelling and tenderness. All of the skin blistered and sloughed off the frozen toes. The
acto of thawing the toes out caused more than 3 hours of incredibly intense pain.
That ended that trip.

I still have a warm spot in my heart for Denali. With that said, Mother Nature rules up there.
There are many things in life that will capture your eye, but very few that will capture your heart. These are the ones to pursue. These are the ones worth keeping. Author Unknown
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mstender
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Re: Your nemesis mountain

Postby mstender » Tue Nov 22, 2011 9:12 am

Pichu Pichu near Arequipa in Southern Peru...I would not really call it a nemesis but the Inka gods did decide that I was not supposed to summit in 2007. Pichu Pichu is by no means a technical moutain, probably not more so than a Sawatch 14er, however it is quite a bit higher (18,500ft). Before we left to drive up to the mountain, I felt really good; I had done an acclimation trip (hiking between 12-14,000ft for 2 days) and spent several days in Arequipa at 8000ft. The morning we left for Pichu Pichu, my stomach was a little bit funny but I thought I was simply a bit nervous since the mountain was more that 4000ft higher than anything else I had done before and I was not sure how I was going to react to the altitude. It was a 4 hour drive from Arequipa on an increasingly bad dirt road with increasingly more spectacular views to about 15000ft where the jeep tracks ended. From there we planned on hiking for another hour or so to set up camp. As we got closer to the trailhead my stomach started to feel funnier and funnier and by the time we got ready to start hiking I was violently sick and throwing up. We had to make a decision to either continue on or return to town but I knew immediately that I needed to go back. At that point I did not know what it was, but I was definetely not sick from the altitude as I did not have any typical AMS symptoms. On our ride back to town we had to stop every 15 minutes or so because I had to throw up and at that point I was so sick that I even had to throw up water thus I became very dehydrated as well. By the time we arrived back into town I had turned into a dribbling mess and my wife (who is from Arequipa originally) took me to the ER. They did a lab test and found that I had caught a stomach bug. I took Cipro and drank electrolyte solution and was okay within a few days just in time for the New Years party. :D
Unfortunately, this was the end of climbing in Peruas we had planned to spend the last few days at the beach, so I kind fo feel I still have unfinished business in Peru and I am planning to return some day.
"You may have passed time in happier ways, but there are other mountains to climb: you've never lived as you're living today - now is the time!"
Peter Hammill 1976
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SurfNTurf
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Re: Your nemesis mountain

Postby SurfNTurf » Tue Nov 22, 2011 12:51 pm

I don't know if I'd call it my nemesis because it's one of my favorite mountains in Colorado, but I have a funny story about being turned around on Sneffels.

It was my first 14er attempt, in the summer of 2009. I couldn't find anyone to go with me and decided to just hike solo, figuring there'd be others on the standard route. The only problem with my little theory? I was so overly cautious I got my alpine start about two hours before everyone else. :lol: So anyway, I get up to the Lavender Col and take a left toward the V-Notch before I even see anyone below me. It's cold and I can't sit around waiting an hour or two just to have company. I pass through the V-Notch (not without some reluctance, as I'd never seen exposure before), follow the obvious trail and then -- bam. Nothing. It just peters out. All I can see surrounding me is unclimbable rock; there's nowhere else to go without a Class 5 move. I figure that means I'm on the summit, take a few self-photos and enjoy my lunch.

I make it all the way back down to below the Lavender Col before I run into the next group of hikers heading up. They asked me if I summited. I giddily replied that I had, and that it was my first 14er. There was much congratulating.

It wasn't until I made it all the way home and realized during a re-examination of the route description that I'd been about 30 vertical feet short of the top. There was a path around the rocks I'd deemed impassable that led quite easily to the true summit. I kept Mt. Sneffels checked on my peak list for more than a year, but finally decided I have to go back if I want to count it. I figure it'll make a poignant finisher. Except via the Class 3 ridge, because the standard scree gully sucks.

On the plus side, I did Windom a week later and now have the distinction of being one of the few hikers around who can claim that as their first 14er?
“There are two kinds of climbers: those who climb because their heart sings when they’re in the mountains, and all the rest.” - Alex Lowe

"There have been joys too great to describe in words, and there have been griefs upon which I cannot dare to dwell; and with those in mind I say, 'Climb if you will, but remember that courage and strength are nought without prudence, and that a momentary negligence may destroy the happiness of a lifetime. Do nothing in haste, look well to each step, and from the beginning think what may be the end.'" - Edward Whymper
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Mel McKinney
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Re: Your nemesis mountain

Postby Mel McKinney » Tue Nov 22, 2011 2:26 pm

SurfNTurf wrote:I don't know if I'd call it my nemesis because it's one of my favorite mountains in Colorado, but I have a funny story about being turned around on Sneffels.


Reading this made me think of a full moon hike on Handies. On the way up we stopped at Sloan Lake, and when we starting hiking again we hadn't gotten back on the main trail. There's another, smaller trail leading from the lake. After about 15 minutes of hiking we started to question the direction and realized our mistake. After a "shortcut" on a rockpile we made it back to the main trail. :oops: Looking at the trail later in the daylight we felt kinda silly, but at least we made the summit in time for sunrise!
Mountains cast spells on me - Why, because of the way Earth-heaps lie, should I be Chocked by joy mysteriously; stilled or drunken-gay? Why should a brown hill trail Tug at my feet to go? Why should a boggy swale Tune my heart to a nameless tale Mountain marshes know?
--- Belle Turnbull ("Mountain-Mad")

"Nothing is so embarrassing as watching someone do something that you said couldn't be done."
---Sam Ewing
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Duffus Kentucky Climber
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Re: Your nemesis mountain

Postby Duffus Kentucky Climber » Wed Nov 23, 2011 8:17 am

Nothing terrible to report more elaborate than the usual showing up at the TH w/o water, or socks, or boots on various occasions that could have aborted hikes. But, when your plan is to sleep in Summit County and drive to the trailhead for Mt Elbert at three in the morning and you end up sleeping at the trailhead while it rains flaming monkeys three days in a row, even if you summit in good style the next day, it can be considered a nemesis mountain. :evil:
It looks like the ridge is just right up there!
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Re: Your nemesis mountain

Postby its_not_a_tuba » Wed Nov 23, 2011 11:03 am

TomPierce wrote:Mine is the Mattherhorn in Switzerland. Three attempts, two of which were close but not quites. Funny true story on Attempt 1:

So there we were, about 19 hours into our climb, it's pitch black and we're off route. Nowhere to bivy, and we're out of food and water, have been for hours. So exhausted that any uphill effort leaves us panting in seconds. Down we go, unsure of even where we are on the mountain, much less the route. Finally, in the inky blackness we reach a sheer drop off, cliffed out. Way, way too tired to retrace our steps up the gully in which we're now trapped. We peer over the cliff, narrow our headlamp beams but cannot see the bottom at all. Nothing. But two old pins in the rock make it obvious others have gone down here before. We rig a rappel, toss the ropes, and I'm off. Down, down...still can't see the bottom. The cliff becomes overhanging and I begin to swing back and forth in the wind which is whistling through the nearby jagged rock spires. Finally I reach the end of the rope, waving the ends in my hand, still suspended in midair. Now I'm in deep trouble, I'm literally at the end of my rope, hanging in midair at 2am. I seriously don't know if I have the strength to prussik up the rope...I don't think I do. The gravity of the situation begins to stoke panic in my gut. My partner above leans over to ask how it looks...and that's when my headlamp burns out.

Holy crap, now what? So with one hand holding the rappel rope in a death grip, I unsling my pack and with my teeth open the zipper of my top pocket where I've stored one of those Cyalume chemical candles, the ones you snap and shake for light. Careful now, I tell myself, get your pack back on, don't panic. I bend the candle against the rock wall, hearing the tube inside snap, soon I'm bathed in an surreal green glow. I hold the candle down, damn I still can't see the ground. Finally, with no other choice I throw a Hail Mary, tossing the candle down to see where the ground is.

It lands six inches below my feet, resting softly in the equally pitch black dirt.

A lazy day, just wanted to share a funny story about my nemesis peak.
-Tom


This story got my heart going. When I climbed the Matterhorn in '06 I ran into a solo climber at the Solvay Hut asking me to lower his rope to him which was hanging about 6 feet above the hut. I thought it was odd that a solo climber would carry a full rope but continued on not fretting about it too much. About a half hour later I watched a helicopter pluck his buddy off the mountain about 1,000 feet below the hut. Turns out they were in the same predicament you were, it just turned out differently.

My nemesis embarrassingly was Quandary for a long time. In my defense it was my insistence on doing that mountain by the Inwood Arete that caused me so much grief - I swear I can create the most violent mountain storms you have ever seen by so much as touching that route.
"Wilderness settles peace on the soul because it needs no help. It is beyond human contrivance." -- E.O. Wilson
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its_not_a_tuba
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Re: Your nemesis mountain

Postby its_not_a_tuba » Wed Nov 23, 2011 2:11 pm

Scott P wrote:I wouldn't call the peak a nemesis though; it was more of a project. Just like it's neighbor Peak 7071 still is though I haven't been to the area in a couple years now.


Scott - Did you ever try the NE ridge on 7071? From the photos I have seen it looks doable but I haven't heard if anyone has tried it. Just curious.
"Wilderness settles peace on the soul because it needs no help. It is beyond human contrivance." -- E.O. Wilson
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Matt Lemke
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Re: Your nemesis mountain

Postby Matt Lemke » Wed Nov 23, 2011 3:29 pm

its_not_a_tuba wrote:
Scott P wrote:I wouldn't call the peak a nemesis though; it was more of a project. Just like it's neighbor Peak 7071 still is though I haven't been to the area in a couple years now.


Scott - Did you ever try the NE ridge on 7071? From the photos I have seen it looks doable but I haven't heard if anyone has tried it. Just curious.

I have been meaning to head up there to the area north of the Yampa and east of the Green Rivers to explore. I was also looking at photos of the NE ridge and thinking...just maybe :D


And for me, my nemesis mountain is an embarrassment. Square Top just off Guanella Pass

I have attempted it three times and still haven't made it.
The first in Late October 2008 we had just climbed Bierstadt in fog and drizzle and we decided to rest a little at the pass before heading out to do Square top. We made it to Square Top Lakes when my partner couldn't go anymore due to strep throat he had developed the day before.

The second attempt in February 2010 we drove up as far as we could and walked to Guanella Pass and got to an area just short of the Square Top Lakes before realizing that post-holing to my chest wasn't a good thing.

The third time was in November 2010 when I made it up to within 500 feet of the summit and was forced to turn around by a freak 30 minute whiteout blizzard that made getting back to the car a little challenging. To our dismay once we got back to the car the sun came back out ](*,)

Didn't attempt it this fall but I will not fail on this easy peak 4 times!
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Re: Your nemesis mountain

Postby TomPierce » Wed Nov 23, 2011 4:00 pm

Matt Lemke wrote:its_not_a_tuba wrote:
Scott P wrote:
I wouldn't call the peak a nemesis though; it was more of a project. Just like it's neighbor Peak 7071 still is though I haven't been to the area in a couple years now.

Scott - Did you ever try the NE ridge on 7071? From the photos I have seen it looks doable but I haven't heard if anyone has tried it. Just curious.
I have been meaning to head up there to the area north of the Yampa and east of the Green Rivers to explore. I was also looking at photos of the NE ridge and thinking...just maybe


Pt 7071 is on my project list (I'm trying to climb all the ranked 5th class peaks in Colorado). I was planning a trip out there for this month but work and family time made that impossible. I might try that week after XMas, I'm very serious about going after it (and 3 other nearby peaks). I have a cartographer buddy whose company did aerial imagery, reduced to 3D computer images, of that area so that could help. If you guys are interested maybe we can join forces.
-Tom
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Patinator
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Re: Your nemesis mountain

Postby Patinator » Wed Nov 23, 2011 4:02 pm

Pyramid - 1st attempt had to turn around because the storm that was causing lightning on Capitol was headed towards Pyramid. This was on the ridge at the top of the ampitheatre so despite the goats mocking me, I felt like I at least got a good hike in. 2nd attempt had to turn around at the turnoff from the Bells trail in a rain downpour. The 2nd one was definately worse than the 1st. I had just gotten out of my car and was promptly smacked down so I don't even know if that counts as an attempt. Sort of an all dressed up and no place to go kind of feeling. I only had a one day window so I was done, but my climbing partner tried it 2 days later and bagged it (it was his third attempt) Oh well, I'll be back next summer for another shot.
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Boggy B
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Re: Your nemesis mountain

Postby Boggy B » Thu Nov 24, 2011 2:11 pm

I've had my share of failed attempts and retries. My nemesis right now is all seven of the 13ers above Cotton Creek.

In February I hatched a plan to bag them all in two days via a camp on the Electric-De Anza saddle and, armed with the heaviest assortment of gear possible (mountaineering boots, snowshoes, 8-lb tent, cookware, etc.), started bushwhacking up the long ridge directly north of the Cotton Creek trail. I didn't go very far in the deep snow before I realized I wasn't going to have daylight to get there.

Went back in May planning to hit Owen first and see what I had energy for in a day. I wasn't really feeling up to it all morning, everything was socked in above 11000', and after cruising past my GPS marker for the bushwhack to gain Owen's north ridge I called it quits. That was a blow mentally.

Then in August I decided to give it another shot. This time I went up Electric via Horsethief Basin. On the summit I was tired and the weather had started building. Unsure I'd be able to safely bail if needed while on the ridge, I gave up once again. One summit to show for 17 miles of hiking.

So I've barely scratched the 22-mile, 8700' (I think that's what I calculated) RT. By now I'm determined to get all of them, including Electric again, in a day. If at first you don't succeed, ](*,)
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Re: Your nemesis mountain

Postby dan_spors » Fri Nov 25, 2011 9:19 am

I actually refer to Uncompahgre as "My Nemesis," which got that title back in March after my 3rd failed attempt.

#1 - Planned a 2-day solo spring approach with a bivy at the summer trailhead. Because the snow was thin and icy at the turn-off up to the summer TH, and a major lack of foresight, I decided to skip the snowshoes. Just short of the TH, and after hours postholing through waist deep snow, I decided that it was time to make camp and admit I wasn't making it to the summit.

#2 - Solo ascent of Wetterhorn with an open possibility of going over to Uncompahgre in winter. I didn't see/misread the signs for where the trail breaks off from the road, and lost three hours hiking in the wrong direction and then backtracking. By that point my spirit was so crushed by this that I didn't care to go up anymore and dejectedly walked back to my car.

#3 - Another solo 2-day spring approach. Followed the summer route past the summer TH and to the gully that ascends to the final plateau before turning back to the summit. Not comfortable with the slope and late sunny conditions, I ascended the slope to the left to scout out another option. Not seeing one immediately and being tired from the hike decided to make camp and continue on the next morning after the snow had hardened overnight. Woke up to 6" new snow and near white-out conditions. Turned around cursing the mountain (and maybe my reluctance to just go for a summer ascent).

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