| Dreamweaver (plus Martha and Loft Conditions)
Mount Meeker – Dreamweaver Couloir
Derek and Nathan
I had been hoping to climb Dreamweaver for several years and conditions finally seemed right on Sunday. Indeed, conditions proved to be perfect in nearly every way. I almost can’t imagine finding Dreamweaver in better conditions than we found it on Sunday. The kicked steps that currently exist made the climbing MUCH easier...it almost felt like cheating! I’m not sure how long the climb will last with the warm weather. Get up while you can.
We left the trailhead at 2:45 and made it to Chasm Meadows in about two hours. The Longs Peak trail was in good shape. There are some large snow drifts, including one about 200 yards long after the double stream crossing just below treeline. We used our microspikes on the way up here and there, but they probably weren’t completely necessary. After a short break at the meadows, it was time to head for the sky.
The couloir as we approached. What an amazing place!
Current conditions of the Loft snowfield. It appeared that several people were headed up to ski, but we didn't notice ski tracks on the way down. Perhaps headed somewhere else?
The Flying Buttress is a spectacular formation. If you look closely, you can see a single rope dangling near the bottom of the buttress.
We started climbing the lower snowfield around 6:00 am. Climbing was easy using the previously kicked steps.
We reached the couloir proper at 6:30. This is where things got really fun and interesting.
It was steep, but we didn't feel the need to rope up yet.
Derek climbs the narrowing couloir.
We then reached the first rock step. I think this is actually the second step (5.6) when the snow and ice are leaner. We decided to protect this section, but it probably could have been soloed. There was about one 5.3-ish feeling move over a scary-looking hole in the snow and ice. This hole/cave will certainly get bigger as things continue to melt.
After this section, it got very easy near the top of the Flying Buttress. Lots of bare rock.
We took the crampons off to explore the amazing surroundings.
We were at the top of the Buttress by 7:45. After the dogleg in the couloir, things got even better. Here, we headed toward one of the most exciting sections:
This section has everything you could want for couloir climbing - steep snow, terrifically solid rock on both sides, and amazing views. Roach talks about seeing the Flying Buttress beneath your front points. Well, there it was!
There was another narrow ice constriction above the ribbon section, but we didn't use the rope.
The final narrow constriction looked icier and longer, so we decided to protect it with the rope. There were very good rock placements on the sides.
Above the final constriction, we abruptly exited the couloir to the broad upper slopes of Meeker. We were out of the couloir at 9:00.
The upper snowfields were easy and led directly toward the summit.
Upon reaching the Meeker summit ridge, it was time for some fun scrambling. Why does it take so much gear to climb these things?
We crossed some fun knife edges on the ridge proper.
There were a few tricky moves to gain the summit itself.
We summited at 9:30. The wind was blowing fiercely, so we didn't linger. Here's a pic of Longs from the summit.
After meandering down to the Loft, the snowfield appeared to be the quick way down.
The snow was steep and soft up top. We descended a bit by plunge-stepping.
Then it was time for a great 1,000 foot glissade. Is there any better way to get down a mountain?
Chasm Lake was the perfect place for a nap.
Conditions on Martha. Looking kinda thin?
On the way back, the weather was Colorado beautiful and almost too warm. What a fantastic cirque this is!
A look back at the climb.
We reached the trailhead at 2:15, for a 11.5 hour total. Several other parties climbed Flying Dutchman and gave it a good report. The rangers at the trailhead said that Keyhole was in bad shape (at least for summer climbers) and they didn't expect to remove the technical rating until August.
All in all, it was a perfect day for Dreamweaver. Thank you, God, for the spectacular weather. And thanks, Derek, for the climb!
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):