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 Peak(s):  Pearl Mtn  -  13,362 feet
 Post Date:  09/20/2011
 Date Climbed:   09/17/2011
 Posted By:  bergsteigen
 Additional Members:   moon stalker, lovskiing

 Gurlz love snow!     


Pearl Mountain


Route: Pearl Pass Road to ENE ridge
Mileage: 6.3
Elevation Gain: 2,400'
Blizzard bravers: Kelly (moon stalker), Monika (lovskiing) and me

The weather for this past Saturday was not ideal. So not ideal, that the official Gurlz hike had to swap days. But as I still had planned my entire weekend in the Elks, I thought why not give the 13er we had planned for Sunday a shot on Saturday. Worst case, we get snow beta for the next day. With Kelly being a definite accomplice and winter/spring snow climber, and Monika a ski instructor for Loveland, we had a solid cold and snow weather team. We even took turns leading during the day.

I had skied West Pearl last spring, and got a decent view of Pearl. Combine that with a summer photo from Furthermore's TR and I had more than enough beta with a map to decide that we could ascend this peak with snow and not get above class 2. Kelly and I had a GPS to guide us when our eyes could not see, which was most of the day. And we needed a GPS to make sure we were on the true summit, since visibility was so low.

Today was one of the few times that we were lucky that the first part of the route was a road. We wouldn't be soaked from step one by the wet grasses that typically surround a trail. So we made quick time up the wet road and found snowline to creep below 12K.

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Starting up Pearl Pass Road

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Rain to start

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The snowline...


Once up to the upper meadow area below the peaks, the visibility was quite low, and would remain as such all hike long. The area is so beautiful, as we would barely be able to see it. We followed the road until we saw a nice grassy ramp that would take us into the belly of the beast between the two ridges. From there we trended climbers right until we had bypassed some rocky prominence and gained the ridge to our right. We still had some route finding to do to keep the difficulty low and easy. The snow got deeper the higher we went up the ridge.

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Greg Mace Peak - barely visible

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Trust me Kelly, that's Pearl on the left and West Pearl on the right...

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The two ridges from Pearl that intersect the pearl pass road, and the grassy ramp we followed

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Walking in between the two ridges, looking for class 2 passage to the ridge proper


We spent a very brief amount of time on the summit. Kelly's feet were cold, and her glacier glasses fogged up, so she was going without - Ouch!!!

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It was a whiteout on the summit


Descending the ridge and out of the wind pelting us with snow crystals was priority #1, and we made quick work of it. Instead of following our exact path, we took a more direct route, and dropped off the ridge to our left (towards West Pearl) and plunge stepped all the way to the valley below.

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Heading back down

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Cornices already... in September....

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Some rocks for contrast with the white snow

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Navigating the snowy ridge

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Descending a snowy gully that was plunge-step-able

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West Pearl in background

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That's the sun eminating through the snow and clouds, looking back at our descent gully


Once down below, the sun tried really hard to come out, but could not burn through the clouds fast enough for us.

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The flowers are dying

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The sun really tried to come out... looking back on Pearl

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Some sun on Greg Mace

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Ewwww something ate a marmot...

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One of the reasons we didn't drive the Pearl Pass Road...

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A nice waterfall


Back in camp, the sun did finally come out and we were lucky to be able to dry our wet gear for the next day.

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Drying out at our campsite. Leaves are a changin'

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Star Peak A

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Taylor Peak A



My GPS Tracks on Google Maps (made from a .GPX file upload):
Download GPX file cannot be downloaded (per author)




Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
 


  • Comments or Questions (10)
HarknessHooligans


September weather     2011-09-20 14:24:38
Wow, you all looked so cold! I loved your pictures of the flowers in the snow. Always a confusing sight to see. Congrats on the climb!


Jay521



Super!     2011-09-20 14:41:25
Looks like winter is on its way. Nice report!


mtgirl



Great report     2011-09-20 16:01:00
But I'm just not mentally prepared for winter.....yet......Gurlz rule !


gonzoskijohnny

nice job!     2011-09-20 16:33:24
great work ladies- gettin after it in the weather!
maybe ski season is comming on soon?

BTW your ascent and descent lines make for great spring ski runs!


moon stalker


I wish we could have seen SOMETHING from the top     2011-09-20 22:00:45
Oh well, like you said, it just means I'll have to go back and do west pearl and make sure the weather is good then. Our GPSs really came in handy, they always do in conditions like that. Awesome pics of the flowers, you can tell they were still doing great that late in the season and then bam, snow came. Ugh, winter is coming.
Great report.


nkan02


Impressive!     2011-09-21 09:34:31
Way to persevere. Loved, loved the pictures of the flowers in the snow.


bergsteigen


Thanks for the comments :)     2011-09-21 13:42:27
Even though we didn't see much, I had a really great time! It may have been the adventure aspect of route finding and navigating in less than ideal conditions on a peak with only a little bit of beta on.

Based on all the dead flowers, a summer return may be warranted.

I'm not ready for winter either... not like this snow will stick for skiing!


nyker


Foot?     2011-09-21 15:17:09
What's with that foot/claw??


jpfeif001


Encouraging     2011-09-23 05:54:19
Great adventure. Love the photos, even the eaten marmmot. Having 4 daughters I know first hand how much they can do, more often way more than I can as their father. Gurlz of any age I think have way more drive and motivation as a whole. It looks like you all had an amazing time even in the cold snowy conditions. I can't wait for some winter climbs. And yes, mtgirl, Gurlz do rule, thats what I keep telling my babies. Their orneriness and ridiculous amount of intelligence proves it to me everyday. Now if I could just get them to do their chores....


FireOnTheMountain


nice report otina     2013-06-06 10:20:26
love the conditions down below vs up top! these on the list this weekend, thanks



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