It's easy to forget how much of a physical force the wind can be. So many times during my ascent of Mt. Lincoln, I was blown every direction imaginable. I spent a great deal of energy walking into the wind, staying upright, and even just keeping my feet, but it was nonetheless another great day in the mountains.
I didn't get to the Quartzville TH until 10:45. I was unsure the previous night if I would attempt anything because the winds were forecasted to be high. I had been eyeing the decalibron all week and the next morning I decided to at least make an attempt.
The Quartzville TH.
I left Beaver Creek (a group of us were staying at a friend's place) at 7:30am and reached the road to the Quartzville TH at 9:30. 2 miles up the road by 2WD car could not get up a hill so I parked it and continued another ~2.2 miles on foot. After gearing up and talking to a resident to make sure my car was parked legally, I departed for the TH at 10am.
Upon reaching the TH, there was soft snow about 1ft deep up the 4wd road that goes through private property. Fortunately a snowmobiler passed me right as I began to head up it and I was able to walk in his tracks instead of breaking trail.
I quickly found the jeep trail (which was almost totally dry) and followed it most of the way up. I could tell the mountains were getting scorched by the high winds and knew I was in for something similar.
By the time I reached 12k the wind was blowing around 40mph intermittently. Not too bad. As I got higher, the wind speed increased and by 13.5k it was blowing consistently at around 60mph and gusting to 80mph. I could see when the big gusts were coming and I would just drop to my knees and lay down while it blew over. This turned out to be a great technique. After it subsided I would get up and keep moving.
The wind direction changed sporadically every few minutes it seemed. A couple times the wind shifted and actually blew me up the mountain; inevitably it would catch me off guard and I would stumble a few steps up and then the wind would shift and it would blow me sideways for a few seconds and then it would shift and blow into my face. Keeping my balance was a challenge. Without trekking poles it would have been impossible.
The last 250ft to the summit took me 20 minutes because of the wind. I elected to stay in the rocks on the south side of the summit block because it offered more traction going up and a little bit of protection from the wind.
I summitted at 1:30pm.
Looking at Mt. Cameron
Wind sweeping the range
No tripod today. Just my hand out and give a thumbs up.
I was not able to find a good place out of the wind but though it was cold, it was not overly cold. The forecast had called for -5 windchill but it felt warmer than that.
I debated for a long time whether to continue across the ridge and give Democrat and Cameron a shot (and maybe or maybe not Bross). I believed summitting one or two more was definitely doable but the wind was getting worse and I felt like continuing solo in the current conditions was not prudent. Also I knew the group back in Beaver Creek would be getting dinner soon.
I stayed for 30 minutes taking pictures and videos and then headed down. I was back at my car by 4pm.
Shutter speed was 1/500 and snow was still blurring.
Lincoln getting blasted.
Looking back from the TH.
This tree fell and severed power lines while I was gone.
It was a great day, and I was grateful for the opportunity to get out in the conditions and stand on top of a mountain in the winter.