| 8 Peaks 6 Days: Part 1
Dates:6/9 to 6/17
8 14ers: Sneffels, El Diente, Mt. Wilson, Wilson Peak, Conundrum, Castle, Pyramid, Snowmass
Total Mileage: 63 Miles
Total Elevation Gain: 46K feet
GreatTraverses: Diente to Wilson 4th of 4.
# of peaks solo: 1
# of fish caught: 10
# of lake jumps: 1
Having only 9 left to finish the 14ers, I had planned to casually finish throughout this summer. My work is ramping up to be busy throughout the summer season and I have started to see my chances of getting much time off are getting slimmer and slimmer. Then… Come to find out, I have my first baby on the way due this fall as well. Knowing that having a baby and play time are somewhat correlated and the possibility for my work to be less flexible for a while, I got somewhat of a fire under my butt to get the remaining peaks done. I came up with a plan. I would take a week off and finish all the peaks left on my list. I began looking at weather, partners, and work and decided that 6/9 to 6/17 will be the best window for opportunity in the near future. I began my planning about a week prior. It was hard to focus at work as I wanted to take my time to prepare. Luckily, I have done enough research in the past to be comfortable with any of the peaks on any of my routes. In my planning, I realized that I have been saving Huron Peak for last because it is fairly short and easy and I would like to take a group of friends and family up with me for my finisher, who have been supporting me throughout my journey. I’m glad I have reserved this easier peak than finishing on something hard with one or no partners. Planning with such short notice, I knew it wasn’t going to be possible to get the group I wanted so I decided to finish all peaks but 1 on this trip. The one week window looked good on the weather forecast through Thursday and I knew there was little margin for error. If I encountered bad weather or adverse conditions on any given day, I would not have time for another shot at that peak. The last piece to the puzzle was giving my wife the peace of mind that I was going to be OK as she usually worries while I am out and don’t always have cell service. I called a friend who owns a SPOT tracker and borrowed that. I kept it on tracking whenever I was on the trail and kept it on tracking so she could see my progress or lack thereof.
Route: East Dallas Creek Blue Lakes Trailhead to the Southwest Ridge
Mileage: ~14 Miles
Elevation Gain: ~5000’
Partners: J and G
Start:6 AM Finish 2:30 PM
After getting off work about noon on Friday 6/8 and the roughly 7 hour drive to Telluride, CO, I met up with my friend who we will call “J” here. He recently moved up there a few months ago and we had talked about doing the Diente Wilson traverse for the past couple of years. It was finally coming into fruition as we discussed our plan while I ate a burger and sipped a brew in downtown Telluride. We had both noticed that the forecast for Saturday was supposed to be much windier than Sunday so we decided to go with Sneffels first and then the traverse on Sunday. After my April 2010 attempt through Yankee Boy Basin where we really only got to the summer trailhead before calling it a quits due extreme avy condtions See Report Here, I was thinking great… Saturday will be a quick 7 mile 3000’ round trip warm-up for the traverse tomorrow and a comfortable way to kick off the trip. Coming from Telluride though, The East Dallas Creek approach is about half the drive of continuing down into Ouray and back up into Yankee boy. Not thinking too much of the additional mileage, we decided to give blue lakes a shot. In hindsight, If I had known the snow was going to be so bullet proof, I would have probably taken the more direct route via Blaine basin into snake couloir or the north buttress.
J, his friend “G” and I got started at about 6AM and I quickly realized I had forgotten my second Nalgene. After hearing horror stories of Camelbaks leaking and soaking peoples packs, I always keep mine outside of the pack until the hike starts. After getting out of the car and gearing mine up, I couldn’t get it to stop leaking so I decided to go with 2 Nalgenes. Unfortunately, I left one of two in the car and was doing a 14 mile day with only 32oz of water. It didn’t feel ideal even when I usually need less water than the average alpine hiker. I decided I would be ok since I always carry tablets in my med kit and J had his steri-pen. I actually only ended up drinking less than 48 oz for the day anyhow so it wasn’t so bad. 1.8 miles into the first day with a 3.8MPH moving average speed and all was going great but I was already seeming to develop blisters. I was smart enough to start this long of a trip with moleskin already covering my heels. I couldn’t figure out what was wrong already. I took my boot off to find half dollar bleeding blisters already. What the heck? Then J asked how new my socks were. I immediately knew it was the socks. I had just bought my first new pair of wool socks in about 5 years and hadn’t even washed or worn them yet. The new socks were the culprit causing so much pain. I felt like such a rookie. I threw on a fresh pair of broken in socks and decided to press on. J offered to turn back being that he had already climbed this peak and he wanted me fresh for the Wilson Diente traverse. Turning back sounded great due to the pain that I was in, but I really wanted to stick to the schedule. I said we should keep going and I will say if it gets bad enough that we need to turn around. Immediately the different socks felt much better. After seeing the beautiful lowest Blue lake, we came to the first crossing below it.
to see the remainder of the report on my blog click HERE
Or for part 2 click: HERE
Until then, thanks for reading and…
See you at the top!
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):