| Megamydal Traverse
So as to not fall victim to a medieval stoning by the crew, I present to anyone interested a TR on a trip done a couple weeks past…
The aforementioned crew consists of familiar faces but who have only gotten out 1 other time as a team (some Cali 14er that doesn't start with W).
Side note before we begin: I apologize for the inundation as I may have gotten picture happy with this TR. However, 7 miles of awesome ridge pushing 4th and in multiple places 5th class offered a slew of good kodak moments. I felt they told the story better rather than me trying to be clever.
Yet another 14er Bonanza
From Front to Back:
- The Bearded One - Boggy B (Mike)
- The Bad Mama Jama - Kylie, the birthday girl (or is it woman?)
- The Redcarpet Notable who graciously took time out of his star studded schedule to mingle with the commoners (public stunt I'm sure) - Monster5 (Ryan)
- The Noob - Who you lookin at!?
The Pyramidal Traverse has tacitly (or perhaps traditionally) become known as the ridgeline connecting UN 13,722 (Lightning Pyramid for you LOJ'ers), Thunder Pyramid and our cuddly, loving 14er, Pyramid Peak. These three peaks by themselves are no trifling matter, requiring constant exposure to, well, exposure and climbing on rock better described with expletives. When viewing a map however, one notices 3 other ranked 13ers sharing the same ridge to the south. Adding 1 part quartet of peakbaggers, 2 parts awesome ridge in a great range and 3 parts pretty nice day, the “red, rugged and rotten” cocktail is conceived, or as we like to call it, the Megamydial Traverse.
But wait, there's more! Behind those match made in heaven smiles, Kylie and Mike had not confided the fact that it was Kylie's birthday AND she had not done Pyramid before. Seriously, who the hell gets Pyramid for the first time by linking it up with 5 (more like 4) other gnarly 13ers?! Tough to claim firsts in this state, but I think we can here.
The waltz began at 2:10am. We made our way to a few hundred feet below West Maroon Pass then shot left towards the ridge and our first peak of the day, 13,130. Feeling a little sleepy on the ridge, the crisp wind showed no mercy. We summitted 13,130 around 6:45, took some pics of Precarious Peak and the most famed duo in CO under a rising sun then sought shelter from the wind and some breakfast.
And so the journey begins. (Boggster and I, Ryan got a sweet photo here if you ask me)
Next up came 13,180B and a meager sampling of what would lie ahead.
Class 3 ride to 13,180B, the prominent middle right peak, towering above that to the right is 13,631
View of 13,631 atop 180B.
With those two out of the way, the real fun began. That is if cliff outs, gendarmes and sub par rock are your thing. Check, check and check. The first major obstacle of the day came with a large gendarme near the saddle which we side skirted to the right followed by a side skirt to the left for the very next one.
Coming off of 180B
Peaking around the corner
Another downclimb with Ryan there to lend a helping shoulder
Back up we go.
What we descended
Fun scrambling to the summit of 631.
3 down, 3 to go with Lightning up next. Since we’re on the topic, clouds up to this point were a little on the ominous side forcing us to keep a watchful eye and look for possible escapes. In the end however, the weather actually got better as the day progressed and was simply great once we stood atop Pyramid around 5 pm.
Looks pretty simple right? Starts off so
Kylie stompin it
Describing the route here is quite hazy to be honest. Generally from 631 to Thunder, left (west side) was the more forgiving side. That being said, our main goal was to stay proper for the whole trip due to the sheer drop on most of the flanks.
A look back at 631. Len Shoemaker basin can be seen to Boggy’s right.
Perch with a view on the east side flank. Not this way fellas.
Exploring his options, Mike eventually abandons what he’s doing here and goes for the arête-like rock on the right. Proves to be a good find with an airy fall off the eastern side of the mountain.
Kylie making her way up the final bit on Ligthening with Thunder and Pyramid in the background.
Lightning to Thunder ensued and we were all feeling pretty great.
Kylie displaying her proper manners
Hey look, a guest appearance by Mickey!
Summiting Thunder, Kylie and Mike surprised us yet again. Both of them had climbed and been in the good company of Mr. Gladbach and offered up this kind momento to a true Colorado legend.
Climb on Steve, we thank you for all the inspiration you provided
Returning to the ridge, in my opinion the most committing part lay ahead.
A look back at Thunder
It's a Bird, It's a Plane, Na, It's just the Bells
And as we marched down the yellow brick road, we were confronted by the crux of the day, a 5.4 chimmney. Sounds pretty easy right? Well, it was here I determined I am not the best at stemming. Mike went first opting for the right side as can be seen in the following picture but the rest of us took a line more left of Mike's. A fall in this section would have undoubtedly sent you on a first class ticket ~3k feet down to East Maroon Creek. Now I don't climb big wall or anyway wall for that matter, but after almost 6 hours of gnar ridge the exposure started to get to me a little which I have never really sensed on a ridge. The mind sure does wonder at times.
Not much picture deception here, the exposure was pretty legit.
We all made it up safe and sound without too much hassle only to be confronted by the Fortress of Pyramid. Following picture shows our route up Pyramid which required one awkward 5th class move.
No surprise, Kylie beats us to Pyramid thus summitting Pyramid via the Megamydial Traverse on her birthday! Now thats doing it in style!
Girls rule and Boys drool was the saying if I recall
Off we go to Little Annie's in Aspen!
Stats on the Ride:
7260' vertical gain
17 hours and 55 minutes
A Further breakdown:
TH - 13130 --> 8.4 mi, 4h 37m
break --> 16m
130 - 180B --> 1.1 mi, 58m
13180 - 13631 --> 1.2 mi, 2h 34m
break --> 14m
13631 - Lightning --> 1.1 mi, 1h 55m
break : 16m
Lightning - Thunder --> 0.6 mi, 58m
break --> 14m
Thunder - Pyramid --> 1.2 mi, 2h 34m
Party --> 21m
Pyramid - TH --> 4.3 mi, 3h
Sorry but the avid trail runner in me has to mention this part: On our descent from Pyramid, we noticed a couple guys coming up 200' below us. Immediately, I turned to the crew and said, "Those guys are trail runners." As they approached I recognized one of them as Peter Bakwin, a trail running monster. With him was apparently the only guy to finish Barkley's twice, Brett Maune. I was a little star struck but kept it cool and collected.
Tread Lightly My Friends