| My 2013 Report - Keeping expectations low
Centennial Peak 13,062' from Kennebec Trailhead
La Plata Range, Southwest Colorado
It has come to my attention that I have averaged writing one trip report a year for the past few years. Therefore, it is time for my annual report! And luckily, Iíve set the bar pretty low given my last couple reports. Seriously, a whole trip report on 12ers??? And before that was a trip report on some easy class 2 13ers. So I donít feel bad at all about doing this one on an easy 13er thatís not even ranked. If youíre looking for an epic big day, multiple peaks, or technical climbing, close out of this and open up the trip report before or after mine. Iím sure those will fit your bill. But if youíre up for some dry humor, pictures from a camera thatís been dropped, kicked, scratched, and rained on multiple times, and maybe a little bit of seriousness, then I hope you enjoy this.
With most of October and November already getting booked for trips to Canyon de Chelly, Mt. Taylor, Moab, and the Grand Canyon, I knew the window of opportunity to climb something in Colorado snow-free was quickly closing. My options came down to some 13ers along Endlich Mesa, or a 13er in the La Plata Range. I ended up choosing Centennial Peak (13,062) in the La Platas since it was one I had to turn back on earlier in the summer due to storms. From Farmington itís an easy hour drive to the beginning of La Plata Canyon and Iíd be able to ride my motorcycle up to the Kennebec Trailhead parking area.
I was about to invite 31 of my favorite climbing partners (32 will obviously cause some rift among this site), but then I realized I donít even have 31 friends who would be willing to drive this far to join me. But I was ok with that Ė it meant I didnít have to share my Snickers.
After hitting snooze multiple times, I finally got up and started making my way toward Hesperus, CO. As a side note, few things in life cause me as much anxiety as:
1. Those few seconds watching the coils in the vending machine spin out my snack and hoping it doesn't get stuck; and
2. When the fuel light comes on.
So with that in mind, I made a quick stop at the gas station, filled my Jeep and topped off the motorcycle.
I have made multiple trips up La Plata Canyon now, and Iím not a huge fan of driving the road past La Plata City. Itís not terribly bad, but itís slow and annoying in my Liberty. Even though the little sticker on the side of it says ďTrail RatedĒ, donít believe it. Itís a trick! So recently, Iíve been parking lower down and running up to Kennebec Trailhead. But that adds a number of miles and vertical, so by the time I get to what I intend to hike, itís late and the storm clouds are already moving in. This time, I decide to park the Jeep at the beginning of the dirt road and then ride the bike up to the trailhead. This idea proved to be much faster (though the time it took me to unload the bike and gear up probably negated any time I made up riding). Regardless, this way was much more fun and likely solidifies that Iím never driving my Jeep up that road as long as I have the bike.
I followed the very familiar Highline Trail to Taylor Lake, turned south onto Sharkstooth Trail, and climbed up and over Marmot Stink Pass. Obviously thatís not the name of the pass, but every time I go over that saddle, it stinks of shedding marmot fur. Not that I really know what a shedding marmot smells like, but if I had to guess, that is what it would smell like. From there I dropped about a thousand feet into a beautifully wooded basin. There are a number of water sources and flat open areas that would make this area a decent place to camp. I didnít see any signs of bears or mountain lions, but I have no doubt that they hang out in these parts. At least thatís what my paranoid brain would like to think.
From Marmot Stink Pass
Centennial and Sharkstooth
Once I made it to the 11,936í saddle between Sharkstooth and Centennial Peak, it was a straight shot south to the summit. The views of Hesperus Mountain, Lavender Peak, and Mount Moss were quite impressive. On a clear day, youíre also treated to views of Lizard Head, Wilsons, Sneffels group, and Weminuche peaks. Unfortunately there was no summit register to be found. How on earth am I supposed to inform the world of my great accomplishment??
Saddle between Centennial and Sharkstooth
Route up Centennial
Nearing the summit
Anyway, I stay for about five minutes, just long enough to take a glory shotÖ
The return trip is a little less rushed knowing that Iíd likely make it back in time before any storms came, but hopefully before a marmot chews on my motorcycle helmet. Actually, it was the fact that I was all decked out in rain gear and didnít put on sunscreen that kept the clouds away.
Return on Highline Trail
Trail running is a great way to go fast and light, but I often find myself forgetting to stop and look around once in a while. So I have to make a concerted effort to slow down and enjoy my surroundings. It also gives me a chance to do some thinking and reflecting. And drink without choking.
I absolutely love getting up into the mountains, but one thing Iíve realized is that climbing/hiking and growing my peak list isnít my life and it doesnít define who I am. I enjoy doing so many other things and exploring other places that I donít always have the time or energy to hit multiple peaks every weekend.
I think back to the days when I went back to school full-time, while working part-time, and still managed to get up almost every Saturday and Sunday at 3 am so I could pick up my friends and go for a climb, only to return late Sunday night (This might explain all the Cís I got thoughÖ). I canít do that stuff anymore. The energy, the drive, the OCD-ness, the desire to impress a bunch of people from the Internet - none of it is there. And it feels good. Now, I really enjoy sleeping in. And trail running, and mountain biking, and dirt biking, and going for walks with Zion, and kayaking, and watching my Purdue Boilermakers blow another lead, and slowing down long enough to enjoy each and every journey I take.
I just donít want to miss out on time with those that I care about, time with my dog, time exploring, time enjoying all of my hobbies. I donít want to miss out on everything that life has to offer.
Iíve added a few extra pictures of the area from different times Iíve been up here this summer, which I hope you enjoyÖ
Sharkstooth from north
Indian Trail Ridge
Allard Mine produces TANG!!
Shakstooth Trail in June
Sharkstooth Trail in June
Road to Bessie Mine
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):