| Our First Year! 7/19-10/19
Our first year of hiking fourteeners! My girlfriend and I completed 9 officially with a couple more unofficially. To say the least, we are completely addicted. Our goal: To complete all of them by 2017
Here is our report for the first year...many more to come!
Pikes Peak: 7.19.13
Route: Barr Trail
Memories: Hiked it in 5 hour 15 minutes. Weather was looking sketchy from the beginning, but kept going. We ended getting seriously hailed on from A-frame on up. Being fairly unprepared, we were cold and did not have enough gear. Lesson learned for the rest of the season. This hike began our, or ended, our summer of many more. (We are teachers, so we were going back to school and thought we would only get in a few...however, the addiction was beyond our control.) ''
Mt. Princeton: 7.30.13
Memories: Started below TV station because of the road. Weather was sunny. Wind was howling. Since this trip, I have learned it is RARE that wind is NOT howling. Being our first class 2, Mt. Princeton made us work. (I still feel that Princeton is a little bit more scrambling than other class 2 mountains because the rocks are pretty large.) We had a guy pass us, that looked like Jesus...really, and he told us that when the gusts came up to just get down and we'd be okay. Not sure if that made us feel better or worse. We reached the summit, took quick pics, and got down. Super scared, because we were not use the views (amazing) or edges like that. It was the first time my breath was literally taken away from "what" you see up top. Truly amazing.
Mt. Princeton - Getting Started
Mt. Princeton Summit
Grays and Torreys Peak: 9.7.13
Route: Grays Trail Head to Grays and then Torreys
Memories: Camped at Guanella Pass so that we could do Bierstadt the next day...The trail was SUPER busy with the Saturday crowd. Beautiful, gorgeous day with NO WIND. These are going down as my favorite, partly for this reason. This hike was super easy and so amazing. The views, before you summit, are lush and green, in summer. We enjoyed time on both summits where we ate and socialized with others. The weather was great, sunny, the entire time until about 2 minutes before we reached the car...then just sprinkles. Round trip was 5 hours, with two hours to summit Grays, 45 minutes on saddle between the two, and the rest hanging out and coming down.
On our way up-Grays and Torreys
Grays and Torreys
Mt. Bierstadt: 9.8.13
Route: Guanella Pass (which is paved all the way from Georgetown, and not bad from the other side)
Memories: Another beautiful day with NO WIND. In the willows, we saw several moose bathing in the lake. Near the top, we saw a baby mountain goat. On top, we enjoyed the views of Grays and Torreys...and Evans. Bierstadt is fairly easy and enjoyable. It took 2:15 to summit. We would like to conquer Sawtooth next year, as well as Evans. ''
Mt. Bierstadt Summit
Quandary Peak: 9.21.13
Memories: This was our first experience with snow. As you can see by the pics, the snow was just a dusting. On the trail itself, very little. We bundled up, but got warm at times. The wind was at a minimum until the very top. This trail is said to be one of the easier ones, but we had our puppies and found that it was a bit rough for them...only because of all of the scree on it above treeline. They seldom got a break from it. I think this is important because these two dogs hike on single track trail for 7 miles at a time in the Springs, but I was worried about their pads on Quandary. They ended up fine with no cracking whatsoever, but if you have young ones...there may be a better choice. At the time, our puppies were 10 mo and 5 mo. (Like I said, they were fine, but not sure I would choose that to be the little one's first 14er.) At the top, this peak is easy to enjoy with tons of rock shelters, even in the wind. We sat up there and took in the views. This was a great fall 14er, as you can see by the colors.
Quandary in Fall (lower Quandary)
Mt. Elbert: 10.13.13
Route: The WRONG one! Southeast ridge up the front of Mt. Cosgriff to South Elbert to Elbert...then down the South Elbert Trail.
Memories: Lots. We parked very close to South Elbert Trail Head, but not close enough apparently. We thought the road was the trail up. After reaching treeline and running into hunters that told us we were way off...we decided not to trust them. We continued up the road and then realized, they DID know what they were talking about. The road ended. At this point, two peaks over (a 13er and another 14er - South Elbert), we climbed the face of Mt. Cosgriff in snow and wind. Determined to summit Elbert, we followed the Class 2 ridge all the way over...down Cosgriff, up South Elbert, then down to the saddle and up the back side of Elbert. Snow in areas and drifts up to 1.5 feet. Not too bad in retrospective. At the summit, all by ourselves, it was SUPER windy by this point (around noon) and we headed down quickly. Snow and wind followed us until about 12,000 feet. The lower portion was enjoyable. Just a note: the aspens were pretty much done by this point...so if you want to see the colors, go earlier.
Mt. Elbert - on the way up
Mt. Elbert - some views
High on Life - Mt. Elbert
Mt. Elbert Summit
The views from Elbert - gorgeous
Mt. Democrat, Mt. Cameron, and Mt. Bross: 10.19.13
Route: Kite Lake Loop (minus Lincoln due to conditions)
Memories: Tons. It was windy from the beginning. The wind was SO powerful that it pushed us over several times...I have bruises to show for it. The snow was over 2 feet in areas and the blowing snow was so rough that we were having a hard time enjoying the climb. Snow covered the trail from the beginning. Democrat is steep in areas, but with snow and wind, it made it a little more challenging than the "easy" climb we hear about. After reaching the summit, we headed back to the saddle and up Cameron. The trail was difficult to see in areas, due to snow, but I could tell that in summer, it would be EASY to follow as it was visible in small areas and very doable. (We will be going back in summer to do the WHOLE loop again.) After the false summit on Cameron, we hit the trail on the south side of the mountain. In other words, the wind was hitting us DIRECTLY with NO protection. We couldn't handle it. We reached the summit of Cameron and decided to skip Lincoln...headed down Cameron on the North side and hit the saddle between Cameron and Bross. Again, the wind was devastating. More bruises. We took some quick photos on top of Bross and headed down the ridge for some more BRUTAL winds. No matter what angle or side of the ANY mountain we were on, the wind was attacking us. Going down Bross is relentless (as described on here) and if you add snow, those boulders hit you right at the shin. More bruises. We will go back and conquer this again when weather is more enjoyable...but we felt that we needed this trip to conclude our season, otherwise it may have never ended.
Mt. Democrat - Summit
Mt. Democrat - Summit
Mt. Bross - Summit
Mt. Bross - Summit
Coming down from Bross
We will hit many more Class Two's next season and some Class Three's. We are super excited to continue our journey to hike all 54 fourteeners in Colorado.
See you next season!
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