Elevation Gain: 3,892'
Camera: Canon EOS M
Being thankful for a non-traditional Thanksgiving this year, I decided to make use of the glorious weather and get in an early morning hike of Mt Lady Washington. I have a new camera that I wanted to test out, and what better way than to catch Longs at sunrise! I also was going to meet friends that evening down at Shelf Road for some climbing the next day, and an early start was also needed. So as I got ready at home around 3am, I turned on my slow cooker to BBQ my ribs for lunch/dinner upon my return. Mmmmm!
Arrived at the trailhead and got on the trail around 5:30am, a bit later than desired, but hopefully still early enough to get above treeline for sunrise. Only one other vehicle in attendance. The lower trail is fairly boot packed down, that snowshoes are not required, as long as you stay on trail. The sickle moon even provided enough illumination that a headlamp wasn't needed. The lower trail went quickly enough, and the winter cut off trail was packed in as well, so I gladly took the shortcut.
I was a little late to the saddle for the 6:56am sunrise, but I still got quite the show! I used my 22mm f/2 lens for the low light ability. So far it seems that the images are crisp as desired. Once the sun was up I switched over to the 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS zoom lens, since light today would not be a problem. There were only thin wispy clouds to block the sun. At Shelf the next day, I would test out one of my lenses from my DSLR setup, to equally amazing results. Glad they figured out that conversion attachment system!
First light on the trail
The Lady is blushing
The Lady is blushing
Once at the saddle, it was only a short but steep boulder hike up to the summit, but it took over 2 hours. I must have been tired or something! Nice views of the loft and the north face of Meeker. I found sporadic evidence of a previous hike up the Lady, but as they were on snowshoes, they stuck to the snow. While I boulder hopped. The snowshoes on my back were just training weight today.
The Lady's east ridge
Pano from saddle
Meeker and the Loft route
Looking down the ridge
Nearing the summit, the pitch increased in steepness, and boulders abound to scramble over. The pockets of deep snow keep things ever more interesting, as I slowly pick my way up the ridge. Even the summit involved a little bit of a scramble to get to with the snowy boulders.
Approaching the summit boulder scramble
I sat on the nearly windless summit for a while, enjoying the views. A couple planes buzzed the summit a few times. I could even hear a team in the Martha Couloir, slowly making their way up (though I left before they topped out).
Scouting snowy couloirs
Soon the call of my Thanksgiving dinner was making me antsy to get downhill. That and the 3hr drive down to Shelf, at least I would have a later dinner all ready!
The descent from near Granite Pass was a lot more snowy, and snowshoes could be warranted. I didn't want to bother to take them off the pack, or put them on, but some might find it useful. I just post holed on occasion, until I got back to the trail near the saddle area, where snow cover was either thinner, or better boot packed down. Along the way a ram crossed my path. I tried to get a closer shot, but with a new camera, I was still learning the new features. I was running it in partially manual mode, and the focusing seemed to take forever. The next day I switched to a different mode, and the focusing got faster. More time behind the lens for me to figure this one out!
The north ridge of Lady Washington
Snowy upper trail
Dreamweaver on Meeker
Since I didn't know if the Peak to Peak connected to 7 yet, I had to go back through Estes Park and go down 36 on my way home. So I got the nice shot of the Longs Massif along the way. Lower down on the drive, the true devastation of the September flooding became apparent. Up until this point, I had only seen photos of the destruction. But to now see it first hand, made my stomach turn! Even the sections without (destroyed) houses, the erosion of stream banks and the radical change to the entire stream system was eerily visible. Seeing all of that destruction made me even more thankful I went with the more (geologically) conservative choice of a house away from the beauty of the mountains and stream valleys. I would love to have a house up in the foothills, but between the fires and the floods, it's too risky for the views.
Parting shot of Longs group
And since it was Thanksgiving, here's a shot of my dinner... Mmmmm ribs!
Thanksgiving dinner: Ribs!
Overall, I am impressed with the images from the EOS-M, as long as I can figure out how to get the focusing fast when I need it. Though today, I think it was user error from not knowing the camera well enough yet.
My GPS Tracks on Google Maps (made from a .GPX file upload):
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
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