| Grizzly Pk - Via Loveland pass
I have never posted a trip report, so if I leave anything out that you want to know, please don't hesitate to let me know!!
Ezsuperkev and I decided that we would meet up early, and get a start on the climb before seven in the morning. This was very out of the ordinary for me, and something I will have to work on for later. I never before felt the need to see what actually happens, or if anything indeedn actually happens at 4am. Note to self.
We started the trek up to the mountains @ 5:45a, and arrived at the trailhead somewhere around 6:30. After getting all of our gear ready, (the first time of the season always sucks, but hey) we were on the trail before 7.
The first section of the hike up the first ridge was fairly easy, and was mostly spent taking photos, as a matter of fact almost half of my pictures were taken on that ridge, and were subsiquently deleted from my camara upon arriving home... again... note to self.
The next two ridge lines were fairly free of snow, and as of yet, ths was still nothing more than an easy hike in the mountains on a Saturday morning.
Up until the point 12,756, the route was all but snow free, and required no special equipment ie. crampons, axes, snowshoes. After point 12,756 there was much more snow then earlier. We didn't pass this point until around 8:15 in the morning, and postholing was already becoming a problem.
We reached point 12936 at about 9:25. We had planned all along that we were just going to take our time, take it slow, and just see how it goes, so we were taking much longer than most people on this hike. At and beyond point 12936 was mostly snow covered, and would not require any special snow gear if done early in the morning, but postholing was becoming more and more of a nuisance by the minute, like getting stuck next to a crying baby on a cross country flight, not to mention that by now it was so warm out, that the sun reflection off the snow was becoming quite a problem to my skin, which due to heredity, maintains a constant color ranking somewhere close to a half-shade off clear. After applying a generous layer of SPF45 pawned from my climbing partner, we continued on.
After point 12936, we decended the "snow slope from hell" as my mind seems to refer to it. After decending @ half way, I paused for some pictures, double checked to see if I needed to change my underwear or not, and continued into the saddle between 12,936 and Grizzly Pk..
This was the rest stop for this trip. We stopped for about 25 minutes, gathered everything, and prepared to move on. During this time, I am sure due to the gravitational pull of the moon, and the slowing of my heart rate, Grizzly peak was constantly getting steeper and steeper as we stood there contemplating the accent. We climbed up to the first landing, and that's about the time when we began thinking about the hike out and beads of sweat began to slide down my sunscreen soaked forehead, and directly into my eyes.... note to self... We decided to head back.
Heading back was not surprisingly similar to the hike in, except for the lovely addition of sun-soaked snow. You could almost hear the mountain laughing as we were swallowed up by posthole after posthole, like something out of an Indiana Jones movie, or some kind of quicksand or something. After enduring this for an agonizing 5 minutes (seemed like 2 hours) we found the trail, totally exposed from the snow, about 10 feet to our left... once again... note to self..
About the time we reached point 12.756 again, and had totally shed every extra piece of clothing we could, the snow came in. Now here is something interesting I never even really thought of about the mountains. This isn't beautiful snow gracefully drifting to the surface in no hurry at all, like you see in Jimmy Stewart movies, this is death snow made of ice and whatever genome that elementary school bullies have that makes them evil, and these death snowflakes seem to all be aimed at whatever exposed skin you have. After quickly covering everything I possible could with whatever I could, we continued on. I didn't get any pictures of this blizzard, as I couldn't get my camara without removing my glove, and I knew the deathflakes would see this as a sign of weakness, and quickly devour my hands like a Pirahna. We decended the final slope and made it safely back to the truck.
By the time we got back to the TH, the sun was out, it was about 60, and all around just a great day to be in the mountains.
Although I went very in depth into my dislike for the spring surprise snow, it was really a great time. Over the course of the 5 hours we spent in the divide, we could not have asked for better weather. I would highly recommend this hike for anyone who wants to see their limits in the mountains, and for any beginner who thinks they can attack anything. The fact that makes this hike difficult is the constant up and down in elevation that you have to deal with, but it sure is a workout.
I learned alot about hiking the mountains, and things I never before thought about. I learned about my limitations, and the lack-there-of, and due to this specific trip, may need to join HAA (hiking addics annonomous).
IF you have any questions, please feel free to PM me, I am sure I am leaving something out!! Happy hiking everyone!
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):