| Not so alone
Mmmmm.... Indian Peaks. For those not so interested in 4267m crowd catchers, the lonesome west side of the Indian Peaks Wilderness offers a true sense of isolation and numerous routes of all difficulty.
Typical of Colorado summers, the late afternoon thunderstorms flock to the high-country like the tourists to Estes Park, congesting the main attractions with electric demands, scaring even the most battle hardened mountaineers from their goals. This trip proves uneventful for both the crowd and the storms. Arriving late at the Long Lake trail head, due to a couple of miscalculations of me and my friends, the 6:00pm weather was immaculate! Anticipating a wicked down poor, I was enthralled by my miscalculation. Clear blue skies for our hike over Pawnee Pass, and all evening long, this was a dream! I slept under the stars, eagerly awaiting, and partly mortified by tomorrows difficulties that awaited.
The *Classic* 4th class scramble up solo flight is truly unique and challenging. Starting around 6:30am, our poesy of four commenced on the unique point. A fairly well carind route marked the way up from the south east side of Carter Lake. Once in view of Triangle Lake,(gorgeous, by the way)
we ventured up the "slight" hill of easy and intermittent class 3 climbing until we were greeted by the majestic view of Lone Eagles Summit.
From here, a couple of carins mark the route as it ventures to the west side of the ridge, up and over a chock stone, and back to the east side of the ridge. Now it gets interesting. Once returning to the east side of the ridge, follow a ramp until it cliffs out. This marks the beginning of the down climb. Brian or Eva weren't up to this one, making me question how many of my brain cells Mr. Jack Daniels' killed over the last two months... Then Shaun came after me.
Ok, so I won't die alone. Negotiating the cliff band going down seemed quite straight forward to me, very exposed, with easy hand and foot holds. Once off the cliff band, an easy ramp leads to the last pitch toward the summit. This was the most unique part for me, there was one spot in the middle that was a little "bald", forcing me into complicated thoughts on how to prevail to the summit. Once on top, WOW. Lone Eagle's summit is quite airy from three sides, imparting a feeling of flight to any lone summiter.
What goes up must come down. For me, the most difficult part of this route was up climbing the cliff bands. I had a difficult time determining what I had descended, wishing I had somehow marked my route . Back to a safe vantage point, me and Brian took some great action photos of Sean negotiating the final pitch, and the up climb of the cliff bands.
The hike home was fabulous, once again the weather held for a perfect day. The only event worth mentioning was the horribly exposed trail onto of Pawnee pass.
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):