Garfield – 10,920 Partners – None Distance ~ 9 miles Elevation Gain ~ 3200 ft
OK…I have been inactive on this site and in the mountains. Frankly, this has been a very disappointing climbing year. I started a major work project on January 2nd (one day after summitting Pikes Peak) and it has been non-stop until about two weeks ago. There were some breaks, but I decided to spend time with my family instead of climbing (Favorite was skiing with my kids at Copper). This doesn't mean I didn't try. A group of us tried Sherman in February. A mountain I have done a couple times, but this time was different. 14-hour days just killed my stamina and I stopped at 13,100. At the time it didn't bother me, but now it does. Now, I am somewhat free with an extra 15 pounds (it is amazing what stress, long times behind a computer, and food can do). Today was welcomed.
Mount Garfield and Arthur are named after two presidents from around the time Colorado became a state. I have done both mountains a couple times. From Colorado Springs, they look like two twin bumps just south of Pikes Peak. The hike isn't easy. There are several approaches, but today I had to settle with using Seven Bridges trail off the close portion of Gold Camp Road. This is a nice trail for families to try as it follows Cheyenne Creek back towards Jones Park, one of my favorite areas near the Springs. There are several trail junctions in Jones Park, but I took the one that took me to the cabin ruins.
North Cheyenne Creek
Looking Back at Colorado Springs
Heading to Jones Park
Jones Park – Aspen are very pretty in the fall
From here (Louds Cabin), a trail heads NNW and follows the drainage. There are small cairns, but otherwise there is no real trail to follow. This part is tough as you climb over downed trees and many rocks up a fairly steep slope. The drainage is fairly tight with a lot of tree cover. My goal was a saddle at 10,499 feet where I would approach Garfield to the West and Arthur to the East. I decided to go a little more North and approach Garfield on a gentler slope, which wasn't bad.
Mount Rosa from the drainage
This is the crap you deal with west of the Springs
Upon reaching the summit there was a surprise waiting for me. Up the valley, I could see blue sky directly overhead. However, from the summit there were T-storms forming to the west. I turned on my NOAA radio and watched the clouds as I took pictures. Not sure Arthur would be made. Didn't see lighting, but the clouds were building quickly. I figured I could descend to the saddle and make a choice then, which I did. As I hit the saddle, there was a big BOOM. It was time to head home.
What the hell is this??? Dark clouds!!!
If you listen closely, you can hear NOAA weather on my radio as I try to figure out what is happening.
Cameron's Cone…I have to get this one…….
Self shot with my extra weight and Pikes Peak
In the drainage and down Seven Bridges, I was mostly in the rain. Not a bad thing as it is something I enjoy. I knew this project would be disruptive, but not to this point. It is nice to be back in the mountains and now it is time to loose the "project" weight and hit some 14ers.
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