| Pikes Peak Railroad Not
July 5th is the official due date of baby number 3, but the doctor thinks she'll be here around the 29th. Not too much time till then, so this is it, last trip of the year. The TR's from Pikes Peak have been pouring in as heavy as these spring rains, and after 11 years in Colorado I'd still never been up Pikes Peak. Now seemed as good as a time as any, and a crew of one seemed appropriate as a spiritual cleansing is always a good idea and a solo climb contains powerful medicine.
I arrived at the road fairly early, and rally raced up to the road closure around mile marker 18 in about 30 minutes. The park ranger gave me the low down and I hiked up to the summit in short time, When I arrived on the summit, except for a garbage truck, I was all alone. OK, this is probably as solo as Pikes gets.
Just me and the sign after a grueling 500 foot climb.
Scouting around for the entrance to the Railroad Couloir, I heard the whistle of the first approaching train. I started to enter the chute just as the first passengers unloaded the train. The snow in the couloir looked firm; however, wanting solitude I dropped in.
The snow was solid and grippy, a little extra challenging but definitely doable. Making my way down, the inversion over the eastern plains made for some spectacular scenery.
Looking back up at the Railroad Couloir.
I skied in the shade for 1,000 feet or so to where I merged up with the bottom of the Y. Finally finding some good soft snow, I just kept skiing. With each turn thinking, I have to climb back up this. No its too good, keep going. Last run of the year, this snow is sweet. At some point you should stop, what about that rock over there, no just a few more. Soon enough was enough and I found a rock reposed at at perfect angle and stopped. In the Bottomless Pit, I was finally alone. I'm probably the luckiest man in the world, I should buy a lottery ticket today.
After basking in the sun for about 30 minutes it was time to get moving, skinning up the lower angled slopes was a treat. Really I don't know why I was enjoying this so much, but I was, it was just a perfect convergence of all emotions. The thought faucet was wide open now and the views added just the right backdrop. "3 kids, that seems like a lot, well at least I don't have to worry about what I'm going to do for the next 20 years". "Sweet, we have our own basketball team now, but what will we do for golfing, a 2 and a 3, maybe one of them won't play"
The Y looks like a great climb, I should put my crampons on soon. It's too bad my Grandma and Nana (who both passed away this year) won't get to meet the newest member of the family, but I know that they'll enjoy watching her grow up from the heavens.
Why won't these lazy sons of bitches help me put in the bootpack?
coloskier took this picture of me heading up the Y.
Why does it look like the Y couloir is giving birth to coloskier? Nice to meet you dude.
Upon reaching the summit, I made the ski back down to the car and felt thoroughly cleansed, ready to bring some more love into this world. After it was all said and done I came to two conclusions:
1. It's impossible to be on Pikes Peak and not sing America the Beautiful at some point.
2. Ski mountaineering is a piece of cake compared to raising kids.