| Dance of the 7 veils - Gurlz Hike P2
Rock Stars: Birdie, Jenjay & bergsteigen
TH: South Colony Lakes 4WD
Route: South Face (W->E Gully)
Elevation Gain: ~3,300'
Day 1: Crestone Peak
Day 2: Crestone Needle
The dance of the seven veils of clouds and mist:
After being buffeted by the wind all night, we woke later that originally planned, but feeling good for the climb ahead. We head out on the now familiar trail, knowing where all the twists and turns are. Heading up the pass, we take it a bit slower than yesterday, as this time we don't want to beat the sun. That and Jenjay and I are nursing sore knees.
With the later start, we see the sunrise on the S. Colony lakes side of the pass.
Needle in the first sun:
Birdie and Jenjay admiring the layers of clouds and fog:
Sunlight on Broken Hand Pass and Crestone Needle:
Once on the pass and making our way over to the Needle, a layer of mist comes in to hug it
We approach in varying degrees of fog, down climbing a short pitch on the way to the base of the west gully.
Looking over to Broken Hand Peak
Once in the east gully, the mist ebbs and flows, in and out. Sometimes obscuring our route, sometimes revealing it, like a tease. The climbing is amazing, best ever. The conglomerate abounds with ready hand and foot holds for the very solid class 3 climbing. After being sad that the class 3 section on Wetterhorn was too short, I am rewarded with scrambling heaven.
With my camera in my backpack, I take virtually no photos on the way up. Neither Birdie or Jenjay have a camera, so you will have to use your imagination to view the swirling mist and climbing.
As we ascend the east gully, we look for the crossing point to the west gully. With the mist, every gendarme and spire along the rib looks like it. Since us women are not afraid to ask for directions , I refer to my iPhone, which has all the route photos downloaded onto it. After hearing some horror stories from the day before, with guys descending the wrong way, and having a very very long day of it (and being stuck in the hail storm), we wanted to make sure we were on route.
At the cross over point, it is fairly obvious. The stream section turns into a dihedral and there are cairns on the rib to the left. To be safe, I take a gps waypoint. We build up the cairns along the cross over point. In the west gully we also build up cairns with light colored rocks, pointing the way.
Ascending the narrower west gully is quick and easy. We meet Kansas as he descends, and he takes a photo of us ascending (Yay! Thank you )
At the top of the gully, on the ridge, Jenjay leaves her red shirt wadded up as a marker of sorts. We me one group that almost descended the wrong way. So we were doing everything we could to make sure everyone we met knew of the route finding issues/dangers.
Once on the summit (after quite the celebratory hollering), I have my camera in hand to photograph the teasing glimpses of the scenery through the clouds and mist.
The party behind us, were our summit photographers for the morning
Very briefly the clouds lifted near Crestone Peak, but just a tease lifting of the veil
Descending the west gully:
As we neared the cross over point to the east gully, the clouds get thicker and we begin to feel moisture consolidation. Rain! Not the best of news, before the exposure climbing to come. On the rib, we meet another group of 3 women. With the rain, we convince them that they are not near the summit, nor is the climbing going to be easy with wet rocks for hand and foot holds. They descend.
The rock is wet, but we take it as slowly as we feel is safe. The holds are so big, that we are able to get down fairly quickly. We let out cheers of completion as we finally get to the bottom (with one premature yell when we were deceived by the clouds ).
The traverse over to the pass is enjoyable with the veils of mist coming in and out. Breath taking scenery of flowers, mist, rock and lakes as we slowly pass by.
Nearing the pass, the clouds recede enough to allow a parting glance at my new favorite peak:
Jenjay sitting on the crux of the Broken Hand Pass route
Some more beauty, in a weekend overflowing with it
Back in camp, we break down and pack up, sore from the weekends excursions. We imagine riding my truck like a horse, to minimize the rough rock bouncing all the way to the lower TH. Recharging at the Pizza Madness in Silvercliffe, dreaming up crazy devious schemes for future 14er climbs. It's been an amazing weekend! Gurlz Rock!
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):