| Everest For The Elderly
I wanted to start off with lessons learned.
1. You really do need to be ready for any weather above the tree line. Coming down through a blizzard was not what I expected.
2. What falls as rain in Denver falls as snow up high.
3. The trail has lots of packed snow, slush and ice because of the traffic. There are many spots that are very slick, so be careful.
My wife and I are both over 50 and I have just lost 85 pounds. One of the goals I had was to climb a 14er. This was our first.
We did our first 14er with a meetup group of more experienced folks. The day started cool, but pleasant when we hit the trail at about 6:45. Around 12,500 the wind really started to pick up and clouds would cover the peaks. At around 13,400, we were hiking through the clouds to the top.
The top of Grays itself was very windy. We got some pictures of the view as the clouds moved in and out ate some snacks and headed down the saddle to Torreys. The steeper bits had compact snow and ice, so it was pretty slippery.
We made the top of Torreys and were taking in the views and chatting with some flatlanders when the snow started. We headed down and the snow and wind both picked up and pretty soon we were hiking in blizzard conditions. We lost the cut off trail from Torreys and hiked about ˝ back up Grays before we decided to cut across the face of Grays. The snow there was fairly deep so it was easier to cut across when compared to the icy spots on the trail. The storm tapered off as we got below 12,500 and we had a rather pleasant walk back to the trailhead from there. We were some of the last people off the mountain, as most folks did Grays, then went straight down.
There were of course, the folks attempting to qualify for a Darwin award. At about 13,000 I passed a group in cotton sweat pants and sneakers with a single 500 ml bottle of water each. While going up Grays a woman was coming down a steeper pitch, heading right towards me, in a pair of knee length leggings screaming "I can't stop!" Another woman kept announcing how dizzy she was as she headed over to look over the edge of the exposure by the rock tower at 13400.
I would like to propose a new program, perhaps administered by Colorado Search and Rescue or the Forest Service. We would take an exam to demonstrate our common sense in outdoor situations. Once we pass, we would be given a license to dope slap anyone we see doing something dumb.
WHAP! "If you are that dizzy go back down, ya moron!"
As a first 14er it was a great experience. Everest for the elderly.
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