For me the weekend was filled with lots of emotion after we lost one of our own. The Kevin Hayne accident really hit home and it took a while to process through the emotions. I felt a sense of guilt while on the long drive to Lake City that I was abandoning my family and taking unnecessary risks. This is a dangerous game we play no way around it. I thought of what my family would have to go through if the same thing happened to me. I thought about this all weekend. I finally came to terms after meeting Kevin's mom and dad at Monday's service his mom told my wife "it's their calling". I realized this is my calling and as long as I balance it with family there is nothing wrong with it as long as I climb within my capabilities. Sure there are risks on the mountain and we can mitigate them to the best of our abilities but in the end when it's our time it's our time and we must live life to the fullest and make the most of our time here. Anyway I think I'm ready to continue doing what I love to do with the support and patience of my family and continue to explore the highest peaks the Colorado Rockies have to offer.
Day 1 Red Cloud Sunshine
Sho Gun Michael
Nice shot of Blue Mesa on the drive in to Lake City.
Handies I think??
Looking back at the gentle terrain.
We took the standard route. This two peak combo was the last walk up non exposed 14ers I have left so I took advantage turned up the music and set a very fast pace up knowing the rest of the group would do the same. This is the kind of mountain you can let the competitive juices flow and race up the mountain. On the harder peaks it's crucial that you stick together and use teamwork but on this one the biggest risk was a twisted ankle on the scree and we all were in constant communication VIA the radios so I was not worried about splitting up some.
Almost to the saddle
Looking up toward the summit
The bump to the left is the summit
At 7:40 I reached the summit Michael John arrived soon after and wandering DJ was still wandering the lower mountain (Slacker)
The next photo shows Sunshine Peak in the background. I had heard it looks closer than it really is and I would agree it was farther than it looked but still very easy.
I called Wandering DJ as soon as we arrived at Sunshine and asked where he was. He had just arrived at Red Cloud and was going to continue to Sunshine. The weather was perfect so we got comfortable and got busy on some roast that John's girlfriend had cooked up. We did share a little bit of it with John .
After the roast we drank some Sunshine beer on Sunshine peak
Even though the beer tasted great at high altitude about 30 minutes later we all started feeling really sluggish and sleepy. I got a pounding headache and felt like sleeping right there. I vowed to never do that again. On the traverse back we all laid down on the red dirt and rested for about 20 minutes until the buzz wore off.
Wandering Dj Finally shows up to drink a cold one
Group summit shot
After some Excedrin Migraine we set out back to take down camp and move on to the next trailhead and challenge Wetterhorn Peak. On the way down we met up with Dave West who had turned back earlier in the day about 2 miles into the hike because he was not feeling good. He said he got back to his car and regretted the decision and decided to give it a go again. He added about 4 miles roundtrip to the hike but made it! Good Job Dave I know you just wanted to climb it 1 1/2 times.
We got to camp changed clothes took down the tents and drove to Lake City where we met up with my father who had driven from the San Luis Valley to camp with us at the Wetterhorn trailhead. He was not sure if he would climb with us or just hang out at camp. He decided that he would go up with us with no real expectations of summiting but would go as far as he could. I knew what that meant he was going to summit!
At camp we enjoyed grilling some burgers and hot dogs while DJ practiced playing his guitar. I dropped a couple hot dogs but beat the 5 second rule barely by 1 second. It is nice to be able to car camp and take the extras that you can't take while backpacking to a camp.
At the Wetterhorn camp
We got a 4:30 am start DJ decided to not go because he had a blister so it was just the 4 of us. John and Michael went ahead while I went at a 62 year old man pace with my father. Weather looked great so we took our time and eventually the peak came into view as the sun came up.
My 62 year old dad on father's day
The sun telling us where to go.
Eventually we made it to the ridge leading to the summit and the wind really picked up. I thought it was winter again. It was not T-shirt weather.
The wind picked up here. Maybe 30MPH sustained I'm guessing
Our pace was pretty slow we took lots of breaks whenever my dad needed one. I kept looking at my watch and knew we had plenty of time as long as we kept moving. I asked him if he wanted to quit several times and he always replied let me go a little farther and see. I was a little worried about him getting a blister since he is a diabetic. I had him duct tape his feet to prevent this the night before. At one point he said he felt a hot spot so we stopped on he took off his shoes to monitor the situation. We checked and his feet were fine.
Checking the feet
We were pretty far behind John and Michael I thought until I see Michael pop out from behind a rock. He was waiting for us as John went ahead to route find. John then came back to show us the easiest way. I really appreciate your patience guys and helping me get the old man to the summit! My dad was breathing heavy and I asked if he was ok I don't think he was really tired but more so nervous about the harder moves. With only 2 14ers under his belt Culebra and Blanca this was by far the most difficult 14er he had been on. I would go behind him making sure his hand and footholds were solid while Michael and John went in front of him leading the way.
John in his infamous pink summit jacket
First class 4 move ever!
A good shot of how steep it gets.
Eventually we made it to the summit about 9 am and were greeted by spectacular views in all directions.
Happy father's day!
Going back down
Looking for a pet Marmot
Weekend at Bernie's movie remake ha ha ha
Eventually we made it back to camp and took down the tents. After a short rest we drove back to Lake City and ate at the Italian restaurant on main street. After lunch I said my good byes to dad who was headed back to Antonito. I drank my 5 hr energy drink and drove home. It was another great weekend livin it up just like Kevin loved to do.