| IPA is short for "Inspiration"
Peaks featured :
Lake Hope Cirque
Climbing Partners :
Matt (Del Sur)
Rick (Mtn Fiend)
Mike (Rick's friend)
There are times when the view from the summit simply isn't enough to keep my legs moving uphill, I need something more. I used to think about a Wendy's Baconator, an entire Tombstone pizza or anything from Chipotle, but that just made me want to quit even more. Ironically enough, when I envision myself drinking a cold Modus Hoperandi in the Longs Peak parking lot, oblivious to the rest of the world, that's all I need to keep moving forward. An acquired taste, IPA's are not for everyone, with some classic reasoning. "It makes me fat". "I just drink what my girlfriend drinks and that's Woodchuck Cider". "New Belgium doesn't brew it".
Nowadays, its refreshing to see such breweries as Oskar Blues, Ska and now Avery selling their IPA's in cans. Thanks to these, I no longer care about Christmas morning. Next thing you know, the Golden City Brewery will be canning 22oz bombers of their Stand Up Double IPA and that'll be more exciting than when cavemen figured out how to create fire. In the month of September, these 3 juggernauts have been the focal point of the post-climb celebration and I've been lucky enough to enjoy them in three of my favorite regions of the state : The San Juans, The Gores and Rocky Mountain National Park.
Kevin (Papillon), Matt (Del Sur) and myself had some emails circulating around about potential climbs in the Ouray vicinity Labor Day weekend, but it seemed the week leading up to it, every conversation eventually resorted back to food, Weiss Baden Vapor Caves and selection of IPA's. We eventually got that squared away and agreed on some peaks for the long weekend. Pap and his girlfriend Sarah (Wooderson) have been hitting the Centennials hard this season and had an urge to head back in to Navajo Basin and grab Gladstone, myself setting my sights on the La Platas and Matt and his girlfriend Erin with Handies and then a reconvene at The Amphitheatre Campground in Ouray.
I used the spot Kevin reserved at the Amphitheatre Friday night and having driven 16 hours to Grand Teton a weekend before, I lost interest in the La Platas around Grand Junction and decided to blindly point at my San Juan topo map and just pick something. That something ended up being the Lake Hope 13ers south of Ophir on the backside of Ice Lakes and I didn't have squat for beta, so winging it was in order.
My Subaru Impreza made it up the road with ease and I started up the trail around 7:30am with hopes to climb the entire group, Beatie all the way to San Miguel, but after my first look at the ridge run from V9 to San Miguel, I knew it wasn't happening. Part of my thought process was less time for IPA's. That's a fact.
Anyways, Furthermore probably has a trip report for this group, so here are some pictures :
In a nutshell, this group is easier than the Ice Lakes Group and less impressive, but still worth checking out if you are in the Telluride/Ouray region. The ridges around San Miguel are worthy of note, as is the blue color of the man-made Lake Hope.
I was able to nab a decent shot of the Sneffels group from some guy's farm on the way back….
I met up with Matt and Erin at the campground. We cooked some food, drank some Modus and Dale's and awaited Kevin and Sarah's arrival. After switching campsites, we started a fire, drank some more Dale's and made a game plan for Teakettle the next day.
Matt drove the posse up to the outhouses and after meeting up with KTimm, we were on the trail by 6am. Every time I'm at that parking lot, I always think I'll see Cousin Eddy emptying out the sewage on someone's bright yellow Jeep Liberty with a cigar in his mouth, wearing a bathrobe. "Shitter was full".
That's an ugly scene, but this wasn't…..
The trail starts right from the parking lot and makes a beeline for the cirque below Teakettle and Coffeepot. We made good time to the amphitheatre and took a break.
The dinner plate special was baked liver with a side of cold fava beans and month old, stale Chianti. This approach sucked, no beating around the bush about it. When reviewing Roach's description, you might notice its only a couples miles roundtrip, but the vertical is steep and the terrain is unforgiving. The weather was a tad iffy and made its presence known at the ridge, below Coffeepot. We had a solid view of the "Black Gully" from this vantage point, but the weather and wind had Kevin, Kevin and Sarah spooked, so they decided to save it for another day. They were above Matt and I at this point, we had already down climbed into the gully leading to the Black Gully. I knew Matt really wanted to tag this one and I personally wasn't phased by the weather so we continued. I have to admit, after a demoralizing failure on the Grand a weekend before, my decision making was a bit impulsive, but since I had a good friend along, I was at least prepared to bail if things got unsafe. Luckily, the weather held and it was relatively smooth sailing, even an ascent and descent of the infamous Black Gully. An anchor was already in place on the summit with two rap rings, so that saved us even more time.
Regarding the summit pitch, its free climbable, but not really down climbable. I topped out, set up an anchor and belayed Matt from above. The summit was barely enough room for the two of us, but we were in pretty damn high spirits. After rappelling off, we ate some lunch and descended. Teakettle, sans the approach, is a San Juan classic.
Instead of regaining the bench below Coffeepot, we descended from the Black Gully and straightlined it down a comical amount of scree. Kevin and Sarah were kind enough to wait for us down below and got quite a bit of amusement out of watching Matt and I navigate through over a thousand feet of scree surfing. This descent makes the Lavender Col route seem like a waterslide at Elitch Gardens with a hoard of St.Pauli Girls waiting for you at the bottom.
With an afternoon to kill, we put on the trunks and hit up the Weiss Baden Vapor Caves in Ouray and then a meal in town that evening, followed by some more Modus and Avery's at camp. Kevin, Sarah and I even enjoyed a few in the rain, unphased.
We hit Courthouse on the way out of town, scouted out some future car camping spots in the West Cimarron and parted ways (after a last few celebratory Modus's). Sitting in the shade next to the West Fork was a peaceful moment and a fine way to end another fine weekend in the San Juans.
Shifting gears, my buddy Rick and I had been going back and forth with some emails regarding a climb of the Kieners Route on Longs. Rick had never done Longs, neither had his buddy Mike, myself mindlessly climbing the Keyhole and Loft over 10 times like a sheep. It was time for a new route. Rick and I have climbed a few peaks together, with a common interest in BC lines, obscure peaks and of course, IPA's. He's a good friend to have with acquiantences at GCB, Avery and Bentgate. His buddy Mike was the climbing monkey of the group and would do most of the leading throughout the day.
Another 2am start was in the cards, little did I know this was going to be my 3rd longest day in the mountains. Luckily, the weather was absolutely flawless, so time wasn't of a concern throughout the day. We made it to the base of Lamb's Slide as the sun was coming up…
About halfway up, Lamb's Slide turned to rotten ice, so Mike placed a few ice screws and the pace took a nosedive. This was some unforgiving sketchy terrain and we finally topped out at the beginning of Broadway around 9am. So yeah, it took a while.
We roped up all the way from Broadway to the top of the crux rock pitch. The consequence around this region is too much to risk, so we chose discretion. Some of the climbing reached a healthy 5th class rating, and we definitely were not on the 4th class path of least resistance in spots. Mike did a fine job leading and Rick kind enough to show me the ins and outs of a 3-person climbing team.
By the time we reached the Diamond Step, we had been above 13k for so long, our legs were on the verge of deterioration. There was one move around a large block on Diamond Step that had I let one rip during this section, I would've needed a spare pair of underwear. So when packing for Kieners, remember a light rack, 60 meter rope, belay gloves since half the route is done in the shade and an extra pair of underwear. Luckily none of us did, and the summit was climatically reached minutes later.
The crown jewel of our pack contents was a 22oz bomber of Double IPA from GCB. Along with a stick of sausage and cheese and eating peanut butter with my hands like a primate, I never knew such a meal could taste so good. If we had some tobasco, we might've gone comatose. We used the thought of that IPA, that was still cold, to get past some of the more exposed sections and then as an extra push to make it up the last 300-400 feet up to the summit.
After a rap off the North Face, we were faced with the grueling deproach 5 miles down. A meal at Southern Sun in Boulder was in the cards, FYIPA's, burgers, burritos and fries were enjoyed by all.
Thanks Rick and Mike for leading that route, it was surely a classic! Best rock route I've done to date in my short time in this state.
Since I didn't feel like sitting around all Sunday, I decided to find a local Gore I hadn't done. After a delicious breakfast at Lamar's Donuts in Denver, I followed it up with an even more delicious lunch at Chipotle and around 11:05am, I set off. "Snow Peak" (13,024 ft) is located just off to the left of the spine of the range, but its view from the summit of the northern regions is worth the visit. I've been warned by Gore enthusiasts throughout Summit County that "Lord Gore" was quite upset with me after too many trip reports this summer of the range, so out of respect for the powers that be, I'll post a few shots, I just hope I don't wake up with a horse's head in my bed.
For the record, Deluge Creek trail is an uphill battle and is not a place for a late afternoon stroll. After 17 hours on Kieners, I was questioning the purpose, specially with week 1 of the NFL on. I was contemplating traversing to "Valhalla" but I had cell phone service on the summit and noticed a text message from some friends who wanted to grab some grub at Old C's in Silverthorne, and hightailed it back to the car in 2 hours. FYI, one of the sampler's at Old C's is comprised of Avery IPA, Stone IPA, Mojo Risin IPA and Strongbow. I nearly asked to see the manager and get an explanation, but simply exchanged the cider for a Coors Original.
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):