May 20, 2011
~13,4 Miles, ~5,500 Gain
Trailhead: Horn Peak Trailhead
The weather all week wasn't good and the weather for Friday looked marginal. I was hoping to get some other climbing in but was only able to get a few days of rock climbing both of which I eventually had to cut short due to rain. Nevertheless, I was hoping on doing some additional climbing in the area, so Al and I drove separately. I drove down Thursday evening arriving at the trailhead around 9:30 to find Al already sleeping in his car.
We woke up around 5:30 AM and were hiking up the Horn Peak trail by 6:00 AM. There was a fresh inch of snow at the trailhead but the trail was dry. Continuing north at the Rainbow Creek Trail junction, it was nice to have a snow free trail. Previously this year, Al and I had been breaking trail with snowshoes by this point. Before reaching the Macy Creek trail junction, we started to head west up the east ridge of Little Baldy and around ~10,300, we had to strap on the snowshoes. Unlike earlier this year, the snow was consolidated and we were not wallowing around in waste deep powder with snowshoes.
That wind doesn't look good. (Photo by Al)
Colony Baldy getting battered by wind. (Photo by Al)
Leaving the Rainbow Trail. (Photo by Al)
A touch of winter.
Travel slowed down with the snowshoes but we still made decent progress heading upwards. We broke out of treeline and stashed our snowshoes in some rocks. Near treeline, there was 2-4 inches of fresh snow. The ridge up Little Baldy is long. Really long. Painfully long. We reached our previous high point in much better time than previously but still had a long ways to go and the weather wasn't great. Cold icy wind with the high peaks going in and out of clouds.
Climbing out of treeline.
The valley below.
Climbing out of treeline. (Photo by Al)
The long ridge towards 13,541 via Little Baldy.
Somewhere on the ridge. (Photo by Al)
Near Little Baldy. (Photo by Al)
13,541 from Little Baldy.
One of the many bumps in Little Baldy. (Photo by Al)
One of the many bumps in Little Baldy. 13,541 in the background. (Photo by Al)
Up and down Little Baldy we eventually reached the point to where we could traverse a snow slope to the 13,541-13,517 saddle. Little Baldy was slow going on the snow covered talus; we we not looking forward to climbing back down.
The snow traverse to the saddle was also slow going as it was knee deep powder. Once at the saddle, we ditched our packs and made the quick climb to the summit where we arrived at 12:15 PM. The last 100-150 feet to the summit was exciting as the ridge narrowed. Nothing exceeded class 2. Fortunately, the wind had died down but unfortunately, we were climbing in the clouds and our views were nonexistent. 13,541 is supposed to have some of the best views of Kit Carson but I guess we will never know until we return.
Al working his way up 13,517 before the snow traverse.
Snow traverse to the 13,517-13,541 saddle.
Ridge up 13,517. (Photo by Al)
Al working his way to the summit of 13,541.
Summit Ridge of 13,541. (Photo by Al)
Narrow summit of 13,541.
East face exposure from the summit of 13,541.
Neat exposed south ridge of 13,541.
Al on the summit of 13,541.
Me on the summit of 13,541 (Photo by Al)
Working my way back from the summit of 13,541. (Photo by Al)
Willow lake during a clearing on the south ridge of 13,541.
Our descent was faster than our ascent and we took a short cut back down towards the Rainbow Trail and we returned to our cars around 4:30 PM. When we returned to the car, the peaks were completely socked in and most of the fresh snow had melted. It took me 3 attempts to get this one climbed.
Colony Baldy near the 13,517-13,541 saddle.
The really long ridge of Little Baldy back to the car.
My GPS Tracks on Google Maps (made from a .GPX file upload):
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
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