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Night Ascents

Have an interesting or epic climbing story? Post it here.
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Postby gurlyclimber » Fri May 04, 2007 8:09 am

I've done princeton, humboldt and several 12 and 13ers at night. Like someone else mentioned, it is a great way to do those popular peaks without the people. It feels sureal. After work in the summer I like to head to the mountains when there is little to no danger of T-storms. If anyone would like to get out after work, I have already started. We were on Silverplume Mountain a couple of days ago. Wed and Thurs are my free nights to go.

One of the more interesting night hikes that I did was on Princeton. We ran the gauntlet for weather up there. It was June. The weather went from clam to lightning and rain to whiteout conditions.
There are some trips you never fully come back from.

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Re: Night Ascents

Postby GeorgiaTyler » Tue Jun 07, 2011 12:46 pm

While thru hiking the CO trail in AUG 2009 I left my camp near the MT ELBERT trailhead around dusk. With a headlamp and a .357 holstered I took off towards Elbert. Summited around 11pm, I brought my sleeping bag and stayed the night up on top floor of Colorado. Very long and cold 8 hours up there, but the sunrise was out of this world and to sleep (try to) under a zillion stars on a windless, moonless, cloudless night is pretty much unmatched. Although Elbert is a simple hike, all my friends out east think i am super hardcore for sleeping at 14k in late August on the highest point in Colorado. Night hikes are the best. Cheers.
Climb up Pints down

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Re: Night Ascents

Postby idance7 » Tue Jun 07, 2011 5:40 pm

how much extra experience is needed to do a night climb/hike? It looks like everyone that has done one is pretty experienced, but it sounds like the only harder part of it would be route finding in the dark and useing a head lamp. would it be to much for someone who has only climbed a few 14ers to try a night ascent? even on an easy, well marked trail?
I lift my eyes to the mountains-where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth! He will not let your foot slip; the one who watches over you will not sleep. Psalm 121:1-3

Re: Night Ascents

Postby BobbyFinn » Tue Jun 07, 2011 9:48 pm

idance7 wrote:how much extra experience is needed to do a night climb/hike? It looks like everyone that has done one is pretty experienced, but it sounds like the only harder part of it would be route finding in the dark and useing a head lamp. would it be to much for someone who has only climbed a few 14ers to try a night ascent? even on an easy, well marked trail?


If you keep to a well established trail - like Grays or Torreys or a trail/route that isn't as well established but that you're very familiar with and you have a full moon and you bring a headlamp (with spare batteries), then I don't think it requires a lot of experience. I did my first full moon night hike (Torreys) a couple of years ago and I didn't have a lot of experience, but I went with two other people. It was great. The full moon made headlamps unnecessary (though one person in the group insisted on using his so I had to stay far ahead or far behind so his light wouldn't affect me...). If I were you, I would recruit a couple of friends or post on here for partners and go for it. Just stick to easy class 1 trails and maybe hike it during the day prior to your night hike so you know what to expect. You can always turn around if you don't feel comfortable. Or you could start a hike or two a couple of hours before dawn so you get used to hiking in the dark before you go for a full-on night hike.

Bob
"Mind what you have learned. Save you it can." - Yoda
"Rudeness is a weak person's imitation of strength." - Paul Arel

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Re: Night Ascents

Postby idance7 » Tue Jun 07, 2011 9:54 pm

thanks for the advice because that sounds realy fun and id like to try it.
I lift my eyes to the mountains-where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth! He will not let your foot slip; the one who watches over you will not sleep. Psalm 121:1-3

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Re: Night Ascents

Postby Greg Helmerick » Tue Jun 14, 2011 7:51 am

Two of my coolest climbs have been night ascents.

The first was in July of 1999 when we woke at midnight to climb Democrat from Kite Lake in full moonlight. That was a surreal experience. You don't really notice the distance in moonlight. Everything has an ethereal flatness to it. We didn't quite make the summit before sunrise, but we did make the flat plateau right before the summit and took a break to watch the sunrise from 14,000 feet.

The second was unintentional. In October of 2000, a buddy and I started Belford/Oxford in the afternoon. It was a gorgeous, crystal clear autumn day, and we backpacked in, set up camp, and started up around 1 or 2. Belford's switchbacks took forever, and by the time we topped out, the shadows were lengthening. We decided to push on for Oxford anyway. We topped out on Oxford near sunset. The traverse back to Belford was unreal. A full moon rose above Harvard, and we reached Belford just as the last, distant light was dropping in the west. The San Juans barely visible as a jagged sawtooth all to our south and west. We stood on Belford in the moonlight for a bit and then descended to camp with only the moon highlighting the snow on the switchbacks. We didn't need our headlamps until we reached the floor of the basin.

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