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Night Ascents

Have an interesting or epic climbing story? Post it here.
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Night Ascents

Postby Chris P. » Sun Apr 15, 2007 12:09 am

I was wondering how many of you have done a night ascent on a 14er. By night ascent, I mean summiting before first light, not an hour or two on the trail before sunrise. Let's hear the stories.

My only night ascent so far was on San Louis last August. It was a pretty amazing experience. we missed out some on the views, but the sky was amazing that far removed from all light pollution. This summer I would like to do at least one or two peaks at night and summit in time to watch the sun rise.

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Postby Layne Bracy » Sun Apr 15, 2007 5:37 am

My only 14er night ascent was Shavano/Tabeguache. It was spontaneous - I had arrived at the TH after midnight and then just didn't feel like trying to camp in the cold and wind. Summitted Shavano at 4am, then hit Tabeguache and made it back to Shavano by 6:30am, 15 minutes before sunrise.

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Postby cftbq » Sun Apr 15, 2007 9:42 am

My two attempts at a night ascent, last June, was technically a failure. Despite leaving the Crags TH for Pikes Peak at about 1 am, we failed to reach the summit before sunrise. The hike in the darkness was still amazing.
Two years earlier, I left the Purgatory TH in evening twilight, hoping to reach the summit of Eolus by sunrise. Didn't make that one either, as the sun rose on us in the snowfields at about 13,500 ft.
I'm keen to try it again. Tentative plan for this summer is an easy peak like Quandary, coincident with the Perseid meteor shower--hopefully arriving at the summit not only before first light, but early enough to stretch out and enjoy some meteors. Informed by experience, I figure a 10 pm start should do it for a short hike.
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Night hiking reply

Postby K Unit » Sun Apr 15, 2007 10:28 am

A buddy and I planned to camp at Kite lake and hike Democrat, Cameron, Lincoln and Bross the following day. When we arrived we changed our plan and hiked all four that night. It was an amazing experience. The night made the hike very cool and adventerous. We left at 10pm and made it back around 3am. The only thing I would have done different is in the planning phase mistakes at night can be unforgiving especailly around cliffs!

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Postby skwid » Sun Apr 15, 2007 10:35 am

on july 4th I started an ascent of democrat at 10:00 pm summited at midnight... and on the way down a cloud surrounded me... and I got lost... thought I found the trail ended up it was a dry river bed... but in the end it was my favorite climb...

Postby Bean » Sun Apr 15, 2007 10:57 am

Several times. The most memerable were the two times I was on the summit of Longs for sunrise. Just amazing.

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Postby Couloirman » Sun Apr 15, 2007 6:02 pm

last year during the meteor shower I climbed torrey's, summited at 3 then watched meteors while i waited for the sun to soften the dead dog and skied it in awesome corn.

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Postby Buckeye » Sun Apr 15, 2007 6:47 pm

Agree with Bean. A buddy and I did Longs last summer during August I believe. We started the trailhead at midnight under a clear, full moon sky which provided a surreal hike. We missed the sunrise by about 10 minutes, but it was still awesome.

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Postby CO Native » Sun Apr 15, 2007 7:21 pm

Popular mountains are best done at night. I did Grays and Torreys and never saw another person the entire trip.

I also have caught sunrise from Longs, but still saw a ton of people. In retrospect I should have done the whole route in the dark.

Princeton at night was awesome since some low clouds moved in below us. The moonlight on top of them was amazing.
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Postby CO Native » Sun Apr 15, 2007 9:04 pm

BTW the problem with a night climb is you get some pretty lousy pictures:
http://www.hikingintherockies.com/fourteeners/grays%20&%20torreys/grays%20&%20torreys.htm
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Postby MJKeenan » Sun Apr 15, 2007 9:12 pm

We started Sherman at 10 at night, then since it was so short we just stopped at the Kum N Go in Leadville and drove over to Elbert. Didn't make it to the summit of Elbert for sunrise but we were still above treeline. It was funny because everyone we passed on the way down challenged the fact that we actually summitted when it was actually our second summit that morning!

I highly recommend checking the lunar cycles on your calender. It's much better if you can hike without headlamps.
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Postby TalusMonkey » Mon Apr 16, 2007 8:33 am

I did Humbolt at night last June. Started from South Colony Lakes right at dusk, summited at 2230. Took a photo with the full moon behind me at the wind shelter, then descended to the Humbolt saddle and camped at 12,800'. Breezy night, but clear skies through dawn. Next morning I scampered around the South Colony cirque, over the Bears Playground, and up Crestone Peak via the north couloir.
"When hiking in bear country one doesn't need to be the fastest runner in the party - just not the slowest."

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