Peak(s):  Mt. Evans  -  14,264 feet
Date Posted:  08/08/2013
Date Climbed:   07/30/2013
Author:  Rick Canter
 Mt. Evans, Part Two - Chicago Lakes Basin  

Mt. Evans

Trip Report 5 of 7


It has become my Plan B of choice, to try and reach the same 14er summit the very next day after a failed attempt. There are several advantages to this approach. I know the route very well and can almost sleep-walk my way to where I gave up the previous day. I can also assess if the ground is wet and how wise my bailout decision was the previous day. If I have no choice but to move on to other mountains, it only makes the return trip less certain. Finally, I have a real distaste for leaving un-summited mountains in Colorado for a year or years at a time. I HAD to come back...immediately.

So I started at Echo Lake earlier to hedge my bets...3:30 am this time. It was still mostly dark when I went past the Idaho Springs reservoir this time.

I noticed a LOT more water on the trail this morning, clearly it had rained hard at some point within the last 23 hours. The hike up was lovely once again, with some early morning clouds, again of concern. Marmots and pika greeted me as I reached the Chicago Lakes and grunted up the west side of Mt. Warren.

When Summit Lake came into view, it is almost surreal to see cars and people after such a long hike up. This time, instead of ominous clouds overhead, there were whitecaps on Summit Lake. Almost immediately, a fierce and gusty wind blew through. I had hints of wind while ascending up from the Lakes, but this was entirely different. I walked up the Mt. Evans Road and reached the inviting NE face. I feared what the wind might be like at the summit proper. While I have no idea what reporting occurred at the summit observatory, my estimate is that winds were 10-30 mph sustained with 40-60 mph gusts.

A three-some of middle aged ladies from Chicago hiked up from Summit Lake and joined me on this final stretch up the NE face. I eventually hiked up past them. There were also some folks coming down from the summit.

I made it up and the wind was howling at the "summit" parking area. It was gusty, which also meant that there were some significant breaks. I was grateful for moments of 10-20 mph wind. I met many folks who had driven up and one of them took my summit photo, a lady who was originally from England and had the accent to prove it.

Funny exchange with a kindred mountaineer at 14200': "Hey, you HIKED up" After the usual, how-long, which-trailhead discussion, I asked "where you from?"
"Ft. Worth"
"Ugh oh, Cowboys fan eh?"
"Sorry, I am from Redskins territory"
"well, you cannot help some people's faults"
"I know, I can't help yours".

There were less whitecaps on Summit Lake on the way down and out. The skies remained partly cloudy, but stable, with little threat of any storminess.

I met some USFS rangers at Summit Lake, we discussed weather conditions briefly. They mentioned the graupel that fell in the noon-time hour the day before. If I had continued as planned yesterday, I would have definitely endured some bad weather, perhaps some horrific weather, somewhere between Mt. Warren and the summit of Mt. Evans. In fact, there was still remaining graupel on the sheer north face of Mt Evans that was clearly visible. I had made a wise call the day before and became rather proud of that decision. After two attempts in two days, I was going to summit Mt. Evans and return to my car safely without a drop of precipitation falling out of the sky.

Once back into the Chicago Lakes Basin, the wind stopped and it felt warm when the sun was out. I found a couple of fellows hanging out near the Upper Chicago Lake, then a bunch coming up to fish or hang out at the Idaho Springs reservoir. Another few folks close to Echo Lake.

I returned to the car just short of 3:30 pm, another 12-hour day. I was tired, but feeling accomplished as I reached my first 14er of the tour and my 29th lifetime, again, without a drop of rain.

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

 Comments or Questions

On top at Last!
08/08/2013 18:32
Congrats Rick on a successful climb! Don't forget your in Bronco's Country!!

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