Peak(s):  Montezuma Pk  -  13,150 feet
"Unicorn, The"  -  13,020 feet
Date Posted:  05/25/2015
Date Climbed:   05/24/2015
Author:  piper14er
 Come on and jump...freefalling out into nothing   



I get up, and nothin' gets me down
You got it tough, I've seen the toughest around
And I know, baby, just how you feel
You got to roll with the punches and get to what's real

Ah
Might as well jump
(Jump)
Might as well jump
Go ahead an' jump
(Jump)
Go ahead and jump

Jump
Jump
Jump
Jump

The weather looked bad, the snow might be deep and who knows how far up the road we would get but... Might as well jump
(Jump)

Alamosa south on 285 to 370, west to 15, south a mile to Road 250, west on Road 250 through Jasper to the turn of for Road 380 then up... as far as you can which was about 4.3 miles before the end of the road (FR 243) which was the objective.

The snotel site at Lilly Pond (11000 feet) said 0" of snow, the snowtel site at Wolf Creek said 42" of snow at 11700 feet. Hmmm.

There are three 13ers there of which I was able to make two, Montezuma and The Unicorn.

The start of the road walk on Sunday morning was snowy, it had snowed all night but only a few inches at the start of the trek, more as the day went on as it never really stopped.
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The lakes (DeNolda and then Annella) where Road 380 heads north up to Elwood Pass.
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The road had a number of drifts to slow progress but not too bad. There was some up and down along the road also. Snowing...

Finally the end of FR 243 and now for the pain, no pain no gain right. Oh and the Lilly Pons snowtel may have been correct about the snow depth but the steep slopes off the road along Treasure Creek held several feet of snow.

One of several waterfalls along the creek.
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The slope moderated after a while and then you are at treeline.
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The ptarmigans were expecting more spring type weather as they were turning colors, sorry guys.
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Then it became very white, white snow on the ground, white clouds and white snow falling. This would go on for a number of hours.
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Then I started to think to myself maybe I should have waited a month, hmmm, but I decided I could handle the weather and kept going.

The ridge to Montezuma.
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The rimey summit cairn and register.
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I had brought my radio and called down to base camp at 10500 feet and it was load and clear and after checking in wife Brenda I decided to go for The Unicorn. I could not see the Unicorn or much else but some of the rocks around as it was white. There were times I had these orangish specs running across my eyes and I was thinking hopefully not snow blindness. Should have had the goggles and not just my sunglasses. It turned out not to be anything.

I trodded along and with some GPS aided route finding I followed the ridge down and then started up towards the Unicorn. It cleared enough to take this shot.
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This led up towards Point 12989 and in good weather probably not a problem but as I keep gaining elevation it keep becoming more of a knife edge than I was expecting. I could not see much but it was starting to feel like a lot of air on both sides as I followed the snow line. I decided to turn around and head back down.

Okay so The Unicorn wasn't in the cards today and I headed back towards the road. The sun popped out for a brief moment as I was about to head over the ridge back east and I saw The Unicorn pop out of the white.
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It was okay for moment and so stubbornly I turned back towards the peak. I lost some elevation again and headed straight up. It was corniced on either side of the peak.
I climbed and climbed for what seemed forever. It was only about 0.14 miles and 500 feet (3500 feet in a mile ?) and it kept getting steeper and steeper. The snow on top was soft enough to kick in steps. I could just make out one big rock that was a few hundred feet below the summit.

Finally made it and climbed up and over a small snow overhang. There was a cairn down below the top on the far side.
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Okay time to head down. I walked back up to where I had climbed on to the overhang and looked down. I wished it had been clear enough for a picture but as I looked down I could just see the big rock that I passed going up and it looked practically straight down. I don't know exactly but it was a good 75-80% according to my GPS download and it looked it. I was surprised I had climbed up there and did not realize it. Of course maybe it was the whole white out exaggerating the downclimb but I went down facing inward for the first few hundred feet.

And I'm free, free fallin'
Yeah I'm free, free fallin'
Free fallin', now I'm free fallin', now I'm
Free fallin', now I'm free fallin', now I'm

I want to glide down...
I want to write her name in the sky
Gonna free fall out into nothin'
Gonna leave this world for a while



Whew.

I headed back towards the road using my GPS. It became better as I dropped and back in the trees I found my tracks. I followed the tracks back down to the road and headed towards camp.

A waterfall.
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The snow slacked off and the road that was snow covered in the morning was clear by afternoon.
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The lake on the way out.
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Camp this morning and some sun...
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under the presence of Lookout Mountain.
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Yep should have waited a month and driven to the end of the road, picked up all three 13ers in 7 miles and 3200 feet. This was 14.1 miles, 3900 feet and snowy white.

You got to roll with the punches and get to what's real

Ah
Might as well jump
(Jump)
Might as well jump
Go ahead an' jump
(Jump)
Go ahead and jump

Jump
Jump
Jump
Jump

My GPS Tracks on Google Maps (made from a .GPX file upload):




Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20


Comments or Questions
EatinHardtack

Love the Corgi!
05/25/2015 20:35
Great to see a spring report, looking forward to your summer adventures.


Jay521

Me, too.
05/26/2015 07:59
My first dog was a Corgi. Nice trip report.


piper14er

The dogs
05/27/2015 06:49
Are always the star. Thanks for your comments, spring huh?



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