Peak(s):  Meeker, Mt  -  13,911 feet
Date Posted:  08/28/2018
Date Climbed:   08/17/2018
Author:  Lithic
 Night Ascent of Meeker via Sandbeach  

I have had my eyes on Meeker ever since I first climbed Long's back in 2015. A few weeks ago, when my buddy suggested we climb it via the Sandbeach Lake trail, I'll admit I initially tried to sway him to do the shorter route via The Loft, in favor of about 1000' less gain and using a very well established trail for the majority of the hike. After he repeated the word "solitude" for about the 10th time, I guess he put me in some kind of trance, and I agreed with him that the Sandbeach Lake Trail to Bushwhack route would be more fun. We arrived at the trailhead at dark, hung out for a bit, and I set up my tent, with the plan of starting somewhere around 2 AM. About 10 minutes later we looked at each other, and agreed that there was no way we were going to get any meaningful sleep, so I broke the tent back down. We left the trailhead somewhere around 10:45pm, trudging along at a very casual pace up the Sandbeach Lake trail. I had made my own waypoints on my GPS app, using the route map on this site for reference, (for some reason the gpx file would not download), and around 9800' we split off from the trail and began our bushwhack, staying just to the North of Hunter's Creek.

It soon became apparent that there were a network of recently cleared paths in the area, which we assumed were made looking for the hiker who went missing on the mountain a few weeks ago. While we definitely took advantage of these paths, I think we ended up adding a bit of accumulated mileage by switching back and forth between them. We continued trending Northwest, and crossed over the Northern drainage of Hunter's Creek at around 10,700'. Somewhere around 11K we hit treeline. It was shortly after this point (~ 4AM) when I proceeded to collapse in the fetal position and enjoy some nice Sockeye Salmon off of a rock with my hands, as I forgot my fork. It was a hilariously pathetic moment, filled with lots of delirious laughter. I made sure to clean it up nice guys, don't worry.

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After some rough digesting, the second wind came around 5AM! Sort of.


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My friend, digging the solitude.

We hit the ridge crest by Dragon's Egg shortly after 5, and it was still pitch black out. At this point I proceeded to lead us up some class 3 stuff just west of the gully, in favor of more solid rock. On the descent we had a chuckle about this, because the gully was definitely more direct, though the scree wasn't too appetizing. Daylight crept in around 5:30, and we probably went close to half an hour without saying a word to each other. It had already been a long night, and the thought of turning around definitely crossed our minds.


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Around 13.2K, we switched over to the west side of the ridge, and followed it closely. The hiking here isn't too bad- pretty easy to keep it class 2. At 13.7K, we reached the "saddle", and headed east for the final summit push.

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The Saddle

We summited at 6:10 AM, just as the sun was rising. When all was said and done, the adventure took about 12 hours from start to finish. It was definitely one of the roughest hikes I have done, due to the lack of sleep, route finding in the dark, and a few other factors I will leave to your imagination. However, it was also one of the most rewarding, and I'm glad we did it. That said, if I ever see Meeker again it will be via the Loft Route. Cheers!


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