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Peak(s):  "Gudy Peak"  -  13,572 feet
"C.T. Peak"  -  13,317 feet
Unnamed 13403  -  13,403 feet
Unnamed 13544  -  13,544 feet
Date Posted:  10/09/2018
Date Climbed:   10/06/2018
Author:  bergsteigen
Additional Members:   Flyingfish, RyGuy, Tony1, TaylorHolt
 Chasing after cougar bait   

13,427, 13,540A, C.T.Peak, Guddy Peak

  • Mileage: 9.52
  • Elevation gain: +3,653' (-5,080')
  • Trailheads: Below Cinnamon Pass, Cooper Creek TH
  • Cougar Bait: Ryan, Tony, Taylor, Graham
  • Class: 3-4
  • Terrain: Tundra/talus with loose descent off 13,540A

Fall gathering is one of the best times of the year. I usually don't write a TR when I'm hiking with others, as I'm usually enjoying the camaraderie instead of taking photos. But I'll make an exception here. The cold didn't let me take as many photos as I would have liked, as well as trying to keep up with these young pups limited my camera time. With me reaching Pok-e-man level 41 and recovering from yet another injury, my body seemed ready to fight me today with a bunch of F.U.'s, creating numerous points of fatigue. So the chase would be on all day. At least I have endurance in this race. I may not be back to cheetah speed yet, but the cougar knows how to stalk their prey.

Fall leaves

As I usually don't have partners for random 13ers, I originally planned this trek as a solo ridge run with a mile walk on the road. But when 4 younger guys were willing to be in my presence (and get up at 3:30am), it was time to work the car shuttle. The glorious car shuttle. I apparently didn't dream big enough, as where I planned on starting wasn't high enough for Ryan, so we started to drive up Cinnamon Pass. We'd leave Graham's jeep above, with my truck and Taylor's vehicle at Cooper Creek. Nick was rightly scared to go off with Ryan's jeep to go hike Handies instead.

At O dark WTF, we started up by a cairn at our trailhead. Amazingly we avoided all the cliffs surrounding us, only seen after the hike. Headlamps raced up the slope, and I chased after them in the cold air hurting my lungs. At the top of the saddle, we traversed west instead of immediately dropping (grassy slopes below, but since it was dark, we didn't see this). So we dropped on stupid steep talus, Ryan falling a couple of times. In long grass, the cougar can approach rapidly, closing the gap, but not on steep loose talus.

Soon as I got to the road, I said F that dropping steep loose talus shite, I'm taking the road. Taylor wisely followed me. We had a pleasant walk around to where the others were crawling on hands and feet up the steep talus slope, out of breath and jealous of our easy walk. Well, all jealous but stubborn Ryan ;) The cougar has to adapt her route to her prey and adjust to cut them off. If they look up, she stops. If they move on, she continues. The dark hides all, but the headlamps

The remainder of the route up to 13,427 was on easy tundra. Ryan ran up to his "summit", while the rest of us headed towards the real summit. Sunrise overcame us enroute to the first summit, and all the whining ceased about our early start time.

Pink pre sunrise
Snow and color
Ryan's "summit" - sunrise of Sunshine (photo: Ryan)
Wildhorse to Wetterhorn lit up with the sunrise
Sun dog
Happy cougar (photo: Ryan)
Sunrise on Woods Mtn (Photo: Taylor)

After the paws froze, we scampered up to the summit itself in the cold morning breeze.

13,427 summit pano

Looking over to 13,540 A (photo: Ryan)

(photo: Taylor)

Someone told me a joke as I snapped this rare selfie. Who's the devil and who's the angel on my shoulders?
Wetterhorn and Uncompaghre in the dawn light

Actual cougar prey on the ridge to 13,540 A

After photos, it was time to descend, paws were frozen. Directly off the summit was snowy and steep, but Tony, Taylor and Graham found a better descent option, while Ryan put on his claws/microspikes.

Direct route to 13,540 A
Looking for a better way down
A weakness in the ridge
13,540 A and the roads below it. The chase begins in earnest!
Shadow and light at the saddle
Shadow puppets in front of 13,427
Handies and American Basin

The remainder of the route up to 13,540 A was just a long talus ridge. Never caught the cougar prey (elk), but I had others in my sights.

Ridge to 13,540 A, CT and Gudy behind
Closer to 13,540 A, prey in sight, just ahead

Less snow on summit 2, as the sun and air tries to heat things up a little.

13540 A pano south
13540 A pano north

Wetterhorn and Uncompaghre group
Next 2 peaks
13,427 a ways off

After summit 2, we were quite pleased with ourselves. This was going smoothly, if only a bit chilly and windy. Then we would come to a stupid loose class 3 ish descent where we all had to go slowly and carefully. We didn't bring helmets, and rock fall was a major issue. Killing my prey with rocks isn't very sporting!

The chase continues down 13,540 A

Why is the prey clumped by the edge of the cliff? Does the cougar have time to sneak up?

Prey vision down the loose scramble (photo: Tony)
Loose rock is not good stalking terrain
Ryan's view of us from below the loose crap on the ridge

View of the loose scramble from below.

The ridge ain't over yet. More fun to come (photo: Ryan)

Another look back on the worst part of the traverse
Scrambly ridge to come

As we approached the next set of obstacles, 2 went left up loose talus, where I heard "don't recommend my route" from a mile away. While the smarter prey went to the right and found a delightful class 4 chimney to scramble up. Only one move was suspect, but otherwise it made this cougar smile with sheer delight!

Options... Silly prey went to the left up loose talus. Smart prey went up to the right.

Traversing below some difficulties, in case the prey didn't make it up the ridge bump
Class 4 chimney

Prey vision down chimney. The cougar is biding her time, closing in on the approach (photo: Tony)

After that excitement, the terrain eases back to tundra and talus. Prime stalking terrain.

Slope to C.T. - The prey has split up... who's the weakest link?
Closing in on the summit/prey
Looking back on the rough but interesting ridge from 13,540A

The summit of C.T was a welcome sight, though with Gudy closely in view, we didn't stay long. Snow storms were forecasted for early afternoon

CT pano south
CT pano north

A quick descent down and up talus to Gudy Peak. Quick is relative. This cougar was feeling her age and was worried her prey would escape! Though as the gap closes, the cougar slows down and her stalking becomes more intense and low profile. Cougars find it hard to out run their prey, so every inch nearer, will tilt the odds in my favor.

Descent off CT. The next 2 peaks look sooooo close!
The prey is near! Almost to Gudy. Full creeping stalk with only my tail twitching.
Looking back on CT

Arrival on the (final) summit was pleasing. Though it was sad as none of my prey wanted to continue onto the other 2 peaks. The ridge that made them look so close, now elongated and became rougher than viewed from farther away

Gudy summit pano. Taylor not feeling so Gudy (photo: Tony)

One of the prey is showing weakness. Should strike now while their foot is out of it's boot!
What happens when cougars cavort with their prey and it's been a long day (photo: Tony)

But alas, I play with my prey like a kitten and they get away from me. We went back down the ridge to the first saddle and descent a steep grassy pebbly slope to the valley below. My paws were in massive pain, and my prey could have left me completely.

Snow falling, right on cue on our descent from the ridge

I followed Ryan and Graham on the right/west side of the stream, instead of gaining the far bank to the trail. We met Tony and Taylor a bit below where the trail crosses the stream, to make our final descent to the vehicles. Ryan the daring prey decided to tease me into stalking some other peaks, but had to run away to avoid my claws!

The grassy drainage back to the trailhead

After driving up to almost Cinnamon Pass to retrieve Graham's Jeep, it was back to the gathering. A fellow cougar grilled me up some steak, after I polished off my pound of burgers. A happy contented and purring kitten with a food baby.

Nick grilling bacon

Cougar and the steak challenge (photo: Ryan)

Contented and full cougar by the warm fire

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 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51

Comments or Questions
Looks like fun except...
10/10/2018 2:21pm
...there is probably only one thing worse than a 3:30 a.m. wake up on a cold, dark morning: Being awoken at 3:30 a.m. wake up on a cold, dark morning by OTINA. The very thought makes me want to stop what I'm doing, crawl back into my bed, and cry out, "Make it stop! Make it stop!" LOL. Congrats guys. It looks cold.

10/10/2018 4:20pm
Jim - You're just sad that I can't call you cougar bait, since you're older than me

This is
10/10/2018 5:11pm
the funniest report I've read in awhile! Vadim and I hiked the 4-pack last October in the opposite direction without the shuttle and he asked to be featured in the TR, but I was too lazy to put anything out. Besides, without a spin like you did, there's not much to say about the peaks. And I think you'll be happy not adding Every and Cooper Creek to this outing as we found the ridge between them rather involved and tedious. I'd also recommend starting from Sun/Red TH, as it took awhile to get up it from Cooper Creek drainage. Don't be fooled by Ben's cheetah speed times, he just makes everying look easy and short, when it wasn't

Love your reports, O!
10/10/2018 9:00pm
Thanks for sharing them!

Glad you found it funny
10/12/2018 12:17pm
Natalie - There is a reason why these were the last peaks to be done in the region. Between finding out one guy was half my age and that shot of the 4 split up, was when I came up with the concept for the TR. Ben is a speed beast, so I donĂ¢‚¬„¢t tend to pay too close attention.

Doug - I try to make them fun, if possible.

Nice report and pics
10/13/2018 6:43am
Looks like a great day!
Love the panos, particularly #8,21,42

I guess
10/14/2018 11:33am
seem too young to be a cougar but I did not look up the definition...

sorry I did not see you, had to leave Saturday, it turned out to be a nice day though where I was at, it looked like it could be nice or really snowing depending on where you were at that day as I looked out across the range

thanks for the like

10/15/2018 11:33am
nyker - Just iPhone pano's, but they make photo processing after the hike much easier!

piper14er - Yes, I'm old enough... Here's the feline scale. Glad your trip worked out, never thought to come from the Wetterhorn side! Might have to try it myself one fall gathering

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