Peak(s):  South Arapaho Pk  -  13,397 feet
Date Posted:  11/04/2007
Date Climbed:   11/04/2007
Author:  Aubrey

 South Arapaho Peak  

After a night of good old fashioned drinkin', we slept in late this morning. And that extra hour from Daylight Savings was a bonus. Still, after eating and lollygagging, it wasn't until almost lunchtime when we realized what a beautiful day it was, and that we didn't want to waste it being homebodies. So we kicked out the DeLorme ... and decided to give South Arapaho Peak a try. I've been wanting to climb it for a long time.

The road up to the 4th of July trailhead was clear of snow. It did have a few packed-ice sections but they didn't cause any problems. Temps were cool but not cold. We started up the trail late, quarter to 1 p.m., but that's the great thing about fall -- no afternoon storms to worry about (usually).

We made good time up the first portion of the trail. There were some icy and snowy sections but they were short and easy to cross. At one point we passed a couple guys on their way down. I didn't hear it, but Jen thought one of them said my name ... had I known I would've stopped 'em and chatted for a bit. Was it someone on here?

Some sections of the trail were pretty icy. But like Chazz Michael Michaels, I bring my blades with me everywhere ... so I just ice skated up the trail (and I did a triple axle lindy over a rock, BTW). Jen, on the other hand, took her sweet, careful time:


Shortly after the turn-off (before the 4th of July Mine), the wind really started to pick up. As we ascended we added layers. The wind was vicious.

For those of you that are curious about Skywalker Couloir, here's a shot taken on the way up:


... and here's one taken on the way down:


We kept pushing upward in the whipping wind (consistently 20-30 mph). Gusts must've been between 40 and 50 ... enough to cause us to fight for our balance. And my pack acted like a sail and kept twisting me one way or the other. At one point a wind burst almost ripped my sunglasses off my face. It was crazy.

Most of the snow was pretty firm and/or packed. However, I did posthole up to my shins a few times. Gaiters would've been helpful. At least I had my poles, which came in handy for balance when the wind blew hard.

Here's looking back at Arapaho Pass:


Jen, with South Arapaho Peak behind her:


Some more shots as we continued up:




We gained the summit at 3:15. Here are a few quick shots that I took:




We didn't spend much time on the summit. Jen waited while I scrambled over to take a pic of the traverse. As I crawled over the summit rocks (with that neat marker), the wind was blowing so hard I had to crawl on all fours. I didn't want to get blown over and onto the Arapaho Glacier.

The climb had taken longer -- and took more out of us -- than we anticipated. Wind can be a bitch, as it forces you to use all sorts of stabilizer/balance muscles that you wouldn't normally.

We knew that it would be getting dark soon so we set off back down the mountain. The wind, by the way, was still relentlessly fierce. It just never let up. It wasn't until we got back down to the trees when we finally got some relief. Then I slipped on some ice and smacked my tailbone ... and I kind of pulled a tricep trying to catch myself. I could give two craps less about bruises; I was just glad I didn't twist an ankle or something.

A few minutes after 5 p.m. we were back at the parking lot. Just in time, as darkness was setting in fast.

Now I gotta get back to some more drinkin' so that I can finally kill this hangover.

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

 Comments or Questions

I like your style.
02/05/2011 00:22
Climbing hungover, only to finish up and then go back for round 2. How was Kilimanjaro? I never heard about it. Nice trip report.


plane crashes
11/30/2010 17:28
Your trip report brought back memories of when I hiked that area back in the early 70's. There were 2 airplane crashes near the pass at that time. I believe 1 was just below the pass and 1 was on the mountain or ridge to the south. I even explored in the Fourth of July Mine. I probably would never do that again. Thanks for the report.


Hung Over South Arapaho
11/06/2007 04:38
I feel your pain. I did South Arapaho after more wine that I care to admit a while ago...I think I experienced some ”altitude sickness” that day.

   Using your forum id/password. Not registered? Click Here

Caution: The information contained in this report may not be accurate and should not be the only resource used in preparation for your climb. Failure to have the necessary experience, physical conditioning, supplies or equipment can result in injury or death. and the author(s) of this report provide no warranties, either express or implied, that the information provided is accurate or reliable. By using the information provided, you agree to indemnify and hold harmless and the report author(s) with respect to any claims and demands against them, including any attorney fees and expenses. Please read the Safety and Disclaimer pages for more information.

© 2017®, 14ers Inc.