Peak(s):  Mt. Lincoln  -  14,286 feet
Date Posted:  03/29/2010
Date Climbed:   03/29/2010
Author:  Bean
 Blown Off Mt. Lincoln   

Today's summit attempt, unfortunately, was one of failure. That's not always a bad thing, though. I usually don't write anything about failed climbs, but today is a little different. It was just one of those days.

First off, the (small) cast of characters. Wesley:

and myself:

After oversleeping by 40 minutes and incorrectly setting the coffee machine (good thing I cooked the bacon last night!), I scrambled and raced to meet Wesley in Golden for the uneventful drive up to Montgomery Reservoir. We got started about 8:20, blazing our own way through some willows followed by steep trees. Yes, there's a person in this photo.

Once we got in the trees, we found a sketchy snowpack. So sketchtowne, in fact, that I managed to trigger several large collapses, one of which visibly shook a tree. Fortunately we had stuck to lower-angle terrain, so there was no realistic chance of an avalanche. Looks like nothing steep for at least a couple more weeks.

As we worked through the trees, we noticed that the wind was substantially stronger than the 8-10mph forecasted. As evidence, I submit the following photograph:

There was some pretty steep sidehilling at a couple points:

Fortunately, there were some solid anchors scattered about:

Later in the day, there would be plumes 500 feet tall rising off the peaks, along with 200' wide snownados working their way along the ridges. We remained unaware of the misery ahead, and so we pressed on. Being the highly-traveled route that it is, we worked our way higher, until we climbed a tree to keep moving.

We found a gully that would get us on our way towards the top, and took a break when I found a spot that seemed mysteriously protected from the wind, even though it was out in the open. I should've known better than to continue on from this point, as a sudden gust came up as we were sitting down that damn-near sent my pack down the hill. Nonetheless, upward and onward we went.

A while later, my favorite sun hat was blown off my head, down the mountain. Wesley tried to catch it, to no avail. So if anyone finds a gray Outdoor Research sun bucket up in the middle of nowhere near Mt. Lincoln, shoot me a line. We fought the wind to 13,000', and had to turn around. We probably could have made it, but it was absolutely miserable, and the sudden gusts reminded me of a poster's story about being hit by a gust of wind, lifted up into the air, and slammed back down in an instant. After a little discussion, we decided it was time to go.

After skiing down a narrow gully for a couple minutes, I saw Wesley down in the snow. I waited, and he got up and slowly skied down holding his poles in one hand. This day had claimed another piece of equipment.

No worries though, as there were trees not far below us, ready to be made into makeshift poles!

The skiing from here back down to the reservoir was surprisingly great. I triggered another collapse at one point (a pretty big one), but again, terrain management kept things safe. Now, here are a few shots of Wesley steezing it up with the treepole:

And me, enjoying the surprisingly-great snow:

Today could have gone better, but it was still fun. Sure, some gear was lost and broken, but we still had fun, and hopefully have the failure for the year behind us. A few pics of me coming later.

 Comments or Questions

02/05/2011 00:22
...I'm not the only guy that carries a Corsa? Isn't that a sweet, light-weight axe! Only wish it came in a little longer size.

Nice work up there, gents! I enjoyed the TR and photos.

Sweet turns in there, too. : )



11/30/2010 17:28
I like the tree pole, man. Looks like you had good skiing after all though. Can't say I haven't been weathered off of Lincoln either - the wind sucks up there. Oh well - I enjoyed the read


05/02/2011 14:23
Other than being a little too flexible, that tree branch did prove useful on the descent. I think we should wait until the Russian is safe before heading up that way again though. Nice TR Bean.


03/30/2010 02:49
I‘m not a skier so your trip report gets me excited for all the fine vicarious living that is about to come. That season is almost here. I remember reading about the wild climbs and descents from last year, and I hope to see more of the same this year from all of the skiers. Thanks for posting!


03/30/2010 14:44
you guys had to turn back but nice job showing good judgment. Cameron can always wait for another day. Carl I love the improv with the tree pole, good show fellas.


03/30/2010 15:07
Sweet ski pole!!!


nice pole!
03/30/2010 02:05
looks like a good day out - regardless of the weather, snowpack, and equipment issues.

good work, and thanks for posting!


Gotta love the improv pole!
04/05/2010 15:52
I‘ve been in that area a few times and once also experienced incredible, knock-you-off-your-feet winds. Funny how the Amphitheater does that. Anyway, cool ski shots!

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