Peak(s):  Bison - 12,431 feet
Date Posted:  04/04/2010
Modified:  08/15/2010
Date Climbed:   04/04/2010
Author:  LIV

 Bison - crawling up the mountain  

Bison -- I had heard about the beauty of this mountain and decided to plan a meetup with Fierce Planet Adventures for an early spring summit of the peak. I chose this mountain for the low avy danger and the south to north trail.

10 people joined me today, including, in no particular order, Dima, Senad, Mark, Len, Jason, Kristi, Hillary, Andy, Gary and Rachel.

Each was very fit, and everyone was ready for the 12-mile roundtrip challenge.

We left Denver at The Fort parking lot at 5 a.m. We planned to meet up at the Jefferson convenience store, which we did prior to driving the rough-paved 2 land road 3 miles beyond Tarryall Reservoir. On our way, some of us witnessed a huge (this was a big thing) green colored meteor that was so close to earth. It really was an amazing sight.

We arrived at the trailhead, and began our preparations to hike.0ImageImage We were on the trail by 7:15 a.m. We passed the Lost Creek Wilderness sign and continued upward. The slope was relatively mild, and we made good timeImage.

Now, I have to take a break in this trip report to say that at the trailhead and driving into Tarryall Reservoir, there was less snow than in Denver. It was dry!!

So, needless to say at the trailhead, we all made the huge mistake of leaving our snowshoes (which we all had) in the cars. Well, I think on this after the fact, and truly believe it wouldn't have turned out to be the rather epic trip that it was, and none of us would have truly had the appreciation of the mountain that we eventually did if we would have had the snowshoes.

Given that, we continued up the trail and started encountering snow - and deeper snow prior to treeline.Image We finally reached the junction of of the Ute trail and the McCurdy Brookside trail . At that point, we started wallowing in the deep snow. We were postholing to our thighs and waist. It seemed like this was where all the snow had been deposited. We were reduced at times to crawling on our hands and knees to get through some of the deeper snow depositsImageImageImageImage.

As an aside, I have to give kudos to Gary for breaking trail through the deep snow, and Dima, Mark, Senad and others for seconding this grueling challenge. Those of us in the middle and the back so appreciated that there were steps and times that we knew there would be hugely deep steps to maneuver. Guys - you rock. Lesser mountaineeers would have called this. at this point. We continued on, due to Gary's enocouragement and I really have to say, the instincts of the group.

This group was comprised of proven mountaineers. We had Gary, the lead through the deep snow, Dima who had recently summited Orizaba, Senad - who was obviously top of his game in mountaineering, Mark, (he has some major youth on his side, along with a great mountaineering mind) Kristi and Hillary - two of the best mountaineering women I know, and Jason and Len who are solid and steady and great mountainering individuals, and Rachel, the newest member of this group -- who so proved herself today.

So we continued up the mountain, on hands and knees, or postholing at times. It was wearing on all of us, I think (even the two dogs), but we finally reached the Bison Arm. Such cool rock formations. It was very windy at that point, and all of our group hugged one of the biggest rock formations for shelter and we ate our lunch (including Andy's brownies, which he baked for the trip). Finally, as we started to pack up, and after a few "summit" photos, Dima, Mark, Senad, and Gary decided to cotninue on a short way to the monolith for some photos. The rest of the group chose to desend. We gave ourselves 30 minutes to catch up with the rest of the group on the desent. The monolith was amazing, but postholing again to get to it was not the experience we were liking. Along with the wind that lifted Juma, my dog, off his feet at times and sent him running back to the Bison Arm with amazing speed, we were ready to go down. What a great day.

Postholing back through the soft snow was really not as bad as coming up (surprisingly). We arrived back on solid ground and were down by 2:30 p.m. (12 miles later).

We ended the day at Three Margaritas where we all had a great "Easter" dinner and refuled prior to our drive home and eventual rest.

All of us had an absolute blast today. Comments on our meetup site included "snowshoes are for wimps" and "I never thought I would crawl to the top of a mountain" Too cool.

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

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