Mt. Elbert Sunrise Bike Descent

I’d hoped to do this last summer, but schedules just never worked out. Everything came together this past weekend though – no one was busy with other plans, good weather was in the forecast (save a bit of wind), and there was a mostly-full moon.

Originally, we were going to start pretty early in the morning and finish up mid-day. I half-jokingly suggested to Andrew that we just do it overnight, summit at sunrise, and finish up early. After thinking about it for a minute, the overnight plan made a lot of sense – not having to wake up at 2am is always nice, and we’d miss the hordes of mid-day hikers by being off the mountain before most of them even started.

Photo by Brian Pearson
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Hiking Huron

The weather has been extremely conducive to late-season hiking this year, with above average temperatures and a near-total lack of precipitation. With the weather on our side, Lauren and I continued on our quest to hike all of Colorado’s 14ers together yesterday morning with an ascent of Mt. Huron. After an early wake-up call at home, we pulled in to the parking lot shortly before 6:30, finding the “Gurlz Hike” about to get underway (though they were hiking La Plata Peak). The walk along the 4WD road to the trailhead was quick enough, and offered beautiful views of the surrounding peaks under an early-morning alpenglow.

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Moon-lit, Midnight Hike of Torreys and Grays

Lauren and I were planning on adding to our (admittedly short, at this point – 6/58 at the time of this writing) list of 14ers that we’ve done together this morning with a hike of Grays and Torreys. I’ve done this a few times before (4 summits of each, 3 times doing them as a combo), and they’re generally packed, easy, and uneventful in the summer and fall. The plan changed last night at about 9:45, when I was thinking about starting to prepare to get ready for bed; I knew I had to if we were going hiking early in the morning, but I really just wanted to stay up and have some coffee. Then it dawned on me – full moon, clear skies, and gentle winds were in the forecast. Why not go NOW? Continue reading

The Decalibron!

Sometimes schedules, weather, and motivation all align to make a trip happen, and yesterday was one of those days – exactly four years to the day after my first attempt at this route. The weather was still breezy, but far nicer, warmer, drier, and sunnier than last time.

Through a few conversations, Lauren and I decided it would be fun to try to hike, climb, or ski all the 14ers together. I’m going to have a few repeats (I was at 16/58 yesterday morning), but that’s alright – most of the repeats will be good ski descents, which I’m always up for.

Though the original plan was to camp up there, last minute schedule changes nixed that. Instead, we loaded up the car the night before. The next morning, I checked my phone and saw a comment from Lauren during a quick stop on the way to Kite Lake, and had to reply.

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Fast Times on Longs Peak

I would have posted this sooner, but things have been busy. I’ve also been dealing with the loss of a friend, who died while skiing alone in RMNP this past weekend.

Last Friday night, I went to bed extremely early, planning to get up around 11pm. Instead, I was up at 9pm, unable to sleep any longer. I was getting ready for my annual Longs hike, with a much larger group than normal this time – Nate, Matt, Hans, Ryan, Alan, and myself. We all met up and drove to the trailhead, getting started on the hike shortly after 1:30am.

It was incredibly foggy down low, and the six of us had red headlamps, making for a fairly creepy train of hikers in the night. After our break at the bottom of the Boulder Field, we essentially broke in to two groups, the lead group being Nate, Matt, and myself. I started to slow in the Trough, while Nate and Matt, well-recovered but still trained from their race in May, powered on ahead. The four of us (I ran in to a guy named Caleb and we hiked up the rest of the way together) topped out about 5:30am, a good 15 minutes before sunrise.

It really was beautiful up there – moreso than usual, due to the undercast. Continue reading

Geohashing Pendleton Mountain

First, I would like to thank xkcd for coming up with a phenomenal Spontaneous Adventure Generator. For those who would like details on how it works, look here; for those who just want the gist, it basically takes your location, the date, and the value of the Dow Jones Industrial Average at its most recent opening, encodes the values, and then converts that to new coordinates. This means that for every single day, you’ll get a randomized location that’s reasonably close to you, and with the exception of weekends, there’s no way to know where it is in advance.

Yesterday morning I saw this post, which led to research, and which led further to realizing that geohashing is a legitimate way to kill some time, and that there are tools out there to make it easier to determine the day’s location. I found that West Denver’s location for today (Denver is split into two major areas because of the way the process works) was about 5 minutes from the top of a mountain. This mountain turns out to be called Pendleton, and there is zero information about it out there, which isn’t surprising since it’s “only” at 12,275′. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in CO, it’s that once you get down below 14,000′, no one seems to care anymore. After hours of planning, I found a route that would work, though no trail was expected. I was able to convince Nate to come along for this boondoggle, and picked him up at 7am.

An hour and a half later, we were starting from Guanella Pass Road, a few miles from the road closure (which has been closed for several months now, due to a rock slide). This is the view from the car, with nary a trail or road in sight.

Nate was characteristically excited to get started.

I was just glad to be out in the mountains. There’s not much like a mountain boondoggle to clear your head.

For a while we were practically crawling, as it was steep, fairly loose, and full of underbrush.

It made for some decent photos at least.

Aaaaannd…more bushwhacking.

Eventually things started to open up a little, though not entirely.

This pipe was riveted together from sheet metal. Unreal.

After more trudging through the snow and downed trees, we at last hit treeline.

My GPS’ compass was acting weird, which led to a bit of meandering through the alpine tundra.

At long last, the point was reached. Note that the elevation shown is off; the correct elevation is roughly 12,135′.

Hero shot!

The summit of Pendleton Mountain was only a few hundred feet away, so off we went; and a minute or two later, we were there. The register was much like the one I found on Mount Goliath a few years ago, a simple mason jar left by Gerry Roach. This one was left in 2006, with fewer than 10 people checking in since.

It’s ok, we’re from the internet.

America’s finest beer, two non-consecutive years over a spread of 114 years.

I can say with near-certainty that no one has ever had pants as bright as mine on this mountain.

What separates cool, historic structures from old crap? If it’s fallen down, it’s old crap.

There are apparently no photos from much farther down, as we were just wanting to get down and back to the car. We followed a trail for a while, but eventually had to bushwhack down the steep, loose crap that we had to fight our way up through. It certainly was a boondoggle, but what an adventure!