WELL, it wasn't totally a fail because we still did get some good altitude and weight-carrying acclimation in. Brainard Lake Road was closed. This is the road you have to drive up to get to the trailheads for this mountain range. I thought that this added 3 miles to your round trip, so we went in anyway. Turns out it's 3 miles EACH WAY to hike in to the trailheads. So, we were already planning on a 9-10 mile day...15-16 miles in a day above 10,000ft carrying snow gear, hiking/climbing IN snow, for your first trip of the season, let alone ANY trip of the season, is asking a lot. We pushed the limit last spring by hitting the Y on Pikes Peak for our first trip out. That was inhuman mileage and vertical for a pack-in two day trip. We maxed ourselves out on that one...and didn't want to do it again. Chad has a knee he's rehabbing and my elbow was achy from poling on the way up.
We also started late for a climb like this. Dropped the kids off at 6am and started hiking by about 7:45am. Late. SO, when we arrived at Lake Isabelle after hiking up 5 miles at about 10am and entered the jet stream (it was REALLY windy) with light rain and ominous clouds we called it. We had about 2.5 miles to go (blue line) of mostly technical climbing and we weren't up for it, especially if the weather was going to be crappy and/or risky. We ended up with about 10.5 miles and 1200 vertical feet. Sorta pitiful on the vertical...my quads barely even got fired up, but that distance with 35-40 lbs on our backs and in variable snow conditions was plenty for us that day. We may have pressed onward if the weather was great, but, meh..."that's why we live here". Just wait for a nice day to tackle it, and be happy and safe, right?
I know, I have about 15 shots just like this scattered throughout my blog, but oh well...who can get sick of it?
So the new plan is to go get fat at lose all altitude powers FIRST. THEN come back and hit up all the sweet snow climbs. Yeah, that's it...it's a plan. We'll come back to get this done first. I think the gate will open by the time we get back, and not walking 6 miles on a stupid road will help with energy and morale immensely. I only hope the dragontail on Meeker is still there when we get back. I think it might melt out over the week. That will be a bummer because I have wanted to go up it for YEARS. It was going to be distance and vertical training for our next big plan...Snowmass.
I only have to get Snowmass, S. Maroon and Little Bear and I'll be done with everything "easily" accessible. Culebra is on private land, is a PIA for such an easy mountain, so who knows when I'll do that. And then there's the San Juan range down by Telluride. That's going to require some longer overnight trips to get done. We may test the mettle on the Bells traverse again and possibly the Little Bear-Blanca traverse. That's got some class 5 on it, so we'll see how my rock jock skills shape up over the summer. Maybe some shorty trips up to the Flatirons are in order again to practice with Chad on the gear.
The new boots were great in the snow. Not great on the road. We both still had barkin' dogs on the way back. But the feet are always wooses in the springtime and when you're wearing mountaineering boots that do not bend at all, guess your feet are going to complain eventually no matter what...
The next time you hear from me, I'll probably be in a bikini and sipping a beverage on Crescent Beach, Florida! Wear sunglasses because the pics could be blinding, I am so white.