Haven't been out in the wild much this summer due to this doctor business. But we had an exam last Friday and a couple of days off this week AND the kids are at g-ma's house...so LET"S DO THIS!
Put on the climbing recruiting/guide hat and invited my PT class for a hike up Gray's Peak last week. We went Saturday and had a great time. Six flatlanders who had never climbed a 14er before to the top! AND I think I scored a few converts out of it. heh. Not that Gray's is AT ALL awesome, but it's a good starter peak and I figured people could still get up to the top even if they felt crappy - and it was true. Then we stopped at BeauJo's in Idaho Springs for some Mountain Pie and Tommyknocker Brewery's finest. Maple Nut Brown...mmmm. Want some more please. Prolly get some on the way home Saturday.
Once I saw these days off SANS KIDS I instantly started pulling gruesome climbs out of the book for Chad and I to do on our free days. This was not met with the same level of enthusiasm from Chad, who was my victim, er, climbing partner. He was with the kids for Thursday through Sunday back in MI/OH so he had clearly lost some red blood cells. He was not about to sign up for a "becky special" two days after he came home. SO..Tuesday was the "training run" and this upcoming weekend is the "becky special".
I am quite satisfied to say that I have climbed Mount Elbert 11 times now. Chad had 0. I let him pick a Sawatch climb and that's what he chose. The routine is quite rehearsed and simple: get up at 2am, drive to Leadville, start hiking at sunrise. Got it. I had been averaging about 4 hours of sleep for the prior 10 days. He had just come home from the Armpit. The weather forecast was not good. Whatever, let's go. If I got a dumptruck full of newbies up there in my guiding days, I can get us up there in sad shape.
We began at 5:30am, the crack of dawn. I know that mountain like the back of my hand, so we took the East Ridge Route. It's so much nicer than the NE ridge where all the tourists go to suffer. It's just under 8 miles and about 4,500 vertical climb. It was SO good to be up there. It's like the normal wash cycle for my soul which as always is drawn to the mountains but cannot ever get enough time there. If I could swing it I'd never come back down. The sunrise was gorgeous.
It had rained earlier in the morning and he forest smelled delicious. The wildflowers were in full bloom. We felt good. I felt great. I feel like my body is built for this sport. I do enough of the fast and furious stuff with taequando and soccer. Climbing is an enjoyable low level boil with occasional bursts of kick-ass. It felt so great to get my body moving vertically! (Gray's was vertical but I honestly never even broke a sweat) This is what it's all about, yo! We got to around 14,000 and the clouds descended on the summit and it started to drizzle. While we were a little bummed about the fact we were not going to get the 360 summit view, we were happy that we were just in time to beat the weather by summiting soon and getting busy descending before the heat of the day kicked up the thunderheads. We topped out in 3 hours, by 8:30. We were pretty impressed with ourselves given our current state. Guess doing all those masochistic becky specials is good for something. It's nice to say that the tallest mountain in the state is just a walk in the park!
We stayed on top about a half hour eating and chatting with people from the NE ridge who were starting to trickle in. Got a little cold, so we did a little of our pole-running downhill and then decided to take it easy since we were out of weather danger quickly and didn't need to crank and ankle. Back to the car at 10:40. Not too bad at all. Relaxing and Supa-fun! Then we ate at the Golden Burro in Leadville. They have some really good breakfast burro-itos for $8 which I hadn't tried before since I don't think I've ever arrived to eat in Leadville after a hike while breakfast is still being served.
Now to the Becky special: SNOWMASS! YES, it's FINALLY happening and the right way too! We will be backpacking 8 miles in to Snowmass Lake tomorrow, resting up and doing a little fishing in the lake, then climbing the snowfield (my favorite) hopefully to summit on Saturday morning early. Although it is very sad that a fellow 14er climber died shortly after summiting a few days ago due to some unlucky rockfall, we have decided to go anyway and we will say a little prayer for him and his family when we summit. RIP Sean Wylam
I am so excited. I don't care if it rains or snows or if sasquatch visits camp in the middle of the night. We don't get to do things without stressful logistics for the kids very often and this outdoor suffering together is our idea of some perfect quality time. Well, if you ask Chad he may say it should involve less physical suffering and more Harry Potter movie. But he's wrong. I am going to smuggle a bottle of wine up in my pack with a few candles (headlamp doesn't quite give off the same ambiance) and make a well-earned date out of it. I think some skinny dipping could conceivably happen if the wine flows since that is when I tend have my best ideas and be the most persuasive...Boy, I'm a high maintenance date. Get it? BWAH ha ha hA! shit.
Will report when we get back. Hopefully delightfully exhausted with some great pics.
Live like rockstars while I"m gone people...make me proud!