The weather in Colorado has been driving me nuts. Every day I work the weather is good, then the days I have off I'm lucky to get one good day. For the last two days the high country has been getting snow and wind. When I climb solo I don't climb in such conditions, so I had to sit at home twiddling my thumbs till the weather turned.
I had these two peaks on my radar since I climbed Mt Sniktau. If I was a real go-getter, I would have combined all three...but that's just crazy talk. Grizzly Mountain and Cupid are both ranked 13ers, so my total of 13ers is up to three now. During my down time I got all my gear ready to roll so I could get an early start. I set off on the trail at Loveland Pass just before 8:30am and there wasn't any other cars in the lot yet.
Ive been up this first 800ft gain before so I knew what to expect. Just this time the trail was covered in snow. I didn't bring my snowshoes because I didn't think they would be that much help..not when your as big as me. The powder was dry and soft, much different from the snow in Oregon and Washington. There was hardly any wind in the morning and I was only sinking to ankle and at points calf level, so this wasn't so bad. I was still huffing and puffing though, still not close to the shape I want to be in for the mountains.
Once on the main ridge, there was a roller coaster affect taking place. A lot of gain and loss getting to the peaks. I typically don't like this, and this time was no different. Cupid was on the way to Grizzly, but instead of hitting Cupid during the beginning I saved it for the way back. Grizzly was the real goal for this hike. After I passed Cupid the snow got deeper and I was commonly sinking to knee level. I tried to use surrounding rocks as much as I could like steps on the incline then I would plunge-step in the snow on the decline. It worked for the most part, but I was still panting like a dog up there. I could see clearly into the Arapahoe Basin Ski Area and they weren't running yet, so that let me know I was making good time considering everything.
When I got to the base of the last push for Grizzly I took a break. I knew it was going to be a brutal 600ft climb so I needed to refuel. The view everywhere was amazing, the sky was crystal blue with not a cloud in sight. Almost perfect for climbing. Unfortunately there was a breeze and my break spot and not a good place to find wind block. I made it quick, and was on my way up the bear.
I'm not sure how long this part took me, but it seemed like an eternity. There was decent snow coverage, and If I got off the beaten trail I sank deep. Normally a class 2 climb, with me it turned into a class 3. The footing was less than stellar, but I just made my way up with lots of breathing breaks. Just before 11am I was on the summit. The view of Torreys and Grays were amazing. Some people will add Torreys for a 10mile day...no way Jose! I enjoyed the view for about 30minutes and started down.
I was not looking forward to the down climb, but the snow was better than I thought. It was good for plunge-stepping and I was able to avoid most of the snow covered rock. I ran into another climber at the base of Grizzly, he looked like he had things under control. I took a long break since the wind was gone before the push back up the roller coaster.
After a lot of time I finally made it to the base of Cupid. I just followed my tracks and made it to Cupids summit in no time. While sitting on Cupid in a little wind break I noticed this trail runner coming my way..wearing shorts and running shoes. He was going to run all the way up Torreys, crazy but doesn't surprise me in Colorado. The rest of the way down was uneventful, took advantage of the snow and in no time I was back to the car park.
Was another great day in the mountains. This one took everything I had today. One day it won't be so hard, but till that day come I will slog up the mountains and still enjoy every minute of it.
Starting Elevation: 11,993ft
Summit Elevation: 13,446ft (Grizzly), 13,140ft (Cupid)
Total Elevation Gain: 2,164ft (Due to roller coaster)
Time: 6hrs car to car
Grizzly: Wind Speed 13.3mph, temp 30F
Cupid: Wind Speed 12.4mph, temp 32F