Monday, January 21, 2013

Pegmatite Points

Pegmatite Points
Tomorrow classes start, so today is in a way my last day of freedom.  What better way to spend it than a nice climb in the mountains of Colorado.  Since it was a holiday Brian was able to join me and we decided to climb the Pegmatite Points.  The nice part of this selection is the drive was just over an hour so we could sleep in till 6am.  We met at the Meyer Ranch Parking Lot at 7:30 and made our way to the main Deer Creek TH by 8:30.

The temp was warm at the parking lot and I was already shedding layers; this was a nice change.  We took a bit longer than usual getting geared up since we both were figuring out how to tie on our snow shoes to our packs.  I’m guessing by 9am we were finally off on the trail.  The trail for the whole day was all snow covered and hard packed, so micro spikes were all we needed for traction.  Since our start was later than usual my stomach was ready for fuel rather quickly.  Within the first mile I was already digging into my Cliff Shots and Trail Mix.  After a quick bite I felt much better and continued my slow jont up the trail.

Frozen Creek
Tanglewood Creek was a pretty neat area, and new to the both of us.  You cross what would be creek water a few times on frozen ice.  The ice was thick and had a nice glaze to it; this is where the micro spikes really came in handy.  I could hear the wind howling away but within the trees we were well protected from the chills to be found later in the day.  Most of the day I had no gloves on and was able to sport my ball cap all day.  As Brian was making a shoe change I went ahead of him into the switchback section.  The switchbacks were so mellow that it didn’t feel like I was gaining, but I actually was.  Within the next mile the trees started to fade and the upper slopes of the mountain finally opened up.

I came to a nice open area in the sun and took my pack off just as Brian caught up with me.  It was a good time for a break so I had some summer sausage and a Gatorade before the final push up to the summit.  The snow looked inviting for my snowshoes so I decided to detach them from my bag.  After all I carried them all this way so I may as well use them.  I have the MSR Ascents with the heel lift and this would be my first time using them.  I was very impressed; it was almost like walking up stairs flat footed.  There was about 300ft to gain to the saddle and Brian was up there waiting just below for me.  I ditched the shoes and we were off to the Points.

Denver from the Summit
The wind was crazy, the forecast called for up to 40mph gusts, but I think the winds were a constant 50+mph.  I’m about 275pounds and the wind was blowing me around like a rag doll at times.  There isn’t many things worse than the beating you get from the wind.  Lucky for us it wasn’t cold, so it wasn’t that bad.  It took us a long while to make our way across the ridge to the summit, but eventually we made it and we were both exhausted.  I was able to get a few pictures looking into Denver then we headed back to our gear stash.

It was a tough hike back to the saddle, we had to search for our stashed poles and found them after a bit of wandering around.  At one point the wind blew off my Oregon Ducks hat and I thought it was gone for sure.  Luckily it was only about 100yrds away; that would have been disappointing to lose since it’s been on about 100 summits with me.  On the way down to our packs I marveled at the trees, I guess that’s why they call it Tanglewood Creek.

After a much needed Snickers and some water we loaded up and were on our way back to the TH.  We both thought we would only be in for 6-7miles and at this point we knew it would be around 9.  That made my knees sore just thinking about it.  The good thing was the soft snow wasn’t so hard on my knees, so the going down was pretty fast.  When we made it to Brian’s boot stash he had a hell of a time getting his gear stowed in a comfortable manner, but eventually got it all worked out.  We made it back to the car around 3:30pm, which felt like good time to me.  The day was tough but we got through in one piece.  I hope to get out next weekend, but I guess school will come first and I’m not sure I’m ready for that.
GPS Track

Date: 1/21/2013
Starting Elevation: 9,280ft
Pegmatite Points Summit: 12,180ft
Total Gained Elevation: 2,900ft
Distance: 9.19miles
Time: 4:54 moving, 1:57 stopped. 
Climbing Partner: Brian

No comments:

Post a Comment