Thursday, July 25, 2013

Mount Flora

Mount Flora Summit
After a two day break it was time for another summit.  Unfortunately the weather has really turned to crap.  The forecast was for 60% chance of rain/thunderstorms after noon with winds in the 20’s and gusts of 30mph.  Well, those conditions are perfect…yeah right.  I met Brian at the TRex lot at 6am, and it was already raining …things are looking up..
Mount Flora starts from Berthound Pass on the Continental Divide Trail (CDT).  From Denver drive I-70 West to HWY 40, taking exit 233.  Follow HWY 40 up the windy switchback road till you arrive at Berthound Pass where there is a large parking lot.  We arrived in the cool frigid air, but the good news is that it was not raining.  Brian and I were previously up here in the late winter to climb CO Mines Peak, which starts from this same TH.  We were planning a Mount Flora and Breckinridge Peak hike when we left the TH around 7am.
Clouds Early in the Morning
I left the car with a light fleece on and shorts.  If I had better thought my clothing I would have worn pants, but I didn’t feel like changing.  Fog was covering the parking area and we knew we were going to get wet, it was just a matter of time.
The CDT starts at the main gate heading up a utility road.  As you can see in the GPS Track, follow the road for the first couple switchbacks then there will be a sign where the CDT splits off the main utility road.  From the parking lot it is a little under a mile to the trail sign of Mount Flora and Breckinridge Peak.  After the sign it is all trail to the summit, so a very nice class 1 hike.  Maybe half mile up the trailed section I started feeling a lot of moisture in the air, so we pulled out our rain gear for the remainder of the hike.  As we got closer to the saddle in-between CO Mines and Flora the wind picked up as did the rain.
The Mountains on the Way Down
The weather was coming in pretty hard and I really wished I had gloves at this point.  Lucky the sleeves on my jacket are long so I was able to cover up my hands with those.  It was a slow couple miles and at one point Brian had about had it with the weather, but we decided to move on up the mountain.  I figured since there was no thunder and lightning a little rain and wind wasn’t going to turn me back.  After all, what else was I going to do today?  Without too much suffering we finally made it up to the wide open summit.  There are some very large cairns leading to the true summit.  I noticed they kind of got bigger the closer that we got.  Once I confirmed with my GPS we were on the summit of Mount Flora we found a wind shelter to hunker down into.
I tried to snap a few pictures of the conditions, but I didn’t want to damage my camera so I only got a couple while in the midst of the storm.  After a few snacks we decided to bail on Breckinridge Peak and head back to the parking lot.  My fingers were starting to numb up so I put my trekking poles away and had to pocket my hands since I didn’t have gloves.  I guess this boy scout was not prepared today.  After about 10-15minutes feeling was back and I was good to go.  It was a nice hike down along the trail.  We ran into three people and one dog heading up.  I was surprised to see anyone else would be hiking in this weather, but I guess I shouldn’t be shocked since we were there.
Me and Brian on the Summit
Once dropping down from the main saddle the weather subsided and we were only in foggy conditions.  We took our time down and just followed the main road we used on the ascent.  The hike down progressively got warmer and we found ourselves at the car around 10:30am.  Brian didn’t disappoint with the beers.  He brought some Chicago native Old Style and there we sat in the parking lot drinking our beers as all the tourists sat there and taking photos of us.  The beer was pretty tasty, maybe next time Brian will bring up a deep dish pizza too!  Looks like James Peak on Monday assuming weather is decent.  Get out and climb some mountains.
GPS Track
Date: 7/25/2013
Starting Elevation: 11,307ft
Mount Flora summit: 13,146ft
Total Gained Elevation: 1,875ft
Class: 1
Distance: 6.33 miles
Time: 2:52 moving, 0:35 stopped. 
Climbing Partner: Brian

No comments:

Post a Comment