After 2 previous unsuccessful attempts, SUMMIT SUCCESS on Saturday — our 5th 14er of the summer!

In March I did not realize the road to Evans would be closed.  9 miles (one-way) to Summit Lake through high winds and huge snowdrifts iced over by our bright Colorado sun – the latter ultimately thwarting my summit attempt.  In August, no excuses, no unfinished business.

Arrived early, packed appropriately, paid our park fee and started the day hike at Summit Lake (road to Mt Evans open through Labour Day). Pulled on a sweatshirt while gearing up: low 60’s with a breeze – EXCELLENT day for hike!  Knew in my heart: temp’s gonna be 50’s at Summit maybe even 40’s.  No snow flying yet but still…couldn’t hike this day without a huge smile on a face.

The start of the hike was surprisingly vertical, no 2 mile jaunt through forest — elevation already over 13,000 feet.  Found initial breathing laboured while acclimating to the altitude but 33 weeks into 2012, my body’s ready for 14ers.  Passed a few hikers (good to see folks on the trail) and proceeded to Mt Spaulding after a few extended stares at Summit Lake.  So clear, so serene up high…crazy amazing beauty. Again, hard not to get all spiritual in my posts – just so divinely perfect/balanced.  WOW moment!

From the parking area at Summit Lake, go north past the rock shelter house to the north end of the lake and locate the trail that climbs up Spalding’s east ridge. Follow the trail through the rocks and stay below the ridge line in order to bypass more difficult terrain to the summit of Mt Spalding. From the top of Spalding follow cairns south down to the Evans/Spalding saddle, continue south toward the end of the west ridge. Follow cairns to a notch before the large hump near the end of the ridge. Drop to the right and follow the trail to the east. The trail stays below the ridge for most of the remaining hike to the summit.

Consistent with 30% of this year’s hikes, I lost the trail during the ‘cairn following’ section.  Cairns are piles of rocks — that’s it, no more. You’re hiking through boulder fields and looking for ‘piles of rocks’ – clearly I’m not comprehending.  Luckily, this day I spotted a fellow hiker less than a half-mile away and promptly righted my path.  Hoisted Ro twice as we navigated through the notch just past Evans/Spaulding saddle. Doesn’t matter how long we co-habitate, Ro hates being carried; assumes I’m gonna toss him thousands of feet to his canine death. Ro – I love ya man…it’s not gonna happen.  LOL>

Upon approaching summit, we are joined by tens of ‘cheaters’ – those who drove to the top of Evans and parked near the observatory.  That said, more than happy to share the view; awesome to see so many people enjoying our Colorado outdoors.

Wildlife check this hike – marmots (of course), mule deer, big horn sheep and mountain goats.  LOVE LOVE LOVE my Colorado life!

 

Mount Evans (summit video)

 

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