Colorado 14er Chart

Colorado 14er Chart

Cozy in my -20 rated sleeping bag, snoozed an extra hour past the 4am iPhone alarm.  Woke energized, rested – result of the night’s cold air/cozy sleeping/early lights-out combination.

Layered up, head lamp on, rucksack ready.  Last 14er climb of 2015 – pumped/excited to check off Massive, [continental] USA peak #3. Roundtrip 15 miles, 4000ft vertical gain – tough day ahead.  Gotta believe this is excellent cross-training for Fall marathon season 🙂

Hit the trail hard, pushed UP the first 2 miles of forest in under an hour.  Crossed South Willow Creek (10,900ft), a mile later Willow Creek (11,000ft) – daybreak now peaking thru towering lodgepole pines.  Zigzagged thru willow thickets, enjoying morning sunshine – gained another 500ft vertical…over 12,000ft [elevation] now, hiking above tree-line.

Next mile-half was the day’s most arduous – lotta wind, no sun, clouds emptied/pelleted snow.  Tough hilly ascent – vertical climb of 1500ft from Grassy Point (12,466ft) to the Saddle (13,900ft).

Up to now, today’s trek had solely been athletic.  At the Saddle, stopped & soaked in landscape – I felt God.  Wind blew, sunshine returned; caught first glimpse of the immense 14er valley on the west side of the ridge line.  WOW!

Straight ahead, a wall of rock – online post stated nothing worse than Class 2.  Hand over hand, scrambled over boulder face UP to the false summit (14,132ft).  Crazy beautiful real estate – every step along the ridge line, high in the clouds.

Descended a few hundred feet before re-ascending nearby Mount Massive.  SUMMIT SUCCESS!  Dropped behind a wall of rock, shielded from blowing wind, breathed in the thin air.  Downed a KIND bar, stood tall & snapped summit pics.

Whatta life, my heart is full.  Today I stand in the clouds.

 

Mt Massive summit clip

 

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