Monday, June 11, 2012

San Luis Peak

If I'm serious about finally climbing Longs Peak this summer, I needed to start training with some other "lesser" 14ers. Mountain man Josh Futterman thought San Luis Peak would be a good choice. So at 4:00 Saturday morning we hit the road.
It took us a little more than five hours to get there with a couple of stops.  By 9:40 we were ready to hit the trail, which Ginny helpfully examined for us.

A route report we read said there was a log cabin about two miles in.  It's a good thing we weren't counting on said cabin to provide any sort of shelter.

We played peek-a-boo with what we thought was the summit for a while.  Yes, that's foreshadowing.  No, I wasn't happy when we discovered that was yet another of Colorado's infamous false summits.

Josh insisted that I take this picture of him thoughtfully studying the (false) summit by a cairn on the trail.  So I did.

This fairly innocuous-looking stretch was easily my least favorite part of the hike.  It was pretty steep without many switchbacks.  No pictures were taken for a while after this.  I needed to focus on just making it to the top.

And eventually we did!  Josh, who has seen many more summit views than myself, couldn't stop raving about how great the conditions were and how far we could see.  He rattled off the names of most of the visible 14ers, which I promptly forgot.  Here's the view to the west.

And here's the view to the east.  Ginny held up much better than I did.

The obligatory shot of the USGS stamp, which at least provides evidence that my camera made it to the top.

We only saw seven other people on the trail, and four of them were at the top with us trying to capture the "summit jump" photo.  They offered to take one of us.  I don't think I could have jumped if you paid me.

After a brief rest we began to head back down.  Josh was motoring; he's the tiny dot in the center right.

Lots of wildflowers in bloom, including what I believe were sky pilots.

And some Alpine forget-me-nots.

We even saw a moose on the way back.  It headed towards the trail and disappeared into some vegetation.  We made quite a racket as we approached the spot so as not to take it by surprise and risk an incident, but we never saw it again.  Amazing how something so big can move so quietly and avoid sight when it doesn't want to be seen.

It was around 5:00 by the time we made it back to the car.  The climb we'd hoped to do in about six hours ended up taking almost seven and a half, but I'll bet Josh could have done it in five if I hadn't been holding him back.

When I was gasping for breath at the summit I had no interest in ever doing another 14er ever again.  Ever.

By the time we got back down, I was thinking that I might just be more of a hiker than a climber, and that's OK.


Bring on Longs!

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