Archive for June, 2013

Mountaineering – Fletcher Mountain Attempt

Saturday, June 22nd, 2013

Fletcher Reflected in Lakes at 12,550 ft
Fletcher Mountain, Taken from a lake at 12,550 ft

Quandary and Fletcher Topo Map
The Topo of Quandary and Fletcher

I would like to climb the Inwood Arete on Quandary Peak. However, the direct start, a large crack, might be full of ice or still wet from the spring thaw! By hiking up McCullough Gulch, we could inspect the route and use the information to nail the timing of the climb. In the end, I decide it’s probably safest to do the climb in August.

The McCullough Gulch Trail Head
The McCullough Gulch Trailhead

On Friday, I met with Erin and we drove her truck, Bertha, to the trail head at McCullough Gulch. It was an easy drive and the gravel road was fairly well maintained. Any car could make it to the trail head, at this time of year. I was still happy we had Bertha though, because we planned to sleep in the camper vs. setting up in a tent.


Mountaineering – Skywalker Couloir & Arapaho Traverse, IPW, CO

Sunday, June 16th, 2013

Summit of South Arapaho
Kent, Clare, Doug, and Tilden on Summit of South Arapaho

The Arapaho Traverse
The Arapaho Traverse, Taken from South Arapaho

Topo Map for Skywalker Couloir and Arapaho Peaks
The Topo Map for Fourth of July Trailhead and the Arapaho Traverse

Doug tells me that he and Kent are planning to climb the Skywalker Couloir. Then he adds the phrase, “If you want to come, you’re welcome to join us”. Oh boy! It’s an offer I can’t refuse. This classic snow climb has been recommended to me by several other Colorado Mountain Club members, and when it’s “in”, it is a “must do”. Tilden is invited as well, so that makes a strong party of 4. Perfect!

Before the climb, I’m a little nervous. I haven’t done any snow climbing since Rainier’s Emmons Glacier route, almost a year ago. Furthermore, Rainier only had one short section that was steep; a 50 ft section which was probably around 40 degrees. We were at that crux in the middle of the night. I wasn’t sure how I’d do in daylight with full knowledge of what I was getting myself into! Plus, Skywalker has a much longer steep section than what I experienced before.

I contacted my friend Robert, who has done both climbs (Rainier and Skywalker) to find out what he thought of the cruxes of both routes. Robert described to me what it was like, comparing and contrasting each. It was his opinion that I would be fine and he said I should not hesitate.

So, I didn’t!

Mountain Biking – Elk Meadow, Evergreen, CO

Friday, June 14th, 2013

Ready to Ride
Redas are Ready to Ride!

Dennis and Clare Mountain Biking in Elk Meadow
Elk Meadow is Beautiful. Bergen Peak in the background!

Painters Pause Trail Signage
Trail Signage Abounds

On our Friday off, Dennis and I take our mountain bikes over to Elk Meadow to thrash down some trails. I had not been to EM since I went trail running there a few years ago. I remember running up to the top of Bergen Peak, so I was hoping we weren’t going to be doing that on the bikes. It was steep and a bit rocky, so it stuck out in my mind as being pretty advanced.


Rock Climbing – CMC Climber’s Festival

Saturday, June 8th, 2013

CMC Climbergirls

On Saturday, I led a rock climbing trip as part of the CMC Climber’s Festival. I led Breezy and then Wind Ridge. Rick was my co-leader and he led Breezy and then meandered over to some other moderates on the wall.

In the afternoon, Rick led a separate trip to top rope the routes at Supremacy Slab while Erin, Ilene, and I chilled at the Eldorado Canyon Visitor’s Center. We waited patiently for the bbq celebration to start. We were thrilled when we walked around back and saw coolers with Beer and Food! Yay!

CMC Eldorado Canyon Climbing Festival
Chris got started on bratwurst right away while I cooked up the hot dogs. Jeffrey and Rick were the next to show up, followed by Brenda, Wayne and Susan, Slava, and the rest of the Boulder gang. We had a lovely afternoon hanging out on the patio (so nicely supplied by the Eldorado State Park people), telling climbing stories, and talking about climbing.


Mountaineering – Mt. Meeker (2nd Attempt via South Ridge)

Saturday, June 1st, 2013

Renewed Hope For Summit
Tilden on South Ridge of Mt. Meeker

Clare on Summit of Meeker (13,860 ft)
Clare on the East Summit of Mt. Meeker

On my birthday, Tilden treated me to a planned excursion up the South Ridge of Mt. Meeker. I met him at his place, in Boulder, at 4am. I was excited to be attempting a peak on my birthday, but the 3am wake up time put a bit of a damper on the start of the day. Oh well, such is the life of a *safe* mountaineer!

Mt. Meeker Ridge Route
Our Intended Route

We drove up to Nederland and then headed north. We were both excited to climb Meeker. I had already attempted it once before, but from the Long’s Peak trailhead and in fall.

We were not sure what we would find on the south ridge, in terms of accumulated snow. Would we need the ice ax, crampons, or both? Would we need pickets or ice pro?