In January I summited California Peak with Zambo. While descending the summit ridge I became dizzy and disoriented. “Zambo, is this what altitude sickness feels like?!?” An extra strength ibuprofen got me back to the car.
Fast forward to March, I attempted Shavano and Tab with Danny. At about 12,500′ in the Angel my head began to pound and my legs stopped functioning on all cylinders. “Is this really happening again?” After some egging, I was able to convince Danny to go ahead and get the summits. I took a nap on a rib of grass as Danny bulldozed upward. 45 minutes later I painfully dragged my sorry self to the summit of Shavano. On the 7 mile descent back to the car I was a zombie and an ibuprofen had no effect. Danny’s good company and sense of humor are the only reason I’m not still crawling back to the jeep.
These were the only 2 outings I took this winter. They’re also in the running for what could have been the only 2 times I left my chair this tax season. I’d like to think that the altitude sickness was the result of a lack of sleep, food, and water, but in the grand scheme of things, I will put it square on putting too much focus on work and not enough on myself.
Post Shavano I made a pact to get back into prime time 2012 form. It’s a work in process. Walking, running (gasp!), climbing (more like watching and learning), scaring myself, and lifting on a daily basis have become a staple. A successful test run on a snowy Horseshoe and Peerless in mid May felt damn good. I also bought a Fitbit. One of the coolest (and most addicting) gadgets I’ve ever owned. I think all present on Lackawanna can tell you how many steps it is from car to summit.
Speaking of Lackawanna… this is a trip report about a sweet weekend in the Sawatch so here goes.
Those on foot:
Peaks: Emerald Peak (13,904′), Iowa Peak (13,831′), Missouri Mountain (14,067′)
Date: May 30, 2015
Trailhead: Missouri Gulch
Distance: ~ 14 miles
Elevation Gain: ~ 6,300 ft.
Participants: Steve Cummins, Dillon Sarnelli
Those on skis:
Peak: Mount Belford (14,197′)
Date: May 30, 2015
Participants: David Yarian, Jason Blyth
The approach from the TH to treeline was straightforward. No pictures required. Snowshoes and/or skins went on in the upper basin soon after reaching snowline. The task at hand from here was gaining Elkhead Pass.
Perched atop Elkhead Pass, Zambo and JB opted to ski Belford while Steve and I would take the 500 foot plunge off the pass and go for Emerald. One might ask – Why would you trek all the way to Elkhead to ski Belford? Better question, why would you trek halfway to Oxford to only ski Belford? These are questions you don’t really answer.
Jason and David pushed on to Belford while I plunge stepped off the pass to rendezvous with Gendarme Steve. If we were going to get home today, Rockdale and/or an ascent over Missouri would be the only way out. Any re ascent of the Pass would be sketch as it was already baked.
The route to Iowa: Descend 600 feet to the saddle at 13,340′ and then climb about a half mile up Iowa’s south slopes to the summit at 13,831′. This was easy peasy on a wide snow covered saddle.
Meanwhile back on Belford:
Back at the ranch:
From the summit of Mizzou, we elected to stay ridge proper and down-climb a few towers to avoid triggering any sort of slide or put ourselves in a bad spot. The task at hand was to reach the point where the ridge meets what would be the standard summer route down into Missouri Gulch. There were several parties that had skied Missouri that day, but their route seen in the next picture, ended about 20 feet below the 2nd or 3rd rock cropping that I’m taking the picture from. I believe we were the only party to summit Missouri on this day.
Peak: “Lackawanna” (13,823′)
Date: May 31, 2015
Trailhead: North Lake Creek
Distance: 3.4 miles
Elevation Gain: 3,600 ft.
Participants: Brad Peterson, David Yarian, Jason Blyth, Steve Cummins, Dillon Sarnelli
What I learned on this trip: Ginger cookies are nasty, when JB says we’re going to Eddyline, we’re not really going to Eddyline, the rear panel on my pack is worth every penny, couly season is going to go through August, a lot of folks think I have a motorcycle, and the pretzel bag is off limits to the individual handling the Elk carcass. Great weekend gents!