May and June’s Greatest Hits – Jacque to Music, and Some Extra Credit

05-06-16 – Jacque Peak
05-17-16 – Longs Peak – Keplinger’s Couloir
06-01-16 – Otis Peak
06-08-16 – South Boulder Peak, Bear Peak, Green Mountain
06-19-16 – Savage Peak – Savage Couloir
06-29-16 – Music Mountain
07-13-16 – Extra Credit – Mount Orton

Participants: Mat Ballay, Dillon Sarnelli

For most of the civilized world this year began on January 1 when the clock struck midnight. For the few and not so proud who call ourselves accountants, it kicked off on April 15th at closing time.  I had a lot of catching up to do, so when the mountains called, I went. And when your go to climbing buddy has a few months to spare before moving and starting a new teaching job, well things set up very very nicely. Pardon the summary, but Mat and I went on such a tear since Kelso that I really didn’t get much time to sit and document any of it. I’ll keep this one to highlights, pictures, and a good sense of humor.

May 6, 2016 – Jacque Peak (13,205′):

The good: We didn’t get arrested and the bluebird summit stay gave me some extra time to rip on Mat’s midwest meets the southern bayou accent. The bad: Only one Dynafit binding made it out unscathed. More good: King Supers makes a mean donut.

Mat making his way up Jacque’s north ridge. From this vantage you have a panoramic view into the Elks, Tenmile, and Gore. A winterlike scene on this day.
All smiles. Just happy to be outside. Photo by Mat.
Summit of Jacque Peak – May 6, 2016. The Tenmile never looked so good.
Copper all to ourselves.

May 17, 2016 –  Longs Peak (14,255′) – Keplinger’s Couloir:

The good: Jury’s still out on that one. Nod goes to Oskar Blues in Lyons, the Coors pounder, and Mat sporting his helmet door to door from Longs all the way to Lyons. The not so good: Too many to list.

Mat, where is your shirt and why are you wearing 2 different skis?

On a serious note, we had Kep as a day trip on our radar for quite a while, shut our brains off, and did just about everything wrong you can do in a couloir. A close call with many lessons learned and relearned. Returning to find my jeep parked like a jackass in the middle of the parking lot was the kicker. Wild Basin, living up to its name on this day.

The start of the couloir. Let’s battle.
Kep looking eerie on the ascent. Sometimes it pays to be 20 minutes late. Bailed at 13,300ish.

June 1, 2016 – Otis Peak (12,486′) – Rocky Mountain National Park:

“I’ll bet you a 6 pack that this is Flattop.” – Mat.

If only I was a betting man.

After surveying the scene in the Flour Power couloir on Otis, we determined conditions didn’t warrant a safe ascent and opted to hit Otis via Andrews Glacier.

“Don’t fall in a crevasse!” – Mat’s Grandma
Tower, this is Ghost Rider requesting a flyby.
Scouting the couloir we didn’t climb. Photo by Mat.
Summit of Otis Peak (12,000′) – June 1, 2016. The Park Warden behind us still caked in June.

June 8, 2016 – South Boulder Peak, Bear Peak and Green Mountain:

“Hey Ballay, you know there are 5 peaks in the Boulder Skyline Traverse, right?”

Let’s just call this one a nice early morning workout followed by a game of how much is that house worth walking tour of Boulder. For a Wednesday morning, no complaints. This will also go down as the last time I ever brought a coffee for Mat in the morning.

Mat doing some early morning scrambling on Bear.

June 19, 2016 – Savage Peak (13,139′):

We capped off the spring season with a climb of the Savage Couloir in the Holy Cross Wilderness. After a minor ice ax mishap :), this day came together nicely. Lessons learned: Sometimes when your buddy gives you some good advice about avoiding an 8 foot man-eating post-hole, you should take it. And apparently 100 lb. females set a better boot track up a couloir than me. Paul Bunyan made a guest appearance on this outing.

The Savage Couloir Welcome Center.
Ascending the coulie. Shorts, gaitors, and crampons. My definition of a perfect day in the hills. Photo by Mat.
Topping out. If you ain’t 1st, your last. No big deal.

In between these 2 outings Mat had a birthday.

June 29, 2016 – Music Mountain (13,380′):

We kicked off the summer with Music Mountain in the Sangres. Opting to leave the ice axes in Denver, we soon realized Tijeras was off the table, but Music’s east ridge didn’t disappoint. From the alpine lakes to the views of the Crestones, this little nook of the Sangres is a gem. I think I speak for both of us when I say we’ll be back. Post-climb highlight: The well done brats on 3 and half week old buns.

Alpenglow on Music over Lower Sand Creek Lake.
Contemplating why I don’t spend more time down here while enjoying the view of Tijeras. Photo by Mat.
Mat taking the high road along Music’s ridge. Crestone Needle towers over the Sangres in the distance.
Until next time, Sangres.

July 13, 2016 – EXTRA CREDIT– Mount Orton (11,729′) – Rocky Mountain National Park:

Participants: Mat Ballay, Keeley Ballay, Henry Ballay, Dillon Sarnelli

Henry’s 1st 11er.

10%. This nugget can party. Rally, not so much.
Summit of Mount Orton – July 13, 2016.
Ohio State vs Penn State - October 22, 2016
Ohio State vs Penn State – October 22, 2016, 8 PM ET – Beaver Stadium, University Park, PA – WHITEOUT

Mat, from Kelso to Orton to Earth Treks to Call to Arms, this was a great run. I had a stupid grin on my face the whole time I was writing this. Topics that didn’t make the cut: the supermarket experience, illiterate Italians that don’t listen, politics, tattoos on women, and awful hashtags, to name a few. See you soon enough bud.

And if you made it this far, thanks for reading all. Enjoy the rest of summer and be safe!

4 thoughts on “May and June’s Greatest Hits – Jacque to Music, and Some Extra Credit

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