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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!