The six of us left College Station, TX early Friday afternoon for the 10 hour drive out to the trailhead. Our so-called leader is a state highpointer that had climbed Guadalupe several times before. It was right around midnight before we finally got started up the trail. Upon reaching the first switchback we realized that one of the guys was already in pain (lower back); we tried several things to try to solve the problem. We eventually figured out that it was his sleeping pad which was attached to the back of his pack that was pulling him off center and adjusted things accordingly. We continued up through the numerous switchbacks by headlamp, periodically stopping to enjoy the spectacular stars. The weather was perfect, temperature around 55 and little wind. We were definitely grateful once we reached the top of the main section of switchbacks that start the climb.
We hiked along the trail, making sure to err to the cliff side as the drop is severe for a ways further. We were always keeping a lookout for the turn off to the campground, but apparently missed it because we heard some of the slower guys that were back a little from us three call asking which fork to take. We knew they were seeing our turnoff so we backtracked and made our way to the campsite. We arrived there at 2:45am.
The campsite consisted of several cleared off pads two of which had wind breaks. One of the windbreaks was occupied so we took the other and settled in for a bit of sleep.
To the Top of Texas
Guadalupe Peak's summit monument.
I slept well, but apparently some in our group did not. It was colder than expected (around 40F) and very windy we woke at 6am. We left our sleeping supplies at the camp and headed up with water, snacks and cameras. This part of the hike is very enjoyable. Soon after we crossed the bridge just before the summit climb we saw (and crossed a tiny one) a couple snow patches. This was possibly the last snow left in the state. As we began the somewhat steep climb to the summit we noticed the wind picking up. Upon reaching the summit it was really howling. It took us 38 minutes to reach the summit from the campground.
We spent a while taking pictures, enjoying the spectacular scenery, signing the registery and doing some things only Aggies would understand. To sign the registery we had to find a sheltered spot and even then it was to a simple task.
Down to the Car
We headed on down from the summit to our first detour which was to scramble around on a big boulder just before the bridge. We spent a bit of time scrambling around and taking pictures. We again made our way down; we began to meet a good number of hikers coming up as it was Saturday morning. We detoured again at an outcrop just before the start of the switchbacks. to do more scrambling and picture taking, at this point we could see the parking lot far below. Finally we decided to get on down so we could get some lunch.
Back to College Station
Looking back up towards El Capitan and Guadalupe Peak from Highway 62.
We loaded up the cars and headed down to Van Horn, TX to eat at John Madden's favorite restaurant Chuy's. Then on to Lost Maples State Park in the Texas Hill Country to camp for the night. We got back to College Station Sunday afternoon having enjoyed an awesome weekend of climbing and fellowship.
That was me that you guys gave the early wake-up call to. I heard you coming from a lot lower down, but got a surprising wake up when you arrived in camp. It was cold up there, wasn't it? I think you guys brought the wind with you, b/c it had been eerily still until right around when you guys got there, and then the wind picked up. Congrats on the summit, it was perfect weather the day before!
Yea it was nice coming up, but it got windy and cold fast some time after we laid down. I had a 20 degree bag so I was fine; one guy in our group said it was his worst night ever. Man it was windy up on the summit and that whole day on the mountain.
I saw you made this page in April ... I'm assuming that's when you climbed? is the spring a good time or the fall better? I know summer is too hot; and I'm wondering if winter is too snowy? (sounds weird asking about snow in texas...)
I would think most any non-summer month would be OK. They can get periodic snows up there throughout the winter. I was there in April only a bit of snow was left from a big March snow. I think the biggest winter issues would be ice and cold, strong winds.