I climbed the Citadel on September 27, 2003 via Dry Gulch.
This was a very special hike for me. When I first started climbing this year, I set the Citadel as an end of year goal for myself. In addition, I would complete this hike in memory of my recently deceased grandfather. As the date approached, I felt that I was ready to conquer this mountain. The Monday prior, I got struck with a terrible cold. I was dreading Saturday and the condition I would be in. But, I knew that I had to summit not only for myself, but for my grandfather.
I woke up on Saturday feeling alright, pretty stuffy with lots of congestion in my lungs. We started hiking around 8:00 or so. The first mile was mostly trail, and was not difficult to navigate through. We eventually veered off the trail onto a steep face for about 2 miles or so. This is when I started to feel the sickness which had plagued me the week prior. We gained a ridge for about a mile, and stopped at the shoulder to have lunch. My father gave us all a short lesson about how to handle ourselves on the different types of terrain we were about to encounter, and we were on our way to the summit. We proceeded along the base of the East summit into a gully which was - to say the least - an experience. Suddenly, with the harsh amounts of exposure, and large rocks flying at me down the side of the mountain, I felt 100% better.
We climbed the West summit first. That is when I realized what I had just accomplished. It was an amazing feeling to know that I had hit my goal. Until May of this year, I lived a very "lazy" lifestyle. I have come so far since then, and my pride really showed through in this instant. I held up a picture of my grandfather for the camera, smiled as big as I could, and prepared for the ascent of the East summit.
There is a small dihedral at the base of the East summit leading up from the saddle. This was great fun. Once at the peak, I again smiled my biggest smile, showed another picture of my grandfather, relished in the beauty of the area, and the feeling I was experiencing. We stayed up on the summit for a good 2 hours taking pictures and enjoying the amazing weather.
I was feeling much better upon our return to the car.
Needless to say, I slept harder and longer than I have slept since my June 28th Descent of Mt. Harvard, which was my first 14er.
This is an excellent hike, although NOT for the weak of heart, or of hand. I recommend this hike to anyone with good shoes, and some experience.