Add Heading HereParticipants: cftbq, trishapajean
RT: about 16 miles
Vertical: about 6,300 ft.
Total time: 16 hrs., 45 min.
There is little to add for anyone familiar with this peak, so this is only a short report.
We started from about 100 vertical feet above the standard 2WD trailhead at 1:15 in the morning. We had decided in advance to err on the side of caution and take no chances with the car on Colorado's worst road. We knew we couldn't hope to get past the "Jaws," but we figured we'd go as far as we reasonably could. After enduring a few hundred yards of the "cobblestone" that coat this road, we decided to start walking. The temperature was 57ºF and we started out in very light clothing. I didn't even wear gloves, a possible first for me. As the moon was just past full, we didn't even need to turn on our headlamps.
We made decent time at first. Dawn (about 4:30) found us on the steep section of the road just below Lake Como, and we got to the lake right around sunrise. After napping for about 10 minutes and eating a little, we pushed on. There was intermittent snow after that, but we were able to walk over it with no problem in the early morning chill.
After climbing above the last of the lakes, we finally got direct sunlight, and encountered snow steep enough that we decided it was time for crampons. While we were putting them on, we noticed two climbers coming up below us, obviously moving faster than we were. They split off toward Ellingwood.
We had lost the trail under the snow, and decided to free-lance the rest of the route to the ridge. This was a mistake. We put on the crampons and took them off twice overall.
Eventually, we angled left back to the ridge crest to make the rest of the climb, as much as possible, on bare rock. Meanwhile, the other two climbers zoomed past us, and we met them coming down when we got to about 150 feet below the summit. They had bagged both peaks before we could get one. We had already realized that there wasn't going to be enough time to hit Ellingwood Pt.
We finally topped out at about 11:40 am, nearly 10½ hours after setting out. On the plus side, the weather was gorgeous, and we got nice pictures.
Some of them are here.
With some glissading, the descent only took 6 hours, which, on balance, we figured wasn't too bad. The biggest problem is that we'll have to take on that horrible road again to bag Ellingwood.