We had a plan to ski Breck one day and do nordic the next. It was not to be, all the nordic centers were closed due to lack of snow. We decided that we should try a 14er. We thought, if nothing else it will be a nice short hike, as we had little expectations to make the summit with the early spring conditions.
Since we only had our ski gear with us, we ran to Target and bought $15 hikers and a cheap pack, then rented snowshoes - this was really going to be something...
We got the rental car up to the pass (barely) and started off without snowshoes. The snow was great! Getting through the willows was a cinch! The early start was our savior. I was able to walk on top of the crusty frozen snow, although the existing post-holes told me that the return that afternoon, in softer snow, would not be so easy.
We cruised right up to about 13k and the wind got strong and the temperature was colder. The upper mountain has some bare ground but mostly hard windblown snow slopes. We were glad that we hadn't ditched the snowshes which we had carried the whole way so far. We got the snoeshoes on and continued a bit further to about 13,500. We were getting cold (our Target hikers weren't getting it done) -duh! We also had to catch a plane at 6pm and our time for a summit was running out. We called it a day and headed down. I had my anticipated post holeing troubles, but my 100lb wife floated right on top - grrrr.
We did surprisingly well for the crappy gear we had, and the fact that this was my wife's first 14er. We were thrilled to have had such a great day.