Bluebird Day on Mount Guyot

Page Type Page Type: Trip Report
Location Lat/Lon: 39.45890°N / 105.9375°W
Date Date Climbed/Hiked: Mar 15, 2009
Activities Activities: Hiking
Seasons Season: Winter


Along the ridge of Mount GuyotAlong the ridge of Mount Guyot
15 Mar 2009

A bluebird day in March.
Relatively mild temperatures.
Low avalanche risk.
Moderately low winds (in the morning).
An incredibly handsome Continental Divide Thirteener.

Today is a fabulous day to be in the mountains and Mount Guyot, with a steeply cirqued and corniced east face, is a fabulous place to be.

Approaching the Northwest Ridge

Final approach to the northwest ridge, Mount GuyotFinal approach to the northwest ridge
15 Mar 2009
Bald Mountain and wind-sculpted snowBald Mountain and wind-sculpted snow
15 Mar 2009

The walk along the road past the winter closure gate is not particularly thrilling, but provides a good opportunity to chatter and get to better know your fellow climbers.

We begin the steep ascent to gain the Northwest Ridge. The chatter ceases. All I can hear is snowshoes on consolidated powder, my own labored breathing, and my pulse keeping time in my temples.

Northwest Ridge to Summit Ridge

Upon gaining the Northwest Ridge, the views all around explode, particularly those to the south. Bald Mountain looms like a snowy giant. The smooth snow on the upper reaches of Frenchman Gulch is sliced by the curving paths of backcountry skiers who visited the day before. An existing bootpath broken by a previous climber eases our progress and we proceed along the plateau of the Northwest Ridge. The summit of Mount Guyot, unfortunately, looks a very long way off from this vantage point.
Bald Mountain from the Northwest RidgeBald Mountain from the Northwest Ridge
15 Mar 2009

Soon the incline steepens and our conga line is kicking steps up a scree slope, thankfully a more pleasant process in the winter when consolidated snow acts like glue holding the scree in place. Jovial bantering again ceases and each climber moves upward, head down, tiring and breathing hard, but determined to reach the top.

Gaining the Summit

Bald Mountain & Breckenridge Ski ResortBald Mountain & Breckenridge Ski Resort
15 Mar 2009
Grays & Torreys dominate the horizonGrays & Torreys dominate the horizon
15 Mar 2009

At last the slope relents. We’ve reached the summit ridge. A powerful wind knocks several of us off-balance. The east face is heavily corniced and the vertical drop down the steep eastern cirque hypnotizes. Our last few steps bring us to the summit of Mt. Guyot. We layer-up and grab quick bites of food and drinks of frigid water. Initially, many of us ignore the biting cold and bone-chilling winds, transfixed by the views. Swiveling in every direction we identify familiar peaks.
North Twin Cone Peak & South Twin Cone Peak have almost no snow on them – not good.
• There’s Observatory Rock in The Tarryall.
• Look at the Sawatch Range, far in the distance.
• ...and Boreas Mountain, Mount Silverheels…just look at Bald Mountain, striking an especially formidable and handsome pose!
• The Tenmile Range shines in the mid-day sun, cloaked in winter snows.
• There’s the Eagles Nest Wilderness…you can recognize Buffalo Mountain by its prominent avalanche chutes.
• Continue swiveling now toward the Loveland Pass area. Wow, Torreys Peak and Grays Peak sure dominate the horizon in that direction.

Boreas, Silverheels & Bald from Mount Guyot SummitBoreas, Silverheels & Bald from Mount Guyot Summit
15 Mar 2009
In short order, the admiration for the scenery comes to a close as we become chilled from standing still on an icy summit in a roaring wind. Beautiful but foreboding Lenticular clouds have formed above the mountains all around us. We begin the downclimb.

Descent & Going Home

Dropping off the summit ridge brings little relief from the cold breeze; the wind has picked up for the day and our descent is greeted by swirling spindrift. Down we go, alternately making fast progress plunge-stepping and picking our way slowly down tricky talus and scree.
Descent from the summit ridge of Mount GuyotDescent from the summit ridge of Mount Guyot
15 Mar 2009
Descending the summit ridge, Mount GuyotDescending the summit ridge, Mount Guyot
15 Mar 2009

We reach our snowshoe stash where, shielded from the wind, we suddenly experience spring conditions: warm sun and mushy snow. We continue down-ridge, into the trees, through deep, pillowy snow that has the group giggling, joking, laughing and frolicking like kids.

Our steep snow shoe descent brings us, at last, to the level snow path that returns us to the mouth of Frenchman Gulch where we remove our snowshoes for the speedy walk back to the trucks.

Mount Guyot_Descent from Upper RidgeMount Guyot_Descent from Upper Ridge
15 Mar 2009
We enjoyed successful summit of a stunning mountain on a beautiful day, all in good companionship. We returned to the sun-drenched Front Range area to shirt-sleeve weather, windows down in the truck, carefree and righteously tired, enjoying the warm breeze. Does it really get any better than this?


Post a Comment
Viewing: 1-4 of 4
Westcliffe Willie

Westcliffe Willie - Mar 26, 2009 4:32 pm - Voted 10/10

Nice writing style!

Very unique writing style. Descriptive enough to make you feel like you're part of the adventure and short enough not to lose interest. Great pictures as well. Your pages are getting to be very professional. Now, all you need is a firearm.

Lastly, have to say, blew me over the top with your "Lenticular" phrase. Had to pull out the ol' Websters on that one.

Sarah Simon

Sarah Simon - Mar 26, 2009 8:35 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: Nice writing style!

Thanks for the comments and kind words. Yeah, I personally don't have the patience to read long, novel-like trip reports, so I don't expect anyone else to enjoy my novels. I like to keep things to the point.

PS: Glad I could bring a new word to your vocabulary. ;) Did I tell you my husband is biligual? Yup! He speaks Enlish & Albaman. ;)




ErikaRN - Apr 28, 2010 1:20 am - Hasn't voted


I am in love with this mountain!! I was going to do it with CMC this winter but it got cancelled due to bad weather. It looks just fabulous in winter. Thanks for a great report!

Sarah Simon

Sarah Simon - Apr 28, 2010 10:17 am - Hasn't voted

Re: Awesome

Thanks, Erika. You'll get your time on Guyot. It really is a handsome mountain.

Ah, the bitter sweet joys of life in Colorado - so many mountains, so little time. ;)


Viewing: 1-4 of 4



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