My first solo climb, and I'm glad I was alone. The rock fall in the gully is no joke!! The gully was free of snow and the dirt was very soft. I did not see anyone until my return to the lake. Unless you count the deer that was stupid enough to run out in front of my car in mile 8 of Castle Creek Road!
Climbed in Fall with stud cuz Ross Schnell adn brother Dirk.
fun couloir! the snow was very hard in the top half requiring solid kick steps and front pointing with the ice axe for safe forward movement. this is an awesome peak!
My first big mountain of the season and wow what a day it was! I went solo and made great time to the lake. 1.5 hours. Climbed the steep snow gully to the south ridge. The snow was very hard and difficult to get my ice axe into very far. After reaching the summit I admired the views and then headed back down the same route. The snow in the gully was still very hard and due to the steepness of the gully I didn't feal comfortable glissading. I opted to pludge step my way down and about half way down my boot slipped out and I started to slide out of control. This really freaked me out as the gully was so steep. Thank god I had my ice axe as I used it to self arrest successfully. Hate to think of what could have happened had I not arrested.
A very rewarding climb, probably one of the most scenic I have been on in CO. There's the steep climb on a nice trail to Cathedral Lake, the routefinding, the boulder hopping, and the sweet snow climb up the gully to the ridge. I wouldn't do this peak without snow cover in the gully though. Incredible views!
Skied from the summit!
The top half of the gully was "snow" filled, if you want to call it snow. It was a granular, miserable mix of wet, icy slush which provided adequate but not great footing. An ice axe was absolutely essential, not only on this stuff, but also in the soft dirt and mud in the bottom half. The fall risk was real. I stuck (excuse the expression) as much as possible to the right wall of the gully, using whatever hand holds I could find as I negotiated my way up. I used my axe like an ice climbing tool going up, digging into the snow for purchase. Getting up to the summit from the saddle was nothing compared to getting up the gully. Just before descending the gully a boulder the size of a small desk let loose from the saddle, going straight down and not stopping for anything. Anybody who would have been unfortunate enough to have been in its path at the time would have been creamed. Anyhow, the effort it took to ascend the gully made the climb most rewarding. This is a great mountain.
I absolutely love my hikes in the Elks. This was a quite eventful day. It started with a weird experience before the sun had come up. At 4:00 a.m. I was hiking with my headlamp on and remember almost tripping on some guy that was sleeping directly on the trail about 2 miles up from the TH. It spooked the hell out of me. Some old man just laying there in his nasty sleeping bag out in the wilderness.
"Persistance" seems to be a fitting word to describe this day. If your interested here is my trip report.