Having hiked the standard east ridge route up Quandary the previous week, I had set my sights on Fletcher as my next climb.
I got a late start from Denver, but still made it to the Blue Lakes Trailhead at the end of CR 850 at about 8am. The road was quite rough in two places, but my AWD passenger car did just fine with a little 'route finding'.
I started off from the dam under clear blue skies but a steady chilly wind. I found the mining trail through the willows on the north side of the dam and made my way up to the 'hanging valley' above the upper most lake in short order. Here I caught my first glimpse of the first headwall.
Leaving the soft dirt of the trail behind, I stayed to the right, following the cairns up a loose talus/scree slope. After gaining the first steep section I took a short rest on a sunny rock and then headed up the valley across large crops of solid rock and grassy slope to the second headwall and final obstacle between me and Fletcher's summit pyramid. This cliffy section is much shorter then the first obstacle lower in the valley and was really quite fun.
I couldn't find the cairned trail, so I followed an obvious system of ledges until about halfway up the headwall, then just broke straight up the center, climbing up easy rock to the flat expanse above. The going looked a bit tougher on the left side of this cliff section, perhaps I'll try that side another time.
Fletcher's summit came into view now, as did "Drift" Peak at the other end of a large flat basin. The hike to Fletcher's summit pyramid was a field of small boulders. Feeling a little tired I took a break before heading up Fletcher's final stretch, over large white rock at a steady pitch, that gave way to small dark loose talus that liked to shift under my weight.
2 hours from when I started I stood on the summit, took a ton of pictures, rested, then headed down.
On the return I opted not to retrace my steps and downclimb the talus/scree slope of the lower headwall, and instead followed the steep gully on the south side part of the ways down, then exited the gully and traversed to easier ground (avoiding most of the gully), and then downclimbed to the floor of the valley. A little bit later I made it back to my car, tired, but with a smile on my face thanks to great weather and a fun route.
No comments posted yet.