The MT Traverse: An Emptier
Welp, I'm posting this because my friend said I should.
This past August, I did the 38 ridgeline miles of the MT Traverse in one push--a first, so far as I know. The route goes from Weston Pass to Mt. Royal, and took just under two days.
28 of the miles are continuously above 13,000', which is the main appeal. Nothing else can be found like this in the states, except for maybe in Alaska. It seemed daunting.
I first heard about this from Peter Bakwin's trip report, which can be found here: http://blog.ultimatedirection.com/tag/mosquito-tenmile-traverse/
I didn't expect to actually do the whole thing, but the mountains were dry and in my favor. Even so, it was taxing, and I slept for about 16 hours afterwards, but not before downing a milkshake in Frisco.
Peter Bakwin wrote, "The footing on the ridge ranges from generally crappy, to shifting talus, to long sections of class 3 scrambling, and even a few class 4 and 5 moves. Progress is particularly tough at night because you can’t easily see the best line ahead. It takes constant attention. Very tiring. Normally, when you step on a rock that moves you just make a correction and continue without a thought. When your strength goes you are unable to make the correction, you stumble, struggle and then try to recover, which burns tons more energy. You get weaker. After walking and scrambling all night and through the morning I was physically and mentally fatigued to the point where I was making poor choices, burning even more energy and increasing the already high danger of falling off."
I had the fortune to be able to sleep on two different occasions, which may have helped me to keep from getting too tired. I think bean burritos helped as well.
The trip started at 6 PM, in a storm, but the rain made the mountains prettier.
I spent that night in a cabin I found up on Horseshoe Peak, fending off a mouse whenever awake. It seemed to stay away so long as I had a headlamp pointed in its general direction.
The ridge goes over 36 peaks, almost one for every mile. 2 are fourteeners, 24 are thirteeners, eight are twelvers, and then two shorter peaks. So the next day found me bagging more peaks than I had any other day in my life.
I ended up passing out a bit before Wheeler Mt, snuggled up between two boulders, too nervous to continue in the dark in convoluted terrain.
Once you reach Atlantic Peak, all the serious difficulties are over. You're less remote, the terrain is more forgiving and the altitude drops.
This will be finished later--for now, I've got to go to bed.
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