Summit diversion during "Zirkel Girdle" trip crossing the Zirkels from Rainbow Lakes TH in the Walden side to Mad Creek TH on the Steamboat side.
August 8-10 2014
Since the weather forecast was good, Shaylee, Kessler, and I set off to climb Mount Ethel and Lost Ranger Peak. We started at around 5 pm and hiked for three hours where we found a nice secluded hollow to camp in at the headwaters of Newcomb Creek (six miles from the trailhead). Just short of the campsite, we stopped to climb Peak 11,173.
It was a beautiful campsite next to a nice crag. Despite the good weather forecast, we did get rained on. The wildflowers were good along the way though.
With clear skies, we set off towards Mount Ethel. It was a really nice day to Mount Ethel and although the mountain is a fair distance from the trailhead, by Colorado standards at least, the climb is easy. There were some interesting rocks to climb near the top.
After Mount Ethel, we set off for Lost Ranger Peak. It was good weather until we were near the peak and then a storm built up incredibly quick and hit us when we were only a few feet from the summit. The storm was rather severe and the lightning scary thus we only spent a few seconds in the summit area. We raced down the mountain and huddled in a group of trees near the saddle south of the summit to wait out the storm. It hailed, snowed, and rained hard.
After the storm abated we made our way quickly over the shoulder of Mount Ethel and down towards camp. Since the sky was clear again we climbed Point 11,262 for the views and to get some photographs.
We did 15+ miles round trip on this day. We were going to hike back Saturday making it a 21 mile day, but Shaylee's (our 10 year old girl) feet were blistered from her wet boots.
It was a challenging, but good day, except for the severe storm and the blisters. It's a good thing that we have a tough girl. She never did complain at all about the blisters, other than she wanted to finish the final six miles the next day.
Today started out clear as well. We packed up camp and walked back to the trailhead. It took us three hours, but we had to bandage Shaylee's feet up good. It did rain with a little sleet mixed in, but by the time that happened we were well below timberline.