Alarm went off at 0400 and my back was killing me. I had slept funny and everytime I took a deep breath I could feeling a pain in my back, not a good start to the day. Got my hiking clothes on and got outside the tent, Nader was already working on getting a fire going. I got my MRE from the car and ate about half of it (Beef Ravioli, good but not quite a typical breakfast). There was a slight frost the night before so the fire was nice to warm up with. We broke camp, filled Camelbacks, and water bottles then put out the fire. Signed in at the trailhead at 0530. Maintained a good pace with just a few brakes to change clothing or get items out of our packs. Reached the treeline in about 2 hours (same as my previous attempt). Saw a whitetail deer again a few hundred feet above the treeline in some brush, same exact spot as 2 weeks earlier. About an hour past the treeline we still had not crossed any snow fields while last time there were about a half dozen. At this point Dan and Nader were slowing down and I still felt great. I took off, wanting to summit before any altitude sickness set in. Shortly before the saddle the wind picked up quite a bit and I could see people along the ridge and some already on the summit. I stopped for a few minutes at the saddle to look at the view, amazing. The trail turned north along a ridge which did have some snow. After just a few meters there was a small snowfield with old tracks going across it. I saw another hiker further above on the boulders but I decided to try the snow using the old tracks as a guide. It was a little slow crossing but I never broke through or slipped and it cut off a little distance so I was now ahead of the other hiker I saw. From this point is was mostly scrambling up and down rocks and boulders, lot's of fun. Stopped and talked with numerous people that were on their way down. About 30 minutes after the snowfield I arrived at the summit to be greeted by a dog and a group of about 8 people. I sat down and talked for a bit and took pictures. At this point I had a headache and was feeling quite nauseous. I had one bite of a Clif bar and thought I would throw up so I put it in my pocket for when I got to lower altitudes. I had summited at 1000, 4:30 after I started. I could see Dan and Nader well behind me at this point. Not wanting to get too sick I headed back down after about 10-15 minutes on the summit. I met Dan halfway down the ridge and let him know I would meet him at lower altitudes. About 10 minutes above the saddle I found Nader who seemed to be closing the distance between him and Dan. At the same spot the group of 8 decided to glissade down about a 400-500 ft snowfield. Fun to watch, thier dog ran down beside the first guy. Not feeling good I hiked quickly to well below the saddle about 12,500ft and found a good rock to hang out at. Waited at the rock for 1:15 with no sight of Dan or Nader. Getting worried since we had some groppel I started hiking back up the trail. After about 20 minutes I caught sight of them and quickly met up. Dan was moving slow and was quite tired but Nader seemed to have gotten a second wind. They had summited in about 5 1/2 hours. Some rain near the tree line but nothing eventful the rest of the way down. Nader and I went ahead and dropped our things off at the car. Dan was about 30 minutes behind, maintaing a steady pace the whole way down. After dumping our stuff in the car we headed into Leadville for a burger and soda. Tasty.
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