Fools in the mountains
Sis and I arrived at the gate at 12000' around 7:30 pm Friday. We drove back down a bit and set out to build a fire. "We'll just collect some firewood," we had thought. But firewood can be difficult to find among the hardy shrubs and talus at 12000'. Luckily I discovered a veritable gold mine in the talus a hundred feet above the road, and soon we had an ample supply. Starting the flame in the brisk wind was more difficult. I went through an entire book of matches before realizing we needed to shred the tinder! The very last match started the fire. Our wilderness survival skills are clearly deficient.
Sis' first fourteener
We arose at 6 am and drove up to the gate. John and Tyler arrived shortly, and off we went. After a brief stop to explore the ruins on the hillside, we continued up the talus towards the Sheridan-Sherman saddle. The warm sun offset the frigid breeze as we climbed--what a great day to be in the mountains! We gained the saddle high on the Sherman side and hiked along the narrow ridge to the summit. Sis was happy to be standing above 14000' for the first time and eager to go over and see the views from Gemini Peak. It was barely 8 am so, with plenty of time, we decided to make a morning of it.
We hiked over to Gemini Peak and scrambled up to its crumbling summit. After a few minutes enjoying the beautiful morning we were ready to go again. By the time we again crested the summit of Sherman, everyone was ready to go in search of food. I'd been drooling over Horseshoe all morning and thought I might have a chance at it if I hustled, so we parted. As the group descended the ridge I cruised across Sheridan's southeast face and hiked up to the uninspiring summit of Peerless Mountain. Horseshoe looked far away and I didn't want to keep everyone waiting. A quick call to John confirmed they were back at the ruins, so I decided to leave Horseshoe for another day. I descended, keeping to the snow as much as possible, until I reached a pronounced slope above the road. Here there was a very steep incline with a broad snowy runout, and I was able to get in a speedy glissade which included some air time.
I scrambled back up to the road just as the others were going by. We all drove to Alma to enjoy a hearty lunch before parting ways. It had been a pleasure to hike with John and Tyler, and Sis had a great time on her first fourteener.
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