Solo Winter Ascent-Didn't See a Darn Thing

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Trip Report
Date Climbed/Hiked:
Mar 14, 2003
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Created On: Oct 24, 2004
Last Edited On: Nov 3, 2015
I did the ascent while working near Kremmling. The project (bridge over the railroad east of Kremmling) was shut down due to bad weather. Unfortunately, that's often the only time when I can get any time off durning a project. Even in Kremmling, it was snowing like heck. I went back to the cabin, told my wife where I was going, retrieved my snowshoes, sunglasses, warm clothes, and an ice axe, then ran to the store bought some crackers and candy bars. Now I was ready! I got in the trusty (actually a POS Ford F-150) company pickup, and I was off! I didn't have a topo map, but did have a copy of Hiking Colorado* and followed the directions in the book through the nasty driving conditions and to the trailhead (at BM 9485 SE of Willow Creek Pass on the topo map).

I stayed on the main track, breaking trail, and despite the very low visibility and heavy snow falling, it was easy to follow (there are many logging road branches off the main track that are not shown on the topo). I had really had no idea where I was until I reached the mine at 11,000 feet. I had missed the correct turnoff (no trail) to the spur that is supposed to be the easiest ascent route. The area beyond the mine seemed to look really avalanche prone (from what I could see), so I backtracked a short distance and climbed directly north to the NE ridge of Parkview. That part was pretty difficult, but the rest of the route was easy (that's why I recommend following one of the routes below).

Once I reached the ridge, the going got much easier, and it was a walk on rock-hard and wind-blown snow to the summit. It was very cold, windy, and snowy, however. I was greeted at the summit by a view of about 30 feet. Too bad, as I bet the views would be really great up there in good weather. The summit house was partially filled with snow and ice. There was fresh marmot dung all over inside (I thought marmots were pretty inactive in winter, but not this one, I guess). I stood in there a while too seek shelter from the elements, while calling my wife on the cellphone. She said it heard like it was really blowing up there. After eating a few crackers and candy bars, I headed back down. The weather breifly let up and Icould see for a quarter mile or so, before the storm closed in again. I found the right spur this time, and the route down was a piece of cake. There wasn't any avalanche danger on the spurs, and I highly recommend people use spur and ridge routes. The most dangerous part of the climb was the drive there and back. It was pretty treacherous. It was a fun trip. Too bad I didn't see a darn thing.

Note: The route in the book mentioned is the one I took. If I had a map and more info, I most likely would have chosen one of the following routes: The higher road from Willow Creek Pass that stays close to the ridgeline, or the Mulstay Jeep Road, which is apparently marked for winter use and is fairly well used. The route I took was still not difficult, however.


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Solo Winter Ascent-Didn't See a Darn Thing

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