Stuck on S. Arapaho Peak in the snow

Page Type
Trip Report
Colorado, United States, North America
Date Climbed/Hiked:
May 25, 2002
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Stuck on S. Arapaho Peak in the snow
Created On: Feb 29, 2004
Last Edited On: Mar 9, 2006
I was planning to climb S. Arapaho Peak for a month, since I turned back at about 12,200' in April, 2002, due to high winds and not enough clothes. The weather was nice and the snow was melting, so I planned for a late May weekend. Then, a few days before my climb, snow fell on the mountains forcing me to make a decision. Well, I decided to climb in the snow. I was able to get my car over the snow and to the parking lot for the Fourth of July trailhead. I lugged up the main trail, and turned upwards at the sign to the Arapaho glacier. I got to a flat ridge below Arapaho pass. I walked the trail for awhile until I got to the base of the mountain. Instead of taking a trail, I climbed on my hands and knees, about 1,200 feet up to the base of the summit climb. The rest of the way was covered in snow. Some other climbers were coming down from the summit, and they told me I could make it if I followed their footsteps. I climbed up, manipulating some steep boulders, and shaky ground. The route to the summit was not obvious, but after enough time going up, I finally reached my destination.

There is a sign at the top that recognizes the summit. Arrows point from a marker, identifying surrounding peaks. The view from the summit was white; an endless sea of peaks. The way down was tricky. The snow was melting, but it was still a precarious situation. I tried to ride down on my butt, but the snow was not smooth, thick, or slick enough at most points. It took a long time, because the snow was deep at some points not directly under the sun. I even got stuck in snow up to my knees, and while trying to get through that area, I pulled my calf mucle. At this point, I was just 5-10 minutes from the ridge, so I made it down fine, but it was quite an adventure. Still, I want to climb on the snow again very soon!


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