December 24-25 2013:
Christmas Eve we drove through a blizzard ( by far the worst part of the trip) to the trailhead for Vances Cabin. We snowshoed up through the snowstorm for 3.2 miles to the cabin reaching it right at dark. In the evening I cooked us all a dinner of chicken stew and we had some other treats. We also read some Christmas stories and other books.
By around midnight, the sky was completely clear and full of stars. We awoke to cloudless skies, sunshine and -16F. All the trees were pre-decorated and looked just like Christmas trees! After a good breakfast we climbed up the Taylor ridge to the summit for the great views. It had warmed up to 7F, which believe it or not feels really warm in the sunshine when you are burning calories up a mountain. In fact, you can break a sweat at anything above zero when you're working hard!
The views of the Sawatch (including a really good view of Mount of the Holy Cross) and the Gore Range were really nice. After enjoying the summit at 11,725 feet elevation (it was a bit breezy so we didn't stick around too long), we headed for home. I had originally wanted to climb the Chicago Ridge, but it was quite windy and cold.
It was a beautiful Christmas Day.
February 18-19 2011:
The original plan was for all of us to go to Southeast Utah for four days, but Kim hurt her ankle by slipping on the ice at home, plus the weather didn’t look good for much of the weekend. I also noticed that someone was trying to sell to spots in Vance’s Cabin (a 10th Mountain Division Hut) so Kessler and I decided to give it a go and try to get some winter mountaineering in.
After getting a fairly late start, Kessler and I headed up the mountain under cloudy skies. It only snowed a little and we quickly made it up to Vance’s Cabin which is located at 10,980 feet (3347 meters).
It only snowed a little during the night and by the time sunrise came we had clear skies and 6.8F degrees (-14C) Kessler and I packed up and set off to climb over Taylor Hill (11,725 feet/3574 meters) and Chicago Ridge (12,714 feet/3875 meters). We climbed up the steep slope, but the going was fairly easy until we reached timberline. Once we were over the summit of Taylor Hill it became really windy and. With deteriorating weather, approaching clouds, a ground blizzard and high winds, we decided not continue on to the highest point of the Chicago Ridge. We enjoyed the diminishing views before heading down the mountain.
Once back on the main trail, we made very good time and ran down the trail at a fast rate of speed. It was a great climb and a good way to get out and enjoy the winter.
1/11/2006: West Face Ski Descent
1/12/2006: 4 Ski Descents