Jones, Oklahoma and Buckskin

I wrapped up 2016 with three more Centennials: Jones Mountain in August, and Mounts Oklahoma and Buckskin in September with my dad.

These were mild mountains to finish off the year after a number of more difficult ones–and pretty straightforward, except for the scenic bush-whacking of Mount Oklahoma:

Dallas and Teakettle

Dallas Peak, Teakettle Mountain, and Jagged Mountain are considered to be the three most difficult mountains to climb of Colorado’s hundred highest. I climbed the first two of these on back-to-back days in August 2016. They were instant classics for me, especially Teakettle. The scenery and weather could not have been better. The climbing was fun, and the camaraderie with my fellow climbers, none of us who had ever met before, added to the experience.


Climbing Dallas

Dallas Peak has what is considered the hardest summit pitch of the highest hundred. And there is plenty more to this complex mountain.

Teakettle Mountain is another complex and interesting climb with some of the best summit views I’ve seen apart from Alaska or Montana.

Grizzly and Cathedral

Part 2 of my epic Summer of ’16 involved two more Centennial Summits in Colorado in early July.


View from Grizzly Couloir

Grizzly Peak A, Colorado’s highest 13er, was first. I completed a fun and challenging loop tour of the mountain, ascending Grizzly Couloir and bushwhacking my way down the mountain’s southwestern slopes.

Two days later I climbed one of my favorite Colorado mountains to-date, the ever-scenic Cathedral Peak. What a beautiful place!

“Thunder Pyramid”, Sandwiched Between Mount Spalding and Ice Lake Basin

On the first of several epic 4-day weekends spent traveling out West in 2016, this one started out with a 13,800-foot gain in 8 hours–from Dulles Airport to the summit of Mount Spalding! Mount Spalding isn’t officially one of the highest 100 mountains in Colorado, but if you include the 11 USGS-named summits in addition to the ranked ones, there are 111 on the list. Spalding was the last of the named-but-unranked 11 I had yet to summit, and it would be a great training and acclimation hike for the weekend that lay ahead. Always fun to see the mountain goats up there, too!


(Goofing around on Spalding’s neat summit boulder: self-timed shot)

“Thunder Pyramid” was the weekend’s main event. Ironically, it is not officially named but does fall on the “official” 100-highest list. It was rightly one of the most dreaded I had yet to climb, but doing it in steep snow was the right call. Much safer without all the loose exposed rock that is unavoidable in summer. It turned out to be a longer, tougher day than I had anticipated, but I made it up and back down in one piece, relieved to never have to return!

My legs weren’t quite up to par for Day 3, but still I hiked the many switchbacks up to Ice Lake Basin. My goal was the summit of Vermilion Peak, but by the time I made it up to the lake I was wallowing in wet sloppy snow up to my waist. Thunderstorms hit just as I got back to my rental car, and I was not regretting having turned around. It was a neat place to see, and of course–I’ll be back someday..

Icy Ice Lake.

Standing Stone North

Our highlight for hiking in Pennsylvania in 2016 was the 21.5 miles at the northern terminus of the Standing Stone Trail.

Here is the trip report: Standing Stone Trail – North

Website Catch-Up / 2015 Wrap-Up

I’ve already done a good bit of hiking in 2016, so before I get too far behind I wanted to add my remaining highlights from the summer of 2015 to the website. This includes a hike of the 2015 Midway point on the Appalachian Trail.

AT

One of the highlights of our 2015 trip back to Yellowstone was a climb of the overlook of what is still the weirdest place I’ve seen on Earth: The Grand Prismatic Spring.

GPS

Additionally, I’ve added all my hikes and climbs from 2012 – 2015 to my Chronology Page and updated the Home Page as well.

French – Frasco – Casco: Colorado Classic

Dad and I, along with my dog Hunter, tackled the French-Frasco-Casco Trio in Colorado this past July, in what instantly became one of my favorite hikes I’ve done in the state: Trip Report.

Yellowstone’s Hoyt and Avalanche Peaks

Dad and I enjoyed a memorable wildflower-filled hike on these two peaks in Southeastern Yellowstone on 7/3/15.

Trip Report Here.

The Many Faces of Devil’s Tower, Wyoming

Enjoyed the 1.3-mile paved Tower Loop Trail around the base of Devils Tower back on June 29, 2015. Click the photo below for more pictures:

Thunder Swamp Trail Loop

In May 2015 we did a 3-day back-pack of the Thunder Swamp Loop Trail.
Trip Report Here.