Winter in Colorado

Zero degrees and a thirty mile per hour wind–the exact conditions I had been waiting for, to finally put my Denali winter weather gear to good use! Mount Royal and Mount Victoria, just outside of Frisco, Colorado, provided the climate I was looking for on December 10th, 2012:
Mount Royal
Winter on Mount Royal, Mount Victoria – Trip Report.

Snowmass–14er Finale!

My family and I visited Colorado in the midst of the worst of wildfire season this past summer, so my Dad and Uncle John could join me on my final 14er, Snowmass Mountain.

Mount Evans goats

To acclimate to the altitude, we first drove up Mount Evans, where we said hi to some mountain goats and walked around the Mount Goliath Natural Area, famous for its ancient living bristlecone pines.

Bristlecone Pines

As a warm-up hike, we visited Crater Lake to admire the views of the Maroon Bells and Pyramid Peak, one of my favorite places in Colorado.

Maroon Bells

And, finally, we spent two full days making a successful ascent of Snowmass Mountain, a beautiful journey amidst the wilderness of the Elks.

Snowmass Mountain

Chincoteague Island, Virginia, in pictures








Looking back on 2011

This past year was all about training for a 20-mile hike in the Bridger-Teton Wilderness with my Dad and Uncle John–who first did this Paintbrush Divide / Cascade Canyon Loop in 2002. Where there had been wildflowers that year, there was deep snow in 2011–thanks to an epic snow year in much of the West. We were glad we had trained as much as we did for mileage on the trails in Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia and Virginia–but the snow was a whole different animal and required ice axes and crampons.

These training hikes turned out to be a lot of fun in themselves, starting with a 3-day backpack of the Tuscarora Trail in February. In the spring, we did a 10-mile figure-8 tour of Catoctin State Park in Maryland, then an introduction to the Standing Stone Trail and the 1000 steps on Jacks Mountain in Pennsylvania, then some more Tuscarora Trail and Appalachian Trail section hikes.

And in June there was Colorado. I did a fun solo climb of Gash Ridge to Blanca Peak and Ellingwood Point, even though I fell short of my plan for 5 summits that day, and I brought my fourteeners-to-climb count to down to one after completing the hike to Culebra Peak and Red Mountain on a windy June day.

Our family trip to Montana and Wyoming in July included some hikes I will never forget, including short hikes to Lower Grinnell Lake and the Swiftcurrent Pass / Garden Wall to Point 8,479 hike in Glacier National Park, followed by Bunsen Peak in Yellowstone and–the one we had been training for–Paintbrush Divide to Lake Solitude and Cascade Canyon in the Tetons.

Now almost the end of January, I am finally getting around to updating the website with 2011’s trips, and looking forward to getting out more in 2012.

New Camera!

Trying out my new Canon Rebel T2i (click on the photo to see full-size):

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Colorado 2010: Mountain Blitz

My goal this year was to climb as many of the remaining 14ers (and Centennial 13ers) as possible in 9 days in Colorado: August 19-27. The first and last days were travel days, so they were out, and I allowed for one rest day. The trip ended up going very well, and Jupiter Mountain was the only mountain on my itinerary that I could not get to.

August 20th to 23rd I spent backpacking from Purgatory Trailhead to the 14ers above Chicago Basin. I had a nice campsite at 11,000 feet, and succeeded in climbing Sunlight Peak, Windom Peak, North Eolus and Mount Eolus.

goat

Worried my toes were going to fall off during my rest day in Silverton, I bought some new hiking shoes for the rest of my vacation. The next day, I broke them in on a 16 mile ridge-walk in the San Juans: hiking to the summits of “Sundgog”, Sunshine Peak, Redcloud Peak, Point 13,811 and Point 13,832. This day turned out to be the unexpected highlight of my trip.

views

At this point my time was almost up, so I camped in American Basin, on the 26th hiked to the summit of Handies Peak to watch the sunrise, then drove to Denver to get one night of rest before my morning flight home.

reflection

Trip totals:
10 mountains (7 14ers, 2 centennial 13ers and a lower 13er),
22,975 feet elevation gain,
66.9 miles.

This leaves 4 14ers to climb (Blanca, Ellingwood, Culebra, Snowmass), and I am even more excited about some of the Centennial 13ers I will climb in the future, some of which I got first glimpses of during this trip while in the Weminuche Wilderness: The Trinities, Arrow, Vestal, Jagged Mountain, et cetera. There are always more mountains to climb.

Pennsylvania Meanderings

On Tuscarora's Summit2009 has been a busy year. But between life I managed to explore more of my home state than I’d ever experienced.  Some highlights included hikes to Flat Rock, Pole Steeple, and the summit of Big (Tuscarora) Mountain.  Holly and I went upstate for a week in September and took a day to visit Pennsylvania’s Grand Canyon, and I did some section-hiking of both the Appalachian and Tuscarora Trails.  As always I am finding time to enjoy the great outdoors; now snow is on the ground, hunting season is almost over, and 2010 is right around the corner…
Hiking

Back to the 14ers…

In the second part of my 2009 trip West, I got back to climbing some of the 14ers on my “Hundred Highest of the Rockies” list. I finally got all my trip reports and photographs organized and online.

Wetterhorn Cliffs

After some rest following the Grand Teton, I took a day to drive exactly 600 miles south to camp below the trailhead for Mount Sneffels. I climbed Sneffels the next day. After another day of rest, I climbed Wetterhorn Peak, followed immediately by a 3-day backpack to Navajo Basin to climb El Diente by a relatively unknown route (the North Buttress), traverse to Mount Wilson, and finally climb Wilson Peak. I wanted to climb Gladstone Peak as well, but that didn’t work out on this trip. The beautiful weather I had for Sneffels and Wetterhorn was replaced by thunderstorms and waves of hail during the backpack, which kept things interesting.

On Wilson Peak

Now only 11 fourteeners to go!

Grand Teton Time!

I have been wanting to climb the Grand Teton, so my friend Logan and I signed up with Exum Guides to climb Upper Exum Ridge. We made it to the summit on July 22 on a bluebird day in Wyoming. Read the full trip report for the details.

Lieback Pitch

Mountain Hiatus

With the economy in the dumps and my life stuck in the rat race, there is just too much other stuff going on right now to spend any time traveling out west to climb mountains, but I will be back eventually. I hope to improve my website in the interim, considering I still have to catch up with digitizing my 5 years of experiencing the mountains of the West (2004-2008). For now I am trying to get out once a week to the woods of Pennsylvania, and that is keeping me happy.