September 13, 2006

Longs Blizzard

Last weekend Jake and I backpacked up to the campsites at 12,000 feet on Longs Peak with the intentions of climbing at least one route to the top over the course of two days. Late Friday night, after Jake finally arrived in Denver after missing his flight out of Portland, we drove to the trailhead, arriving at 2:00 am. On top of being dark, it was also raining, which led to us spending the night in the car rather than hiking up to meet our other two comrades already on the mountain. By 7:00, the rain became intermittent, so we began hiking. We crossed the snow line somewhere around 11,000 feet, entered a mild blizzard at about 11,500 feet, and set up our camp in a pretty good snowstorm at 13,150 feet. As soon as we had the tent set up (around 11:00 am) we crawled inside and spent the next 20 hours there. We did exit the tent for a brief period at 4:00 pm to find some water, which we had to dig down through the snow to find, but it beat melting snow with the stove. The following morning the snow had stopped, but the visibility was worse. We managed to climb up to the keyhole at 12,500 feet before turning around, packing up the tent, and heading home.

Despite the fact the we encountered what we determined to be the worst case scenario as far as weather conditions went, we had a great time camping out in a heinous storm high up on Colorado's most famous 14er.

1 comment:

Ian said...

Love it when that happens! Crazy Nick and I spent the night under a huge boulder in the North Cascades on an attempted climb while it snowed and rained on us.