Just before leaving the office on Friday to go climb some more mountains, I got a response to a partner request I posted on the 14ers.com website. I planned to do a moderately technical climb on Pyramid Peak on Saturday and thought it would be good to have a climbing partner.
I met up with Heather at the Maroon Lake Trailhead Friday night, and we began climbing at 0330 on Saturday. The climb was great all-around, but the highlight was the ever-so-friendly but mute goat.
We encountered him on the way down (we climbed up the Northwest Ridge and descended the Northeast Ridge, which is why we didn't see him on the way up). He walked towards us for a while with inquisitiveness written all over his face. I know he wanted me to pet him, but my inner voice wouldn't let me. I had my super-zoom camera with me, but I couldn't use its potential as the goat was too close.
Another picture of the goat, still refusing to talk
As the goat was in the trail, and the complex and steep terrain was not conducive to going around him, we slowly chased it as we continued to descend. Eventually, he disappeared and reappeared behind us. At this point he had a look on his face that said, "Hey, where you guys going? You just got here. Don't you wanna play?"
The climb itself was a great class 4 scramble with interesting route finding and a couple of fun cruxes. I'm convinced our circumnavigation (up one ridge and down the other) was the best way to climb the peak.
Pyramid's 'irregular' summit
Pyramid from low down on the Southeast Ridge
On Sunday I drove to the next trailhead south, camped, and got up in the morning to hike up Castle and Conundrum Peaks. Heather went home, so I was on my own this day. Most of this area is covered with undesirable scree, so I climbed up the the only route that still held snow - the Conundrum Couloir. Only 600 feet in length, the couloir averages 47 degrees. I was there so early (0600) that it was still quite icy. Had I slipped, I probably would have ended up in the beautiful lake below. Come to think of it, something like this with warmer water would make a great amusement park ride!
Conundrum Peak, with the Conundrum Couloir in the center
I topped out on Conundrum at 0700 after a long approach and a short but fun climb up the couloir. I scrambled across the ridge connecting Conundrum to Castle, and descended the Northeast Ridge on Castle Peak, completing my second fantastic tour in the Elk Range in as many days.
Castle Peak from the top of Conundrum