This weekend I went back down to the Sangre de Cristo (Blood of Christ) Mountains to hike yet another 14er. I knew the weather would be questionable, so I carried enough clothes and gear to be prepared for anything.
I decided to do a quick trip on Friday evening, leaving Boulder after dinner and arriving at the trailhead at 12:30 Saturday morning. I slept for a few hours before starting the approach. I felt quite out of shape after taking it easy for a few weeks to let my foot heal. After an hour of walking, I felt like I should have been at the top, when in actuality, I had just reached a point where I could see the mountain for the first time.
First glimpse of Mt. Lindsey
The top 1,500 feet or so were a bit snowy, with verglass beginning to form on many of the rocks. I avoided this by taking Mt. Lindsey's Southwest Ridge route (the normal trail stays well below the ridge where the snow tends to accumulate), only to encounter another of the mountain's defenses, 40 mph wind. One stretch of about 100 vertical feet was quite steep and exposed. I was really enjoying myself on this bit when a stronger-than-average wind gust slammed into me. I remember thinking "Whoa!" and then taking a second to remind myself that I was somewhere that falling really wasn't an option, and I needed to be careful. I embraced the wind and took my time through the rest of the steep section, only to finish and wish that more of the climb to the top was like that last stretch.
Final steps to the summit
After the fun stretch, it was a windy scramble-stumble to the top (I'm sure I would have appeared drunk had anyone been there to see me). I spent about a minute or two on the cold, windy, and generally inhospitable summit. The clouds came and went quickly in the high winds, providing an occasional view down into the surrounding valleys. It was now that I realized it was fall and that there were bright yellow aspens all over. On the way up I had passed through the entire aspen zone in the dark. Not so on the way down.