Rocky Mountain Life
Summits for MS Conquers the Crestones
Last weekend the Summit County crew decided to head south and take our chances with the weather forecast. Since the Rocky Mountains have been in full on monsoonal flow we've seen afternoon thunderstorms for almost two weeks straight and the forecast for this particular weekend was no different with storms starting earlier on Saturday.
Upon arriving at the trailhead we surveyed the weather, taking note of the storm currently sitting directly on top of our destination as well as another front lingering to the south west. "Let's just start walking" has become the M.O. for our groups so we shouldered our packs and headed for Cottonwood Lake at the base of Crestone Peak and Crestone Needle. While most people opt for hiking in from the other side of the range we chose the shorter yet steeper road less traveled, AKA the Rick Route.
Although we were initially concerned with route finding on this trail it turned out to be fairly straight forward. What we hadn't counted on was the massive swarms of mosquito's covering every square inch of the trail from start to finish. These were some high altitude skeeters as they didn't relent even as we crossed the 12,000 foot mark. After a little bit of rain, a ton of mosquito's and about three and a half hours we landed in the basin and found Bryan and Heather, who had approached from the other side and found a perfect campsite.
After chasing marmots, taking a brief walk to check out the lake and some semi-re-hydrated food we called it a night as the rain continued to fall steadily. 4:30am came rather quickly so we snoozed for a little while finally rising at 5am with boots on the trail at 5:30am.
The climb to Crestone Peak started right outside out tent so there was no route finding issues to contend with. We were about a 10 minute warm-up hike to the base of the Red Gully and from there you basically go straight up and take a left at the ridge. Upon reaching the summit we all refueled and relaxed for a bit but didn't hang around too long knowing that the largest challenges still lie ahead on the traverse to the Crestone Needle.
We parted ways with Heather and Bryan about half way down the Red Gully as we headed for the Traverse. The Peak to Needle Traverse is known as one of Colorado's four Great 14er Traverses so we knew we had our work cut out for us. After a few snow crossings, ledgy downclimbs and gully traverses we found ourselves at the base of the infamous Black Gendarme faced with two options. Given the choice between a sporty 5th class climb followed by a spicy knife ridge or traversing around to another gully we opted for the more interesting route. After everyone had safely ascended the crux pitch and crossed the knife ridge we only had a few more ledge traverses in front of us before the infamous airy 4th class wall that leads to the summit.
Everyone had been eagerly anticipating this wall, some with excitement and some with a bit of dread. The climbing was fun, solid 4th Class with conglomerate knobs making for an exciting airy scramble to the summit. Jeb even paused to snap a picture of Rick and I climbing with a rainbow below us, not a bad way to knock off one of the Four Great Traverses. Once again, with weather building around us we did not hang on the summit for long and quickly made our way to the standard route off the Crestone Needle and bee lined it for Broken Hand Pass.
The down climb back to camp was uneventful and we were soon packed up and beating steps down the trail as the clouds built. A quick detour on the Marsh Route and a driving rain storm kept the otherwise benign walk out to the car interesting. Everyone took at least one spill on the now rain slicked slabs before getting back to solid trail and putting the hammer down to avoid the wrath of the super skeeters that live in those woods. We stopped at Amica's in Salida for pizza and beer to celebrate another successful outing in Colorado's Rocky Mountains.
For another perspective on the trip visit www.summitsforms.org and consider making a donation to a worthy cause!
What's Happening in Summit County
Ski Season Opening Days
When do the lifts start turning? Here's the list of some favorites!
Loveland: October (?)
Copper Mountain: Friday, October 31st
Keystone: Friday, October 31st
Breckenridge: Friday, November 7th
Winter Park: Wednesday, November 12th
Vail: Friday, November 21st
Beaver Creek: Wednesday, November 26th
Steamboat: Wednesday, November 26th
Ski Cooper: Saturday, December 13th
(all dates subject to Mother Nature's whims)
Frisco Haunted Mansion
The former Frisco community center at the corner of 3rd Avenue and Granite, is being transformed into a Haunted Mansion, thanks to the Town of Frisco and the Mountain Mentors Teen Program, Activities Run By Youth. The Haunted House will be open from 6 - 10:00pm on Thursday, the 30th, Friday night, for Halloween - and Saturday, November 1. The Haunted House is recommended for ages 7 and up, and you’re invited to drop by for a good scare for a good cause.
7th Annual CAIC Benefit Bash
Krystal 93 is proud to again be a sponsor of this ski season kick-off party on Saturday, November 8th. Join the Friends of C-A-I-C to raise money for the Colorado Avalanche Information Center. You can buy tickets in advance when you click here. Your ticket includes a door prize ticket, two free beers, catered food, live music from Shakedown Street, and they’ll be giving away over $50,000 of gear! Buy your tickets now before they sell out!
What's Happening At Krystal 93
Back to the airwaves for the 12th season, Tom Fricke will again bring you all the fun from the snow every weekend on Krystal 93. Tune-in every Saturday and Sunday morning between 8 & 9 all thru the ski season, and you'll hear skiing and snowboarding, snowtubing, snowmobiling and all the other fun we have on the snow! Thanks to our SnowShow sponsors at Bighorn Toyota in Glenwood Springs, Blizzard Skis, Tecnica Boots and FlyLow Gear.
Every Thursday evening, Krystal 93 presents an hour of great music and conversation on eTown, a radio show recorded in Boulder. Every eTown show is taped in front of a live audience and features performances from many top musical artists as well as conversations about the world around us. Tune in to Krystal 93 every Thursday evening between 7 & 8pm for eTown!
Krystal Blue Plate Special
Every weekday morning just after 11:30, tune-in when Tom Fricke plays a set of blues tunes. You'll hear a set of three blues tunes, ranging from rootsy to rockin'. Just in time for lunch, we have your Blue Plate Special every weekday.
Krystal 93: The Most-Listened-To Radio Station!
Year after year, radio ratings companies measure the listening audiences of local radio stations. Year after year, those ratings show Krystal 93 to be the Number One rated radio station in Summit County with a listening audience nearly triple that of our nearest competitor. If you have a business and want to reach the most people with a discretionary income in Summit County, you need to advertise on Krystal 93!
Krystal 93's Fresh Tracks Tuesday
New music this week includes fresh tracks from Trigger Hippy, Umphrey's McGee, Big Data and The Wheeland Brothers. Get more information and hear these tracks on our Fresh Tracks page.
The 1st of two special shows celebrating the deluxe re-issues of Led Zeppelin IV and Houses of The Holy will be featured on the Krystal Concert.
Top Local News Stories
Moose Loose in Vail Area
Moose have been reported recently in the Lionshead area along West Meadow Drive. If you see a moose, please do the following: Keep a safe distance, Do NOT approach a moose to take a picture, Move slowly, Keep dogs on leashes, Moose view dogs as predators, and your canine could cause a moose to fear for its life or safety and finally, Back off when a moose puts its ears back, rolls its eyes, makes any noise, or otherwise appears aggressive.
Hiker Sustains Critical Injuries on Mt. Royal
On Sunday, October 19th, around 4:30 p.m. the Summit Rescue Group responded to a report of an injured hiker at the top of Mt. Royal. The hiker had fallen 15 to 20 feet, landing on a pile of rocks, sustaining life threatening injuries. Flight for Life attempted to locate a landing zone, but was unable. The patient which required continuous advanced life support care had to be transported by a litter down to the bike path, where the helicopter could safely land and transport the patient to a hospital in Denver. No other information about the hiker was made available.
Parking Fines in Breck to Rise
It will cost you more in fines if you violate the time-limit parking in Breckenridge. Effective December 1st, fines for the first ticket will go to $30, instead of the current $20. The second ticket will cost you $50, the third will cost you $100. If you do not pay a parking ticket fine within ten days - the fine will double.
...more news on the Local News Page - including the latest Summit High School Sport results.
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