June 10, 2023
The Crags Campground
I arrived at the Crags Campground trailhead around 3:45 am. It was June—when hikers are blessed with the longest days of the year. But even still it was pitch black.
Continue reading “Pikes Peak from the Crags Campground”
May 28, 2021
I arrived via Four Mile Creek Road, shortly after dawn. I parked just after “horseshoe bend” and the last improved structure, in a large parking lot around 11,400′. Among Colorado’s Fourteeners, Mount Sherman is known for having perhaps the shortest vertical ascent. In summer, the “trailhead” begins at a locked gate in the road at 12,000′. But in late May, you need to park roughly 600 vertical feet further downhill.
Continue reading “Mount Sherman via the Southwest Ridge Trail”
May 15, 2021
Mount Elbert’s East Ridge Trail
Mount Elbert sits in the Northern Sawatch Range, just southwest of Leadville, Colorado. At 14,433′ its summit forms the highest point in Colorado and all of the Rocky Mountains. In fact, only one summit in the lower 48 stands taller (Mount Whitney).
Continue reading “Mount Elbert via the East Ridge Trail”
April 24, 2021
Guanella Pass Road
We arrived in the pre-dawn hours at Guanella Pass campground. Or more accurately, I arrived. My hiking buddy that day decided to camp out in his truck at 11,000′ on this cold, snowy spring morning. I tapped the frosted, translucent glass a couple of times to let him know I arrived. And a moment later, an incandescent glow filled the cab, letting me know he was in fact conscious.
Continue reading “Mount Bierstadt in Spring (1.8 times)”
May 23, 2020, Echo Lake Trailhead
Arrival at Echo Lake
In late May, having settled into my new apartment in the Bay Area, I decided to set off on a backpacking trip. This trip would represent my first wilderness adventure in California.
I decided on a stretch of the Pacific Crest Trail near Lake Tahoe through the Desolation Wilderness. From the name alone I knew this would be pretty interesting.
Continue reading “Lake Aloha, and the Desolation Wilderness”
May 5, 2020, Quandary Peak trailhead
Rocky Mountain High
The day began with a pre-dawn drive under the continental divide along I-70 (11,000′) from my hotel just above Golden, CO (7,200′). I sped past the Dillon Reservoir, shimmering in the day’s first direct light. From there, I pulled off the highway and headed south through the resort town of Breckenridge, at 9,600′. After Breck, the road climbed even higher, back towards 11,000′ and the trailhead for Quandary Peak.
Continue reading “Quandary Peak (Colorado)”
March 15, 2020, Atmospheric Sciences Research Center
I pulled into the Marble Mountain trailhead to Esther and Whiteface around dawn. This Sunday, the Ides of March, would mark the completion of my 3.5-year journey to become an Adirondack 46er. I didn’t know much about the forty-six high peaks when I began this adventure. But I always knew Whiteface would be last.
Continue reading “Esther and Whiteface via Marble Mountain”
March 14, 2020, Adirondak Loj
I got an early start from Heart Lake en route to Cliff and Redfield. These peaks lie roughly equidistant from both the Loj and Upper Works trailheads—annoyingly remote either way. The plan involved a traverse to the Uphill Lean-to via Lake Arnold, making fast work of the hike in and gradual ascent. From there I’d tackle my last two summits in the High Peaks Wilderness in height order.
Continue reading “Cliff and Redfield via Lake Arnold”
March 7, 2020, Adirondak Loj
The journey to Mount Marshall began on a largely ordinary weekend in early March of 2020. It was likely the last ordinary weekend of 2020. The novel coronavirus had already begun to increasingly dominate the news cycle. But that was hardly evident on this sunny, beautiful Saturday. Alpine and nordic skiers, snowshoers, and post-holers had already filled the parking lots of Heart Lake. Between the rows of cars, excited conversations took place in both French and English in equal measure. There’s usually one (maybe two) weekends in March where the bright sunshine of nearly-spring and the thick snowpack of a full winter collide. This was that weekend.
Continue reading “Mount Marshall (nearly twice)”
February 1, 2020, Fire Tower Trailhead
Allen Mountain and 46er Procrastination
Putting off Allen for the bitter end is one of the time-honored traditions of High Peaking. According to the Adirondack Mountain Club’s official roster of 46ers, Allen spent decades as, far and away, the most popular last ascent. Only after the 1980 Winter Olympics did Whiteface replace Allen as a more pleasant (and ceremonial) finish. To understand why folks are keen to procrastinate in bagging Allen, one need only look at the stats. Allen requires an 18-mile round trip through brush and bog to bag just one lonely, tree-covered summit. No other peak requires such an enormous minimum amount of mileage.
Continue reading “Allen Mountain”