observations on gear, adventure, and the world

Lone Peak: Third Time Not a Charm

This attempt at Lone Peak was live-ish blogged on 12 October 2011, and updated to include more details that my frozen thumbs could handle.

It’s two days after I crested the west ridge above the Lone Peak Cirque. In years of trying. Years of picking the wrong day, not reading enough about the route. Bringing too much. Having too little time. Hiking up the wrong drainage. Reading blogs from old farts who had made it up there while I was coming back empty handed. I was there. I was looking into the Cirque at last. I was at 9600′ and I had come farther than ever before to fall short.

The climb, as I’ve noted before went well until about 8500′ feet, when the Jacob’s Ladder trail met the Draper Ridge trail and the trail left the southern aspect that had been keeping my feet dry and warm all day.  I’m quite proud of how fast I climbed in my 16oz Merrill Trail glaves, but I was unprepared for how deep the snow was once I left the south facing trail. The snow had buried the trail and even the carrons. I spent three hours post-holing around, climbing to the ridge and searching for the carrons. My feet lost feeling soon after I left the Jacob’s trail. My Asolo’s likely fared only slightly better than the Merrell’s I really needed my 4 lb Vasques and snow shoes.

My feet lost feeling around noon. By about three PM I was looking into the stormy cirque. I had thought it wise to turn around several times and had climbed exposed granite to see if I could get a better view of the trail. But now it was time. So I did.

My toes still feel numb. 48 hours later.


This photo is from the top of the ridge looking east into the cirque. There seems to be a bit of weather over there.

At this point my feet had been without feeling for hours and I was out of calories, but I was riding an incredible wave of stoke from getting to this point! After quite a battle with reason up on the ridge (that’s sort of like a Phish quote) I turned around.

Next time I’m bringing my vasques and arctyrex pants for the climb if there’s any snow… and maybe my snow shoes… or skis

Here is my Suunto’s account of the experiance:


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