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CO 6/9-6/11 Pt. 1 - Independence Pass

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  • CO 6/9-6/11 Pt. 1 - Independence Pass

    Jet Blue hadn't changed their flight schedule for the third year so a late night exit from Boston was the plan. 9:30 EDT, arrive 11:58, MDT. Not so fast... Due to "weather" and an airtraffic control "glitch", we finally were wheels up at 1AM EDT. I really wish I could sleep on a plane...

    Erik decided to get the car washed prior to picking me up at 3:40A in Denver. We would have undoubtedly had superior conditions without that lost 10 minutes .

    The original plan was to drive from the airport to Independence Pass, sleep for a few hours, then do a warm-up tour from the pass. The modified plan was exactly the same, but did not include the sleep portion.

    We got to the pass around 6:30 and were one of 2 cars in the lot.

    Nice to be able to drive to 12,100. You can see the morning's objective in the background on the right. It's called the Cosmic Couloir. Nothing too rowdy - this was a warmup, after all.

    i changed out of my travel/work clothes and we set off skinning up the ridge. Very mellow, right on top of a ridge, outstanding views. From the ridge:


    From afar, it looks like the back side is covered with snow. It's actually a thin strip:


    We reached the top of this unnamed summit. (I claimed it for Spain) IT was Just about 13,000. We hung out at the summit for a few, the tackled the downclimb into the couloir which was a bit spicy with loose rock and nasty fall potential. Clearly, we all lived, so it couldn't have been that bad . The top of the couloir is steep. Like 60+. But only for about 10 feet. It's a steep first one, then it mellows out to about 40. Perfect warmup. I'll post some video as soon as I get it uploaded.

    Back to the car and down the other side of the Pass. To Aspen. We ate some Mexican food, bought some duct tape and moleskin and headed south on Castle Creek Road. The goal for the night was Montezuma Basin under Castle Peak. We were thwarted by an interesting creek crossing at 10,200 so the hike would begin there. We packed up:

    and despite thinking we were going lean, each wound up with 60lb packs. Hideous. Unwieldy. Painful. I was running on fumes at this point - going on 32 hours w/o sleep. Erik was battling a crushing headache.

    Luckily, it was a moderate hike with nice views:

    We had hopes of making it to 12,800 for the night, but stopped at the old Montezuma Mine at 12,500. We set up camp, boiled some water, ate ramen and chicken, drank all our water, took lots of Advil.


    I was in bed by 7.

    Erik set the alarm for 4. Castle's North Couloir up next...
    Good people drink good beer. - Hunter S. Thompson

  • #2
    Timing issues are everywhere...but look where they got you!!!

    Well begun!
    Go for adventure, take pix, but make certain to bring'em back alive!

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    • #3
      WOW... I'm in the envy zone here with the exception of the lack of sleep part...been there, done that, almost killed myself and others trying to drive. I'm impressed you kept on keeping on whilst running on fumes.... Whew!

      Thise pics look fantastic... My kind of country!
      Carvé Diem!
      Energy follows thought

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      • #4
        Nice looking trip + great pix - 60pnds is tough. That's about the max I've ever carried.

        M@
        Skiing Naked is Fine

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        • #5
          Jeebus. Animals. From sea level to beginning your hike @ 12,100 on zero sleep is either enviable or foolhardy. For me, it would defly be the latter. Nice "warmup" @ 60+ at that elevation . Madness sez me. Madness. Can't wait for the next episode tho.
          Dogs' lives are too short . . . Their only fault, really. Agnes Sligh Turnbull

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          • #6
            Originally posted by pulverschwein
            Jeebus. Animals. From sea level to beginning your hike @ 12,100 on zero sleep is either enviable or foolhardy. For me, it would defly be the latter. Nice "warmup" @ 60+ at that elevation . Madness sez me. Madness. Can't wait for the next episode tho.
            What he said! I've done the flight from Boston to Denver and driven to Independence Pass and couldn't breathe after maybe 10 steps.

            Yep, crazy--the bunch of yas! Looking forward to more!
            "Information is not knowledge
            Knowledge is not wisdom
            Wisdom is not truth
            Truth is not beauty
            Beauty is not love
            Love is not music
            Music is THE BEST."

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