Sunday, August 24, 2008

The 5th great 14er traverse

14 connoisseur Gerry Roach, author of the most popular colorado 14er guidebook, claims that there are 4 "great 14er traverses" including: Crestone Peak to Crestone Needle, El Diente to Mt. Wilson, South Maroon to North Maroon, and Little Bear to Blanca. While I've only done 2 of these, its about time to add another traverse to the list.

Friday evening, in a stroke of both boredom and genius, I packed a bunch of stuff into my car and drove up to Aspen, CO to try to climb a few 14ers this weekend. The initial plan was to solo Pyramid, and then hike into Capitol lake and solo Capitol the following day. It was a certainly feasible, but clearly reckless and dangerous. Phase 1 was nearly complete as I reached the summit of Pyramid Peak in just a couple hours from the trailhead (I was flying). At the summit, I ran into my friend Scot, with whom I had climbed Kit Carson, Challenger and Culebra with a few months ago. We hadn't planned anything at all, but by a stroke of luck we ran into each other. As a spur of the moment thing, we decided to do the rarely traveled traverse from Pyramid peak to Thunder Pyramid, a class 5 scree-fest filled with loose rock, huge drops, and loads of satisfaction.

The traverse only took a few hours, pretty average based on the difficulty of the terrian, and we were off the summit of Thunder Pyramid before noon. I'd say that it was definitely more difficult than any of the other traverses I've done, but it was incredibly fun, and definitely a classic that should be added to the list of any serious peak-bagger. The trail off of Thunder was rather unappealing though, as it was just a slippery walk down thousands of feet of loose rock and talus. Because of this, the descent ended up taking just over 4 hours, which left us worn out but elated as we reached the cars. We had just done a traverse that most people spend months preparing for, and we had done it on a whim. The weather worked out marvelously for us, and there were no accidents with the loose rock, so we lucked out, but we also showed how well the human mind and body can perform under extemporaneous conditions and pressures. I'm excited for the successful trip and am happy that I got to spend the last weekend of my summer doing something worthwhile.

Now its time to think more about the concept of time, because I am going to be needing a lot more of it once classes start tomorrow.

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