Sunday, September 6, 2009

My First 14er . . . I mean 13er?

Ok- I meant to post about or climb last night, but after coming home, eating dinner and showering I laid down to read and write blogs- but fell asleep.  It was 7:45pm. 

And I didn't wake up until 7:30 am.

Whoa.  I guess I was tired. 

I am finally back from church and have a few minutes before we leave for the CU vs. CSU game in Boulder.  My poor poor legs . . . (we have to stand the whole game in the student section and walk 2 miles round trip to and from our car)

Gotta be big, as Grandma says. 

But I digress.  Here is the saga of our trip up the mountain.

Friday, Chris and I rather spontaneously decided to hike up Gray's Peak on Saturday with our good friends Chip and Sarah.

The hike was supposed to be 7.5 miles round trip, Class 1 (aka: easy).  You can read all about it here.  A challenge, but doable for us (none of us have been hiking in years).

We borrowed Sarah's Dad's Range Rover and we were off!  The road to the trail-head is very very bumpy (hence the Range Rover) but we still had to stop 1.5 miles from the trail head because so many people were hiking that morning.

Or so we thought.

As we walked around the bend, we learned that our informants were dead wrong.  We could have driven the remaining 1.5 miles, but by the time we realized this, it was a little too late to turn around and get the car, so we just marched on.

By the time we actually got to the trail-head, we were getting a little tired.  Additionally, we were a ragged bunch.  Chip tore his ACL last summer and has not totally rehabilitated it.  Sarah had a headache from the time we got out of the car that only got worse.  Chris' thigh was hurting every time he took a step, and I was unable to breath due to seasonal allergies anywhere below tree line.  It was a little pathetic.  But we marched on. 

Here is a picture of Chris and I with our first look at the peak.

Unfortunately, around 12,300 feet, Sarah's headache was getting worse and she started to see black spots so she decided she was done.  Chris stayed with her on the side of the trail and Chip and I kept going up.   This is what Chip and I had left to climb.  (Gray's is the left peak- the right is Torrey's Peak.)

We were in a bit of a hurry because it was already 11:30 am and we still had 1.2 miles and 2,000 vertical feet to climb.  (If you don't know much about mountains - you are supposed to climb in the morning because there are regular afternoon storms that come out of nowhere.  And because trees don't grow that high, there is no shelter, and it is very dangerous.)

As Chip and I were climbing on, we finally made it past treeline so I could breathe as freely as the oxygen depleted air would allow.  Hallelujah!

As far as we could tell, we were the only ones still climbing up, and one guy who passed us walking down, told us, "Keep and eye on the weather, we already saw some snow up there."

Now I was really getting worried.  I didn't want to be that newbie hiker stuck on the top of a freezing mountain (wearing shorts none-the-less!) but we kept going . . . slowly.  

We made it about halfway up the remaining 2,000 feet before it started snowing.

That was the end for us.  It was literally freezing, snow was falling and I was exhausted.  Chip's knee started acting up so we turned around.  This was the remaining trail.

Here I am at our highest point. 

I look way better in the above picture than I felt!  My cheeks were felt raw and numb from the cold.  I remember struggling to form a smile. Weird.

I think it was about 13,000 ft.  Not too shabby.  I climbed my first 13er?

It was quite the trip- my pedometer said we walked 25,000 steps about 11 miles.  I know this is a bit off because my stride was not as long as usual, but it is a good estimate.

All in all- we had a great time (besides the freezing temps, lack of oxygen, nausea, allergies and headaches). Maybe next time we will leave a little earlier, park a little closer and be in a little better shape- then maybe we'll make it to the top.  Maybe? 

(We did have awesome trail mix I will post about later- it was really good stuff.)

Hope you all had a happy Saturday!


SnoWhite said...

wow - what a fun-filled day! Love the photos :)

Sarah said...

That was good trail mix. :)

Mandy said...

The pictures look great! Although it does look really cold...I can't believe it snowed on you!

Mrs. Hibit said...

It's incredible that you can spontaneously decide to go on these adventures. Mr. Hibit's dad has been pestering us to climb a 14er with him for awhile now, but for us it involves loong drives or plane rides, as well as some SERIOUS acclimation to altitude! For a spontaneous trip and adverse conditions, making it to 13K is awesome! I'm impressed. Good work. :)

Emily said...

WHOA! Those pictures are amazing... are you sure the one of your and Chris is real.. it looks to pretty!

SNOW? Already? Goodness.

Kristen said...

sounds awesome, though the snow part seems impossible! It's barely September! Guess winter is right around the corner!

My name is PJ. said...

What a great accomplishment! But only young people would set out to accomplish that, having not hiked in years, with aches and pains from the start! Tell me, do you frequently cause your folks to worry about you?

Your thesis was about Job? Please tell me a bit about it? What and why? Was your major religious studies? I'm fascinated. I love me some bible! :)

Adie said...

That is awesome! I have been talking to the hubby about hiking to hanging lake. It looks beautiful! (and I think there might be a gift shop. That is what motivates me. haha)

Rose said...

I hear ya about the standing for a whole football game plus the walking.I sat for almost the whole ISU game this weekend and my back was still aching afterwards! I think it is a bad idea for ladies who are 9 months pregnant to go to college games..oy!

Looks like a beautiful hike!

Lucy Marie said...

wow! What a great day. I would probably die if I tried to do that.

Shaina said...

This looks like such an amazing day! When I read things like this, I really really wish we lived in Colorado. I love hiking!!!

Emily said...

I'm so impressed you made it that far! Snowing already. Crazy. Good job, what a fun activity!

Rae said...

That sounds amazing.