July 16, 2011 in North
3:30 am came early, usually does. Something seemed different. It seemed to be getting brighter. As I exited the tent to get the coffee and oatmeal cranking, I noticed the northern slopes of Spider were becoming quite defined. Full moon! Camera! I tried. Have a look. Not to bad given the time of day. It was about 430am when I finally stopped playing with the camera and got some coffee in me. I was on a schedule and had an appointment in Vail at 6:30pm. I figured if I left camp by noon I could make it to Booth TH by 5:30, home to Edwards for a shower, and back to Vail. Ta-Da. First, I needed to get up on Ripsaw Ridge and visit the summit of Peak H.
Route finding was fairly straight forward. The moon sure was bright. I used the headlamp for about 30 min. I stuck with the snow. It was solid. I shot for the bench at about 12,000′. The sun was just starting to hit the southern end of the cornice on the south ridge of Peak H. I wanted to try the rock first. I felt under qualified as I moved into class 5 moves with a no fall zone. Fun down climb. Fortunately, I only made about 10 moves. I knew as soon as I put on my crampons and started wielding the ice axe that I was making a better decision. I was still solo. I love that feeling of doing everything I can to make my next move work. I was only on the steep snow for about 20 minutes. It was awesome. Once off the snow, the remainder to the summit was a mellow class 2 scramble. Nice view! All I could think about was how cool it would be to spend some time skiing around in the June Pass area. Talk about out there! I signed the register. 1st since 2007. Down climbing steep snow is a little less intense than rock. Maybe that’s just me. Its one of those deals that has me wanting to do it again as soon as I get through it. I enjoyed the view and picked out some glisading lines for the remaining descent to camp.
Side note: Marmots will chew on your Jetboil and trail runners, try to steal both, and just for good measure, piss on/in said shoes. I’m not so concerned about the Bears in the Gore Range. Keep an eye on the Marmots!
Left camp at noon. TH by 5pm via W. Booth Pass. By the way, its a flower fest out there.