Sunday, February 21, 2010

Meadow Mountain 11,632'

(Please send me photos if you have them!)

On Saturday, Walker and I met up with Jeremy, Ryan and Mike Wanger, and two of Jeremy's friends: CJ and (it might have been) Robin. Originally Jeremy and I had planned on doing Mt. Audubon or Toll but with the added length of the Brainard Lake Rd being closed and a high avalanche warning for most of the front range, we decided to attempt Meadow Mountain, a much easier peak further north.

Apparently Meadow Mtn affords fantastic views of Longs Peak. As predicted however, it snowed for most of the day Saturday. We never had much visibility so seeing Longs wasn't going to be an option. We got a somewhat late start but moved quickly up the road to the Saint Vrain Trailhead. The trail heads west for quite some way before crossing a valley and then climbing up a "small" mountain in front of Saint Vrain Mtn. The trail was visible for the most part, but only just so because wind and heavy snowfall had filled much of it in.

We discussed board games, poker, and work. During one of the steeper sections, Robin and CJ called it a day. The five of us hiked up out of the trees and grabbed a 10 minute lunch before losing the trail shortly before gaining the ridge between Meadow and St Vrain Mtns. It didn't matter though because the route was obvious. Upon gaining the ridge, we left our snowshoes and began the final .3 mile push to the unimpressive summit. Here it began snowing in earnest, big fat flakes. The terrain consisted of slick snow covered rocks interspersed among deep pockets of wind blown powder. Those with poles excelled.

Shortly thereafter, we sat on the leeward side of a snowy windblock atop the summit and shared a piping hot cup of lapsong suchong tea, pored into Walker's thermos 6 hours earlier. It hit the spot. Knowing the falling snow was obscuring our tracks, we retraced our steps, descended back to treeline, and fairly flew down the now well-packed trail.

This is the perfect introduction to winter climbing. The route is very safe, and short enough that many have a good chance to summit.

Congrats to Mike, who had never before donned snowshoes. He broke trail longer than anyone else.

1 comment:

kne said...

thanks for the trail report. I plan on snowshoeing March 6 with some people