| Fathers and Sons on Mt Toll
Climb and ski descent of Mt Toll (12,979'), Indian Peaks Wilderness
Crew: Chris (cjw), Matt (pioletski), Bob (Matt's dad)
Some of you may remember my dad from a trip to Grays Peak a couple of years ago. Since then, a few things have happened that remind me how precious a gift it is for us to continue doing these trips together. Our 3rd partner from Grays, Mike, is no longer with us, and Dad has had to deal with some significant injuries. Thus I am grateful for the opportunity to share another day in the backcountry with him.
We chose Mt Toll, an old favorite. OK, it's not a 14er or even a 13er, though it's close. It is an elegant peak with a nice snowfield down its southwest flank. It is also the setting of many pleasant memories of spring skiing; in fact, it was my first ski mountaineering trip. Here is Dad's picture of me at about age 10, with my Head Standards, blue jeans and flannel shirt, on that first outing:
Chris joined us, and we left Brainard Lake at about 5:30 am. To our surprise, 5 days after the summer solstice, we found the Long and Mitchell Lake trailheads already closed for next winter. Talk about a short summer!
Still, that added perhaps 1/2 mile to the hike, and we were soon looking up at Mt Toll from Mitchell Lake:
Here's Bob steaming up the trail:
Chris looking studly:
Blue Lake, mostly white:
Skinning above Blue Lake:
At the col between Toll and Pawnee one gets a first glimpse into the Lone Eagle/Crater Lake basin:
And the view from the top is grand. Southward it's a little complex: r to l, Apache, Navajo and Arikaree, with Arapaho peeking between Navajo and Arikaree, Shoshoni in the middle foreground, and Pawnee in the (left) foreground:
North: Paiute, etc:
Northwest: the Never Summers, which might just live up to their name this year:
East: Blue, Mitchell and Brainard lakes, and Left Hand Reservoir:
Group portrait courtesy of a Mini-Pod and a handy rock:
Chris kindly provided dark chocolate and a dessert wine - a stellar combination!
Now for the real fun. The snow was perfect corn for about 800 vertical feet and marshmallows below that. Chris took a nice shot of Dad mixin' it up:
I didn't do quite so well but got this shot of Chris:
My tracks above the blue part of Blue Lake:
Leaving Blue Lake:
Practicing the Willow Float:
Returning to Mitchell Lake:
And dealing with the dirty mounded snow back to the trailhead:
Happy Father's Day and thanks for reading!
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):