| The Hiking Hipster; My First 13er
Gray Wolf Mtn - September 3rd, 2012
Before the Hike:
I hadn't been above 10,000' in over a week, so I was eager to jump on the chance Monday after class. I didn't know where I wanted to go, but I wanted to go. I wanted to pay my respects to Chris Gray and Rob Jansen, who both were sadly killed on 14ers the previous week
I couldn't find out a whole lot about Chris, but he seemed liked by many and only kind words were spoken of him. His last climb was in the Crestones, so he must have been a talented climber. I kept him in my mind throughout this hike. He will be greatly missed and my condolences go out to his family
A difference between my readings of Chris and Rob was that Rob had an entire history on 14ers.com; trip reports, pictures, peak lists, goals, etc. I started looking through his trip reports and ended up reading every one. I never met Rob, but just from his reports and the reports of others, you could tell how nice, polite, talented, and humble Rob was. He was almost done with all the 14ers and had done some difficult climbs like the Maroon Bells Traverse. He was obviously an amazing hiker, but he wasn't portrayed as that on 14ers.com; he was portrayed as a good friend. Rob, you are obviously missed by this community, and I'm disappointed I never had the chance to hike with a legend such as yourself
These two untimely deaths definitely made me look at climbing a little bit differently. My hiking was falling victim to my dumb engineering brain and was being consumed in the stats; how far is the hike, is it a new 14er, how fast can we go.
This hike however, was a tribute to Rob and Chris, and a great day to climb with my climbing partner, apartment mate, and best friend, Ben Haley. I could see how hard it was for the guys of the Brat Pack to lose their climbing partner in Rob over the last week. So instead of worrying about the stats of the hike, I just wanted to spend a good day in the mountains with Ben.
The 6 hour round trip drive for some Sawatch 14ers didn't sound too appealing, and wouldn't really fit into the schedule. So, I looked deep inside myself, and I found my Inner Hiking Hipster . He guided me to 13ers.com and helped me find some nearby 13ers near Mt. Evans. Perfect!
Ben and I left Golden and were on our way to Gray Wolf Mountain after class
We zoomed through Idaho Springs and were on Mt. Evans Road before we knew it. The side of the road still has some pretty nice wildflower action going on.
Changing colors along Mt. Evans Road
I normally make sure the driving speed to a 14er is about 5-10 about the limit and that we get to the trailhead earlier than planned. But today, I was more interested in just acting like European photographers with Ben. We took our fair share of road side stops. Even saw a helicopter buzz on by
Helicopter(left) Echo Lake (bottom center)
The ridge that leads to Gray Wolf (left to right)
We arrived at Summit Lake with greetings from tourists, suspicious clouds, and the ever so popular goat!
Upon our arrival
The Baby Goat
They look fake.. perhaps Chuck Testa?
After a few shots at the lake, we began our hike. Ben and I had done the trail once before on our way to Mt. Evans via Echo Lake. This time there wasn't any wind or snow, so we quickly made our way up the rocky slope
View of Summit Lake and Evans to the right
Looking out towards The Chicago Lake Basin
We made it up the slope quickly and were headed back down again through a shallow basin towards Gray Wolf. The Basin was pretty moggy, but Ben and I persevered(reluctantly)
The clouds were doin some funky things I had never seen before, and within about 10 minutes of picture 15, were shrouded in darkness, as seen in picture 16. Needless to say, I was concerned.
Our goal in the distance, weather lookin okay
Hopefully not another Tornado on Evans... Not today
Clearing up... maybe? No.. yes?
We watched it. Took a picture of it. And then it just left. And opened up to some good ol' Colorado Blue Sky
We then proceeded onward and upward towards the summit along the final ridge
The summit was windy and cold, but welcomed. We ate our food and took our photos while jamming to Ben's iPhone.
My longtime summit partner; a Houstonite believe it or not
Rest in Peace
That flag also seconds as a great parachute
And more sunset
With just a little bit more sunset
We celebrated our success, but it was time to go home. We signed our names in on the summit register as well as Chris's and Rob's.
We walked along a ridge in the dark with our headlamps and saw Denver off in the distance. We were even treated with a firework show from in Denver and a Harvest Moon rising over Denver. Couldn't have planned it better myself
Gazing off towards Denver
The Harvest Moon
The Harvest Moon over Denver. It reminded me of Gotham City. I kept looking for that Bat Signal...
We were the last car at Summit Lake, and ready to come home
Our departing shot
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):