| Lightening,Thunder, on Huron - Oh My!
Having dropped my lovely wife and daughters at DIA early Saturday morning for their annual trip back home to South Dakota I found myself with a rare weekend to myself. What to do, what to do...
Actually, I had already planned a date with my old nemesis, Huron Peak. I say nemesis as Huron is the only 14er I wasn't able to summit on my first attempt. As it turned out, she wasn't going to make it easy on my second try either...
Seeing as I got a late start, there were already clouds in the sky and forecasts called for afternoon thunderstorms I pushed my CR-V to the 4WD TH. The 4WD road only had a few sketchy spots. I left the TH at 9:30.
The trail below treeline was steep, but very well maintained (thanks CFI) with no snow.
First look at the summit - below the basin.
I was making good time and hit the basin, and the first snowfield, at 10:30. Looking back at the snowfield.
Owing to my late start there were plenty more folks coming down than there were still going up.
After crossing the basin I noticed some folks attempting to glissade down with varying degrees of success. I think the snow may have been a little too sticky by this time of the day / year.
At roughly 12,500' a light drizzle started to fall which turned to sleet. A less than encouraging look at the horizon.
Ridgeline to Browns Peak to the north.
Snowpack on the west side of the summit waiting to go...
Made the summit by 11:45.
Ate a little, drank some water, had my picture taken, took a few photos of other folks and then the excitement started...
Some of the other hardy souls on the summit with me at the time (a total of 7 of us) started commenting that their ice axes and hiking poles were humming - a.k.a. singing like the proverbial canary in the coal mine - yipes!
Needless to say, this had our utmost attention until about the loudest thunder crack you care to hear on the top of a mountain erupted sending us scrambling off the summit as fast as we could go. Pandemonium ensues.
Someone had the presence of mind to suggest we space ourselves for relative safety sake. This was good advice that we tried to follow in our mad dash off the summit. I tried not to be too much of a "tundra trasher" and stay on the trail, but I must admit I took a few short cuts as did the rest of us scrambling for cover.
Made it to the basin in 45 mintues. Recognizing that we hadn't heard any thunder since the summit we all seemed to breathe a collective sigh of relief, get a grip on ourselves, slow our pace and enjoy what was left of our hike.
Huron, my old nemesis, if it's true that a mountain has a personality then I think it's safe to say you and I do not get along.
In memory and tribute to John J. Stiefvater, 11/28/32 - 3/26/09.
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):