| Cupid and the Grizzly
Cupid, a relaxed and gentle peak. Earn Cupid's rewards and be treated to a lovely view from the top.
Further away, Grizzly Peak lurks in afternoon shadow - a giant at rest.
"Sometimes you eat the bear, sometimes the bear eats you."
The sentiment applies to many matters in life and mountaineering in particular. Today, thick gray clouds mask the surrounding peaks. Wet snow flies sideways. My wipers struggle to keep the windshield dry. Back and forth, back and forth, the wipers swing like fence posts caught in a tornado. I sit warm and comfortable in my vehicle - hypnotized by the wipers - dreaming of red sand in Hawaii. The car shivers in the wind. Outside, the cold grey world seems as faraway as the ocean. I'm parked on Loveland Pass. It's eleven o'clock on a Sunday morning. And it's still snowing.
The NOAA forecast a chance of snow mainly before 11 a.m. I'm losing confidence in their forecast. It's now 11:45. I take a bite of the big meaty sub that is meant to be my post-hike reward. Outside, the snow and wind slowly relent. And anticipation builds. At noon the dense cloud lifts. A few minutes later I lock the car and ascend the ridge towards point 12195'. Maybe - just maybe - I eat the bear today.
Cupid and the Grizzly
Grizzly Peak, 13427 ft. (ranked 302 in Colorado)
Cupid, 13117 ft. (ranked 555)
Both peaks are located on the Continental Divide in the Front Range.
Climb date: Sunday, March 13, 2011
Trailhead name: Loveland Pass, approx. elevation 11990 ft.
Distance: Approximately 6 miles roundtrip.
Gain: Approximately 3000 ft.
Short and sweet, this is a beautiful but challanging route. Roads and resorts are part of the landscape - the feeling that persists is not of solitude but of voyeurism. Skiers and snowriders hike up from the pass and drop into the basin. Keystone, Arapaho Basin, and Breckenridge ski areas are nearly always in view. Vehicles go up and down Hwy 6 and Interstate 70. In the warmer months I imagine a hundred people can be seen on top of nearby Grays and Torreys (on this day I saw no one up there). The area around Cupid and Grizzly hums with activity and the peaks provide balcony seats to the action. Exquisite wilderness? Hardly. A lot of fun? Like a spring fling.
1. Plenty of parking was available at the top of the pass.
2. Wore goggles, full-face mask, and microspikes the entire hike. Trekking poles were nice to have.
3. Carried an axe but it never left my pack.
Captions on top of photos.
I shoulder my pack and start up the ridge towards unranked Pt. 12195'.
To my left is ranked 13er Mount Sniktau.
I turn and look back at Loveland Pass. Hwy 6 slices the mountainside.
The wind rushes past.
The ridge to Cupid is veiled by haze. In the distance are Torreys and Grays.
The cloud moves on. Grizzly Peak is unveiled.
Footprints in new snow.
Spring is coming. It's a promise.
I cross the broad wind-swept ridge towards Cupid.
Cupid is friendly and accesible. The summit is close.
Cupid may be small in stature but big in heart. The view from the top is breathtaking.
Arapaho Basin ski resort is near the base of the mountain.
To the south is Torreys, Grays, and Grizzly Peak.
The ridge to Grizzly is guarded on the east by an impressive cornice .
I descend to the ridge from the summit of Cupid.
I scramble down the ridgecrest and pass over the corniced crest of unranked Pt. 12936'.
The closest I will become to an astronaut.
The final pitch up Grizzly's north ridge lies ahead and it is steep.
The view to my right as I ascend Grizzly.
The view to my left.
Grizzly's summit ridge comes into view.
The last hundred steps to the top.
The summit of Grizzly Peak.
The view to the east. Grizzly Peak is a big bear but Torreys and Grays dominate it.
Chihuahua Gulch frames the view to the south. Across Peru Creek are the deep avalanche paths on Morgan Peak.
The view towards the north is breathtaking. Numerous 13ers provide form to a blanket of snow. The distant ridgeline is marked by 13ers Hagar Mountain, the Citadel, and Pettingell Peak. Cupid is at the center of the photo. Mount Sniktau stands over Cupid's shoulder, at upper right. At the lower left, masked by shadow, is the crest of unranked Pt. 12936'.
I hike 100 yards beyond Grizzly's summit to get a better look at Torreys and Grays. I stay off the top of the ridge due to cornice danger.
I return to Grizzly's summit. The view to the west is spacious. The Tenmile and Gore mountain ranges create a rugged horizon.
After 30 minutes on top I descend from Grizzly's summit. An unknown hiker left the summit before I did. The hiker is visible here, in black, passing to the left of the nearest bump in the ridge.
The hiker approaches the crest of Pt. 12936'.
Pt. 12936' stands like a stallion made of snow.
Cupid lies back with open arms.
A tower of rock guards the approach.
A third-class move defeats the difficulties.
Closing in on Cupid's summit.
I continue over Cupid's summit. The ridge continues to Pt. 12195'. From there, the ridge continues down and to the left.
The sun drops towards the horizon as I descend towards Loveland Pass. I take my sweet time and savor the bliss.
Cupid and the Grizzly. I think I'm in love.