Guyot, Mt - 13,370 feet
RT time: ~6.25 hours (with plenty of dilly-dallying)
Start time: 7:10
My first trip report... I notice it's been a while since someone has written about Mt. Guyot.
I've been trying really hard to stay in shape this winter. I am exceptionally good at getting chubby and out of shape when it's cold outside. I love mountains, but I hate being cold so I don't often hike higher peaks in the winter. But with tickets purchased for Mt. Shasta in T minus three months, I have some motivation to stay in shape. My last trip in the Cascades was a day trip of Mt. Whitney and started out fantastic, everyone was feeling great. And then somewhere on the descent I absolutely lost it. I sat down on a rock and said aloud, "I cannot take one more step!" My feet hurt, I was tired, and everyone was ready to be done. Then I looked down at my GPS and saw we had 7 miles to go. 7!! At that point I almost threw up, I was no longer capable of smiling, talking, or making eye contact. The 'gosh darn its' were flying with reckless abandon. Finally, I left my party behind and B-lined it to the car, screamed at my brother to open the door the second he got there, and went directly to bed without eating anything- I felt horrible. So to prevent a repeat of that delightful side of me emerging, I am trying for a goal of 2-3 peaks a month this winter and spring to maintain some sort of fitness, then some longer days as June approaches. I have generally exhausted all my friends for hiking partners, and I am getting tired of repeatedly going up Quandary and Bierstadt, so I am branching out on the long list of straightforward 13ers I have that are doable this time of year. I was thinking about Silverheels or Mt Rosa but my brother suggested Mt Guyot- a peak that you know, but maybe you don't know you know. You know? I've driven past it many times but never knew what it was. I read some trip reports and it sounded like a nice little hike for the day. Well that's settled.
To avoid ski traffic I left the house at 4:30am from G-town (Greeley- don't judge me) and arrived at the trailhead just before 7:00am. The directions on this site are spot on, easy to find and parking for several cars. The road was muddy in the afternoon, but no issues.
Mt. Guyot is a pretty mountain, and can be seen from far off in many directions.
Walk up the road, which is well packed down, until a little over a mile where you will see a turnoff on the left for Little French Gulch. The trail is well packed down and easily walkable.
There is a well packed trail until about 2.25 miles, then the only tracks I saw were some ski tracks heading into the basin. There was some foot traffic that headed left toward a cabin where the skis split off. I followed the ski tracks and Mt Guyot seen straight ahead. At this point, I gave in a put the snowshoes on. I wore them until I was on rocky terrain on the ridge. Do they make thigh high gaiters? Because I'm pretty sure I could put them to good use when procrastinating putting the snowshoes on. I took my time and dug some holes and enjoyed the views.
The weather is pretty perfect, little to no breeze down low and reasonable temperatures. I see a tree straight ahead of me that seems to be moving but I can't tell. I debate for about 10 minutes in my head whether it is actually a tree or a person. It's like the time I went up Mt. Lady Washington and was stoked to sit on the summit and see two climbers on the Diamond. After about 15 minutes i realize they were actually rocks, or shadows. I need prescription sunglasses.
I debate about where to turn right to gain the ridge. There is a pretty decent cornice overhang that blocks you from gaining it for a good stretch. I go higher in the basin and ascend a rocky band up to the ridge. The tree ahead of me went all the way into the basin and climbed the snow up near the summit, that probably would have been the better choice, easier.
The rest of the route was about as straight forward as it gets. I tried to stay a little left of the ridge to hide from some of the wind. It wasn't all that cold, and compared to my trip up Grizzly D a couple weeks ago, it felt like someone had just left a window open- it's all relative once you've been knocked down on Loveland Pass. Some photos of the upper terrain:
When I got a little higher, it was confirmed that the tree I saw was actually a skier. Too bad I'm slow or I could have taken some nice shots of your descent. This was the only other person I saw for the day. He (or she, I don't know) looked to enjoy the ski down and had a good line from below the summit to the trees.
Almost to the top for me, it was a pretty enjoyable rock hop.
And looking back down the NW ridge
You top out on the ridge and the south side of the mountain has a dramatic drop off with some good looking cornices. They are easy to avoid. Pikes Peak (although the picture doesn't do it justice) was clear as a bell to the south.
The summit ridge was a fun ridge walk (oh how I love ridge walks!). G&T were looking good, and Bald Mtn was prominent to the west.
I wasn't super excited to return the way I came, the rock I climbed up was a little loose and slick. So I descended the other direction, over the SE side. I found a trail that appeared and disappeared, and finally dropped down into the basin. I got a couple of so-so glissades in, practiced some self arresting, and made it down with the sunshine coming out and the winds dying in the basin again.
A look from the east side at the overhang when gaining the ridge too soon.
What a delightful mountain!
I used snowshoes in the basin until the car (because I'm too lazy to take them off, not because you need them the whole time). I brought microspikes that I didn't use, and an axe. 13ers are where it's at!
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