Peak(s):  Eagle Pk A  -  13,205 feet
Date Posted:  03/15/2009
Date Climbed:   03/12/2009
Author:  Furthermore
 Winter Moonlight Cristo 13eener, Eagle Peak  

Eagle Peak 13,205
March 11-12, 2009
~11.1 Miles, ~4300 gain

With two days off and only a few days left in winter, I decided to try to sneak in a few thirteeners. My plan was to camp at Rainbow Lake and complete the cirque of thirteeners in the area but marginal weather halted that idea. My wife and I left Denver around 10:30 and made our way to the trailhead. I was anticipating on parking at Rainbow Trail Camp but due to the lack of snow I was able to drive another mile before the snow stopped further progress. We started hiking by 2:30 and made the 3.2 mile hike to Rainbow Lake. We didn't have to put on snowshoes until the last mile.

After setting up camp, I decided to start breaking trail for the next morning. Fortunately, I didn't have to break that much trail since the snow was firm. From Rainbow Lake, I was able to scout a scree gully which would guide me up the northeast ridge of Eagle Peak without using snowshoes. I returned to camp, ate dinner and went to bed by 7:00 PM.

At 2:15 AM the alarm went off. I packed my daypack, ate a bagel and was hiking by 2:45 AM as my smart wife stayed asleep. Once I hiked out of the trees and was hiking around the east side of Rainbow Lake, I was able to get a better view of the peaks. They were socked in with clouds. Eagle was trying to appear but the other peaks deeper in the basin were completely clouded up. I still decided to continue even if it was just for one summit.

Once I reached the top of the scree slope, I had to strap on the snowshoes. I followed the ridge through the trees as the bright moonlight made my Tikka look dim. After about 1/4 mile of snowshoeing, I was out of the trees and on a snow free ridge. From here, I could see the clouds dancing off the summit of Eagle; the moonlight in the background. I continued upward as the moment was very euphoric.

When I got closer to the summit and when the clouds rolled in, the moonlight bled away into a deep darkness. The rocks on top of the peak were engulfed by the clouds, and were slick since they were freshly coated with frost. This made the last 300-400 vertical feet slow going. I reached the summit while in and on a cloud around 5:20 AM. Good views today! While I took out a snack, the clouds cleared up for a moment. During the clearing, I could see the large Foehn-wall that encompassed my other peaks that I had planned for the day and at this point, I decided I would return to camp. Subsequently, I could see the next wave of clouds creeping my way.

Since it is such a heatwave on the summit of a 13eener, in the middle of the night, in the winter, I hastily abandoned the summit and returned to camp before sunrise. I went back to sleep and woke up at 10:00 AM. My wife and I ate breakfast, packed up camp, and headed back to the car.

Home sweet home.

The Foehn-Wall is coming.

The moon is going, going...


Good summit, ey.

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
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 Comments or Questions

03/20/2009 21:55
dawn, you made it up the peak and back to camp and was asleep before the sun popped up. Derek, that‘s classic, man. Glad to hear you‘re feeling better to get out.
The views from the summit must have been mesmorizing!


Did you get back before your wife woke up?!!
11/30/2010 17:28
Sorry the weather didn't hold out long enough to make all the backpacking/camping/2 AM start come together to help you bag a bunch of peaks. But, this way you'll get back in there when you'll have a chance to see something.

I had to look up Foehn-Wall!



I am speechless.
02/05/2011 00:22
Nice tent.

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