Monday, December 15, 2014

Mt. Wilson

On August 30th I woke at 3am in the back of my car.  I was parked at the Kilpacker trail head near Telluride, CO.  One of the bonuses of sleeping in your clothes is the ease of getting up in the morning.  All you need to do is throw on your shoes and coat.  A quick snack and I was on the trail around 3:20, hiking fast to stay warm.  I love hiking through the woods by myself in the dark of night.  There is nothing outside of the glow of your singular headlamp, none of the chirping birds that normally fill a daytime hike.  Just silence and darkness.
I met up with Ken at his tent near the bottom of Kilpacker Basin.  He had a cold night and was about to build a fire when I walked up.  Ken and I had climbed Wilson Peak the year before and this year he had his eyes on Mt. Wilson.  We started hiking up the dark basin instead of starting a fire.  With the large ridge to our east, we would be nearly on top before we were in the sunlight.
As we walked up the trail Ken and I chatted about news from the last year.  He caught me up on his family and work and I did the same.  As we went higher we started to notice pieces of neon green duct tape stuck to the occasional rock along the trail.  The higher we went the more there were.  What a genius way to mark the trail! Leave trash along it!  All total we removed 74 pieces of duct tape, and surely missed a few.

Some of our haul.
 Ken hiked fast.  We were on top early and enjoyed the crisp, quiet summit to ourselves.  On the way down we talked about mountains that Ken wanted to climb in the future, and came up with a game plan and time line to climb them.  Hiking down through the scree and talus that makes up Kilpacker Basin always seems to take longer than hiking up.  The loose rock seems to go on forever.  Soon enough though, we were back at Ken's tent packing it up.

Sunday, December 7, 2014


I drove to The Grand Canyon to meet up with Geoff in November.  It had been a while since we'd seen each other. Funny how we climbed more together when I was in Durango and he was in Northern Michigan than we do living 6 hrs apart. We climbed Zoroaster Temple which required 32 miles of hiking and 20,000' of elevation change.  As always the canyon is beautiful, ruthless and rewarding.  

"If the desert made a sound, it would be a snarl." -Geoff Stroud-Settles

Great climbing with you Geoff!