Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Wilson El Diente Traverse

On September 12th Amanda and I pulled into the Kilpacker trailhead parking lot around 9:30pm and crawled into the back of the vehicle to sleep.
We had tried to climb these two 14,000' peaks together multiple times between 2004-2006, but every time the weather would turn ugly and some combination of rain, hail and lightning would turn us around.  Our weather this time however looked splitter.
We woke at 3am and left the TH at 3:30.  Amanda set a fast pace in the dark and before long we were in Kilpacker Basin and then heading up El Diente.

As we ascended the southern
slopes of El Diente the terrain got gradually more exposed and technical.  Just below the ridge we paused to put on our helmets.  At the ridge the wind picked up a little and the cold bit through our clothing so we kept moving, summiting El Diente at 8am.  The traverse as always requires route finding and caution.  There are many places with loose rock and big exposure.  Amanda did amazingly well for not having been in that kind of terrain in many years.  We finished the traverse and the short section of ridge to the Mt. Wilson summit.  Arriving just before 10:30am.
We descended a slightly easier route back down to the Kilpacker Basin.  If you haven't been to Kilpacker Basin it's basically one giant talus pile. To offer our feet and legs some relief we aimed for the small patches of snow that were still sticking around from last winter.  Boot skiing on the snow was much easier and faster that negotiating the talus.  We got back to the TH at 1:45pm, jumped in the car and headed back to Durango.  My dad was flying into town that afternoon and we had to get back to meet up with him.  What a great day! It was a beautiful day in the mountains with the best wife in the world!


2015 Elk Hunting

For the 5th year in a row family from Michigan came out for the muzzleloader elk season.  We had learned a lot in past years and this year things finally came together.   My cousin Mick who had been out in 2012 shot a 6 by 5 on Tuesday at 6pm.  With everyones help we had the elk quartered and up to the truck by 9:30pm.  I can't imagine how long it would have taken if it was just one guy doing all the work!
Mick's 6 by 5.
On Thursday morning we got some bulls bugling and my cousin Bob who had never elk hunted before got a 5 by 5.  This time we had everything up to the road in 4 hours.  I'll tell you, its a lot of work to haul that much meat up 1,100' to the vehicle!
Ben, Bob, Don Jr., Randy, and Ed.
(Mick came later and Bill supported from the car) 
I always look forward to seeing the Kiessel family during the Elk season.  I'm already looking forward to next year!