As time went by, looks like Chuck made up his mind and found a place that he knows I'll be comfortable in... although I still need the glacier travel training and of course avy awareness. I'm sure he'll help me train, but I don't feel the need to get those classes as badly as if I were doing Denali, but still.. I gotta know my stuff to be safe. He decided to go up to Little Switzerland area, still in Denali National Park, but way lower elevation. Did you click on that link? The pictures are SICK.
To prepare to go to Alaska, I need to make sure I ski a lot, I workout a lot, I'm in the best shape and I sleep in cold and unforgiving conditions. I don't think Colorado has those crazy unforgiving conditions, but it may get pretty bad out there, especially at higher elevations. This is why we decided to head up to the mountains last weekend, with a big storm in the forecast and REALLY cold temps.
Our goal was to climb Father Dyer via the NE ridge. It looks something like this:
The plan was to park the car where the blue and the black like meet, hike up the black line towards the lakes, camp Saturday night where the red line starts and go up the green (which is the ridge) on Sunday morning. On the way down, we'd traverse to Crystal Peak (purple line) and come down the Crystal Peak route back to camp. Pack up our campsite and come back home.
As the week went by, we were following the weather and it looked NASTY. Really cold. We still stuck to our plan. Left Saturday around 8am and drove up... only to find this:
|This may be a LONG weekend...|
|Father Dyer is that pointy peak way back there in the middle|
|Our tent was up, and the clouds were coming back. Father Dyer to the right with a great view of our ridge.|
|Snowy and cold|
I crawled into bed right away. It was DAMN COLD. But Chuck helped the guys set up their tent. I was sort of falling asleep, so to me it felt like it took them 15 minutes, but apparently it was more like an hour. Can't imagine setting camp somewhere like this:
|Headlamp in the snow... Close to camp.|
Despite it being hard to crawl out of the sleeping bag, we all did. Had breakfast, some hot tea and started walking up towards the ridge. While it was not too windy (or at all), it's hard to do anything when it's that cold. It wears you out. But we were all good sports and went for it. Some complaining more than others, hehe. My only motivation was: "If I don't tough it out, Chuck won't take me to Alaska." And I REALLY wanna go to Alaska.
|Chuck, Joe and I a few minutes into our hike|
|We made it!!!! ... to the saddle!|
Surprisingly, I can't wait to get back out there this winter. Just a little more snow and I will be skiing down that thing. The good thing is... my sleeping bag is awesome and apart from being REALLY cold when crawling out of bed. I was mostly warm. So, what's next?