Saturday, August 16, 2008

(At)tempting Fate; Winter, Abate.

Myself, Rachel, Craig.
Two days ago, Craig, Rachel and I decided to try and climb Mt Yale. The forecast was calling for the first snowfall of the season in the high country and buckets of rain everywhere else. When we left Denver on Friday afternoon, almost two inches of rain had already fallen. But as we climbed toward Buena Vista, the rains dried up, and when we pitched our tents on the side of the road at Denny Creek Trailhead Friday night around 9, it was actually dry. This wouldn't last.

Railroad crossing south of Leadville.
Road into Leadville.
About 15 minutes after we crawled into bed, the rain started falling. It was followed by lightening, and shortly thereafter, thunder. This continued all night, with some of the most aggressive strikes coming just as we were waking up to start the hike. Along with the lightening came heavy rain, but no snow. Unable to hike safely, we decided to drive up Cottonwood Pass in search of some of the fluffy white stuff, but as the picture shows, we were out of luck.

Church and road into Leadville.
Our hike halted by danger, we drove back into Buena Vista and asked an old man where we should eat breakfast. After breakfast, we asked the counter girl about hotsprings near by. After deciding unnamed hotsprings didn't meet our expectations, we decided to drive home through Leadville. That's when the trip got interesting.

Church near Leadville.
The farther north and east we drove, the more snow we saw, and the lower it'd fallen. By the time we reached Climax Mine, the snow was just outside the door, and it was beautiful. Blue skies were breaking through to our west and dark clouds framed the white summits to our east. We stopped a few times to take pictures before running into a "December-esque" winter scene at Eisenhower Tunnel on I-70. With Loveland Pass closed due to snow, we waited a while longer than usual to make it through the tunnel. Finally down the mountain, we agreed that next time we decided to go hiking in the high country, we'd listen to reason and respect the rain.

Late-morning mist over Clinton Creek Lake.
Clinton Creek Lake sits just west of the Ten-Mile Range.

Yeah, this shot was from today, 16 August. No, it was not taken last December.

more pics:
Mt Yale attempt 16 August 2008


Andrew said...

Dude those pictures are really awesome. I can't believe what the weather has been like lately, my dad bacpacked Wednesday and thursday night but we lucked out and had nice weather. See you Monday?

Bryce said...

Damn. I miss Colorado.