10.10.2004

"Indian Summer"

The weather here had a brief warm up, just in time for the weekend. Thursday I was scraping frost from the car, and Saturday and Sunday it was sunny and in the low 60’s. We have to enjoy it while it lasts though, low temperatures are going to drop into the 20’s, and it might snow Tuesday…

I did climb another mountain, but I wasn’t really intending too. In fact when I got home to look up its ranking, it turns out that it is way down on the list at "only" 613th. Why would I climb a peak so low in ranking, when there are so many centennial peaks left on my list? I’ll get to that in a little bit, but first the hike that led me there. Today after lunch I headed off to East Vail to hike the Deluge Lake trail, a steep 4 mile trail that leads through aspen and pine forests to a little lake tucked away above treeline. The trail is pretty demanding, but the views of the Gore Range peaks, towering right above the lake, and to the Sawatch Range in the distance makes it well worth it. The routes up the peaks above the lake looked pretty serious, but the northeast slopes of one just north of the lake looked really good, and I had the time to go for it. In looking at my topo map, I found that this peak was an unnamed 13er at an elevation of 13,041 feet. It also looked to be one that I have had my eyes on all year, but I wouldn’t be sure until I was on the summit. There are two peaks that dominate the view as you travel eastbound on I-70 through Vail, they are the most recognizable in the entire Gore Range to the locals and visitors alike. I have always wondered how to get to them, and their west faces look pretty serious. Much to my delight, the peak I climbed today from the east (and much more gentle) side, turned out to be the southeastern of the pair, as when I got to the summit I had a clear on axis view straight down the highway. I had finally found the peak that had been staring me in the face every time I drove to Vail! The views from the summit were great; you could see the whole town and front side ski runs of Vail, and several 13,000 foot plus peaks of the Gore Range beyond to the north. So even though there are more than 600 peaks in the state that are taller, this “little” guy made for quite the rewarding climb in its own right.