Take 2

Apparently the post I tried to put up here on Sunday didn't work, so here is the abbreviated version. We have been having a lot of warm weather lately, almost summer-like with highs in the mid 70's by me, and above 90 in Denver. The snow is melting fast at the higher elevations, but with all the warm weather it is not going through the usual spring freeze-thaw cycle overnight causing some avalanche problems in certain areas. I cautiously decided to go for a hike on Saturday, this time I climbed the 76th highest peak in the state, 13,865' Mt Buckskin. It is located near four 14ers and thus had spectacular view, but is less climbed than its more famous neighbors. I had the whole peak to myself, despite the 6 other cars at the trailhead. There was still plenty of snow, and it was quite soft. Even with snowshoes I would occassionally sink to my knees. I decided to ascend a snow filled gully, but chose one that paralleled a rocky ridge where the snow had already melted out in case the snow conditions were not good. The gully was a little soft, but it was solid enough to climb to the top of the peak's southeast ridge. The ridge was clear of snow, and relatively flat, all the way to the summit, just over a half mile away. I descended the norhteast slopes to make a sort of circle tour, and then hiked back to the trailhead.

Sunday I went off to check out conditions for Mts Belford and Oxford, which a few friends of mine and I were talking about as a potential Memorial Day trip. The road was clear, as were the several campsites along it, and the trail was clear for the first 1,000 vertical feet. After that there was some snow in the trail, but as I got above treeline the ridge of Mt Belford came into view and it was a good 90% snow free. Looks like next weekend's plans have been made.

Tonight after work I went to see the new Star Wars, you'll never guess who Darth Vader turns out to be... just kidding, you've figured it out I'm sure. Anyway, it was really good, a lot of action and some great lightsaber duels. If you haven't seen it you should go.

Have a good rest of the week, talk to you after the holiday weekend.