10.23.2005

Classic Fall and Fall Classic

It turned out to be a great weekend, for starters it was sunny and in the low 50’s all weekend in the mountains, and of course the World Series was in Chicago. Saturday I spent bumming around town on foot, with such a great fall day there was no need to put the car in drive to run my errands. Then on Sunday I met up with Wells and Chris, both friends from Chicago who now live in Denver, to head up for another climb. Earlier this summer we climbed Torreys together when Chris was up interviewing, and now that he is moved in we all wanted to try and get one more peak in together before the snow sports season starts in earnest next month. We decided to head for a relatively short outing, Mt Bross. The route from the trailhead is only about 3 miles round trip, and only picks up about 2170’ of vertical feet. The peak’s summit is at 14,172’, making it the state’s 22nd highest peak, and coincidentally my 22nd different ranked 14er. The snow from a couple of weeks ago is still lingering around on the high peaks, but the route we took is west facing and the snow was spotty and not very deep. We started out on the trail, but decided to leave it for slightly more challenging terrain. At first we climbed a steep snow slope which had a hard crust of snow. This made for careful steps, but if we kick stepped hard enough we were able to break the crust enough to get a good footing. The top of the slope put us on a west facing ridge that as we got closer to the top got windier and windier. In fact the wind near the summit was probably rocking at a good 40mph and was bitterly cold. I imagine the temperature at the summit was below freezing, and with a 40mph wind that makes for quite wind chill! We didn’t spend a whole lot of time up there, enough for a quick snack and some photos before heading back down. The route down we were like a bunch of kids, as we left the trail again this time to head straight down a snow filled gully. We slid down on our butts, a technique known as glissading in mountaineering terms. This is a very common way to descend in the spring when the snow is firmer, as it doesn’t work too good in powder. Because of the hard crust on the snow we were able to get a few good slides in on our way down. Obviously this makes for a much quicker descent, and when done properly a safer one. A lot of climbing injuries take place on descent, mainly from slipping on loose rocks and twisting an ankle or knee. A good controlled glissade avoids these types of injuries, you just want to make sure you don’t get going too fast. After we got back to the trailhead we all headed for a quick lunch at Wendy’s before heading home in opposite directions. This evening I spent my time watching, getting frustrated with, getting happy about, frustrated with again, and then finally ecstatic with the White Sox. They now have a two games to none lead and are halfway to the World Series title, all thanks to “Mr. Power” himself, Scott Podsednik? The same Scott Podsednik who had zero homeruns the entire regular season won the game in the bottom of the ninth on a walk off against one of the best closers in baseball. The amazing year continues! It never hurts to have a little “magic” on your side in the post-season…