Friday, January 02, 2015

Mount Lady Washington

I like to make goals for each year. In the past a lot of these have been performance related and I have some modest ones this year as well, but as I get older and slower, I'm trying to concentrate on just making sure I do some cool things. One goal I came up with for this year was to climb 52 unique summits - averaging one per week. I did Flagstaff on New Year's Day and today Mark and I went up Mount Lady Washington (MLW).

MLW is a satellite summit near Longs Peak. It is 13,281feet high and requires about 4000 feet of climbing to reach its summit from the Longs Peak trailhead. Despite only a thousand feet higher, climbing Longs Peak is roughly twice the effort of climbing MLW. Which is why we headed for MLW. While it was quite cold today, there was almost zero wind - an extremely rare event in January.

This climb is merely a hike and went very smoothly. We didn't see many others on the trail, just five on the way up (two headed for the Keyhole Route on Longs and three headed for Martha's Couloir on MLW) and three on the way down (possibly headed for MLW). We put in the winter shortcut track on our way up and improved it on the way down. There was some serious postholing in a few short sections, but no big deal. Above tree line I was surprised to see the trail completely covered in snow. This is usually blown off this time of year. Mark and I wore Microspikes on the way up and they proved nice traction.

It took us 3h17m to reach the summit and by then both of us had pretty cold feet. Mark was in leather boots and I was in plastics. I also had footbed heaters in boots. Nothing else was cold on me. We took a couple of short breaks to eat/drink on the way up and one on the way down. We did the roundtrip in 5h25m and were back at the car well before noon. It was great morning at high altitude.

Fifty summits to go!

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