First, I got picked up for the Gu Crew for 2014 which is great. I plan on going back to school in the fall without working, so any help to keep running is endlessly appreciated. Plus, getting a little support from a company definitely makes me feel as though I'm starting to do something right.
I've spent nearly 5 months in Colorado now over the past few years. Compared to natives, that is not much time but it is enough to provide a certain degree of confidence whenever I decide to go high. However, no matter how much time one spends in the mountains, the mountains will always provide some new tribulation if you get cocky.
Patrick McGlade had a few days off work surrounding the new year holiday, so he served as our stellar guide for hitting new front range mountains [Rudy had never been to Colorado and Wyatt had only seen one 14er]. After turning down Grays Peak after losing too much of the morning to get down safely, we decided to hit Quandary a couple days later. We shrugged off a snow forecast for Breckenridge, figuring the storm would hit in the afternoon as they so often do in Colorado. Starting up the mountain was jovial and pleasant. We played around and trotted up above treeline. But with about 1500 feet left to the summit, we entered another world. Where below we enjoyed the sun with jackets unzipped and gloves off, we met an almost immediate shift in conditions that only got worse as we kept climbing.
|Enjoying the climb before we reached the storm|
Photo by Rudy Rutemiller
|Suffering on top of Quandary. Note that I did not crop this--that white was up there.|
Photo by Patrick McGlade
|Rolling down the mountain near Wyatt|
|Snow blowing off the mountain well below the storm.|
Fighting the weather up high was the most harrowing experience I have ever had, and I plan to channel that suffering into every new adventure I have for quite some time. I have a new respect for the mountains--a respect that I think can only come with the outcome of underestimation and lucky success.