Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Triahtlon at Cornhukser State Games

Karl Schaphorst, One of the Landmark Group Endurance team Athletes plaved third place overall at the cornhusker state games triathlon last weekend. Great Job Karl.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Mt Humboldt Peak - Sangre de Cristo Range

In Mid-June, my daughter, Jordyn (Age 17), and I made a climb on Mt Humboldt. This was a great hike. I would recommend doing this over a 2 day trip. Accessing the Trail head is via a 4-wheel drive mountain road. The topo maps call it the Upper 2Wheel drive road, but they are lying. Do not attempt this road unless you have 4-wheel drive vehicle. You can get details on accessing the trail head and map of the area from http://www.14ers.com/ Lots of good information at this site. The first nearly 3 miles is hiking up a wide, former road, a little monotonous, in a valley with trees on either side. Scenery is blocked by trees frequently. Once we reached the lower Colony Lake the scenery was amazing. We camped that night on the south side of Lower Colony lake with a view of Mt Humboldt to the North and the Crestone Peaks to the West. The scenery was amazing. We planned a two day hike, reaching the upper Trail Head at about 9:30 AM. Then reaching the Colony Lakes by mid afternoon. We set up camp and settled in for the evening, which comes pretty fast in the shadow of the mountains. Our plan was to schuck all the weight we could and make a dash for the summit the following morning. I had decided to take the "West" route up the mountain, route #1. Next morning we hit the trail around 7:00 AM, after a nutrious warm freeze dried powdered eggs & ham pouch. The keyword here is warm. It did taste good to have something warm in our stomachs after the hike the day before and the cold morning air. Up until now I had pretty much planned ahead and was prepared. What I did not take into account was this was the "West Route" which means it accesses the summit from the West side of the Mountain, in other words the shaddy side of the mountain. It was a frustratingly cold hike in the shadow of the mountain nearly the entire hike. The sun was shining bright and brilliant on the the peaks to our left and right, but we were struggling to stay warm in the high winds above tree line shadowed by the peak. The only way to stay warm was to keep moving. We were in good shape and moving at a good pace. This is Class 2 hike, which means it is a scramble in places around bolders and over large rocks. You will need to use your hands in places to pull yourself up to the next step. There is a section below the false summit where finding the trail is difficult. You just have to scramble on towards the next rock pylon (pyramid) that you can hopefully see, watch your step, exposure is not fatal, but it is a factor worthy of consideration. Keep in mind you are carrying a pack, your center of gravity has changed, add to this the high winds trying to push you over, then you get the picture.

At the false summit, we took a break behind some bolders to rest. The summit was in sight, maybe another hundred yards and another 60' or so feet in elevation gain. We were both cold, fingers numb, despite wearing thin gloves. We were wearing all our layers, but both wishing we had brought one more layer of clothing. I took a good look at my daughters face and I could tell we had pushed past the "having fun" point. Being cold and uncomfortable, we decided to declare victory at the false summit and begin our descent. Note to self: Even though it was June attempt, don't underestimate cold temperatures in the shade at 14,000 feet, bring warmer gloves for frost bite prone fingers and another wind breaker layer. The descent went much faster through the bolder field below the false summit, soon our numb fingers warmed up at lower elevations. The scenery looking to the south and west is breathtaking. We had a grand view of Crestone Needle Peak, this peak is rated the most difficult climb in Colorado for good reason, the peak is true to its name, rising to sharp point at the summit with obvious exposure to fall being great. I took good note of this peak and logged into my mind as a future climb that would be quite a challenge. There are 3 different 14,000' peaks in this immediate area, with another 2- 14ers close by. I will back to this beautiful area for future hikes. If a group had some time and willing to pack in enough supplies for establishing a base camp at the Colony Lakes, multiple peaks summits is possible. I would recommend bringing in water filtration system instead of backpacking in all necessary water. No fires were allowed at the time we were camping, this means staying warm is a factor in the cold mountain night, bring warm clothing and plenty of energy food. You will enjoy the warm food of a freeze dried meal in the morning and evening. On my next trip I will not bring canned food, instead opting for all freeze dried meals, to save on backpacking weight.

You will enjoy the area and hike, we sure did.