Peak(s):  "Mt. Solitude"  -  13,090 feet
Date Posted:  03/23/2015
Modified:  03/24/2015
Date Climbed:   03/21/2015
Author:  piper14er
 A tale of many stories, twists and turns   

Solitude or no Solitude that was the question. A pretty good distance, steep below the summit and a lot of vertical. What to do?

I consulted with the seer who advises Ragnar Lothbrok. He said the time was ripe for success. I refrained from licking his hand.

I checked with the Kublai Khan's Chinese astrologer, he gave me this zodiac and told me 2015 was the year of the sheep. I have sheep and a sheepdog. I was born in the year of the horse. Perfect match: sheep. My lucky Directions: northeast, southwest and northwest, ha it is one of those directions to the summit.

I read this quote about solitude and I knew that the z-prime was up there close by.

Am I a nut for trying with 30-40" of snow knowing that it would be warm on the journey out and the snow would be slush. Hmm, maybe not as big a nut and definitely not a yahoo.
(Note: at the bequest of my spouse this image was intentionally deleted as it contained political satire which may not be suitable for introspective adults)
Image #4 (not yet uploaded)

So off I went Friday evening to have the joy of sleeping in my little car at the trailhead.

'Cuz for the first time in forever,
I finally comprehend
For the first time in forever,
I would be up and gone before ten (about 6:00 actually).

We left before daylight and started on the Pitkin Trail. It is a chilly 20 degrees but that is good because maybe the snow will be "frozen"

The start gains elevation quickly as you hike up the badly built log steps. Fortunately that doesn't last long before the trail moderates and you slowly gain the vertical.

The early morning light effuses itself on the landscape.

The snow glows white on the mountain tonight
Not a footprint to be seen
A kingdom of isolation,
And it looks like quite the scene.

Let it go, let it go
Can't hold it back anymore
Let it go, let it go
Turn away and hike some more!

The cold never bothered me anyway!



We bypass one of many slides along the way.

I consulted my map.

It's funny how some distance
Makes everything seem small...

It's time to see what I can do
To test the limits and break through!

Let it go, let it go
I am one with the wind and sky

Here I stand
And here I'll stay (well actually I did keep walking)

The light of day behind me like my small footprints in the still "frozen" snowflakes.

The light has not warmed the "frozen" basin ahead.

I have continued my journey so I may ask my question of the mountain called "Solitude". I have gained admittance to the lower slopes but what song that lies ahead remains to be seen.

I had a dream, Oh, yeah, Crazy dream, uh-huh.
Anything I wanted to know, any place I needed to go

The past is behind me... I'm never going back, The past is in the past!

Okay this is the vertical view.

The rock (sheep)dog.

Sacrifices have to be made, especially to the gods for safe passage up the snow laden slopes. The sheepdog would be the willing victim, lain out on the sacrificial rock that was set there from the heavens.

But fear not, though I was permitted to pass upward with no avalanche to lash my fragile existence, I fooled the gods because I knew of the deep magic that works in these mountains, for in no other mountain range but the Gores is there so many secrets. Those secrets and the deep magic caused Billie Jean to rise again. Yep I rose again, I'm cool, the Gores are okay with me.

The ridge as we kept up our assault as it falls between Climbers Point to the right and unseen and a rocky point that stands in our way to solitude.

The sweeping trail behind.

The rocky point we passed over with Climbers Point beyond.

Solitude is still ahead.

Solitude approaches with lower Vista Peak beyond but solitude is all I need.

Upon hearing a sound on the wind I looked behind and saw the tracks of two beings, men, women or lesser deities that had descended the high steep inclines on what appeared to be boards. Passing strange.

We scrambled across the rock and snow and finally solitude was within our grasp.

(grasp to the left of the rocks)

Grand visages were all around.




Finally solitude (darn if Rangerdude and Powderdaze, whoever they are, made it to the summit the day before me so as to keep me from being the first summiteer of the year, curses).

I could now ask the question that I am sure is also on the mind of many millions of people across the planet.

Me on the summit. Here I stand, In the light of day
Let the sun shine on, old never bothered me anyway!

Just imagine how much cooler I'll be in summerrrrrr.

Actually this is the real me... more of the dark brooding type...

unless of course you know the real me... then really the previous picture is more like me...

I did not like the slopes directly below the peak so I retraced my steps back up and over the rocky points and back down the way I came.

Those crazy board people sure made a nice track.

My less than aesthetic boot prints.

The snow was indeed slush by now and despite the snowshoes from here back to the trailhead (cold enough overnight so that the snow was solid I booted the whole way up and down to the bottom of the drainage) I floundered.

Do you wanna build a snowtrench?
Come on lets go and play
Do you wanna build a snowtrench?
Only if there are ten others that can help you
Else it may take you most of the rest of the day.

My gpx says 11.8 miles and 5300 feet, may well be because of the bit of circuitous way we went up and back.

I went to the doctor, I went to the mountains
I looked to the children, I drank from the fountain.
There's more than one answer to these questions
Pointing me in a crooked line.
And the less I seek my source for some definitive,
The closer I am to fine. The closer I am to fine.

Disclaimer 1: my wife thought that maybe I had eaten one too many mushrooms with Rollo.

I believe I would define this more as chaotic frenetic stream of consciousness... as I prepare myself mentally and physically for the Mummy Kill.

Disclaimer 2: Any resemblance to Shakespeare, the Vikings, the Life of the Kublai Khan, Frozen, Atlas Shrugged, Led Zeppelin, trolls, the Indigo Girls, the prime directive, the notion of seeking solitude or a mountaineer is purely coincidental... and to Brad Pitt, especially to Brad Pitt

A personal note for any that remember...


I have had three great hiking dogs over the past number of years. I started with Gwen, an Australian Kelpie, followed by Merlin, another Australian Kelpie and now hike with my border collie, Billie Jean. The picture just above was taken on a hike to Bartlett Mountain in 2009. Gwen retired herself several years ago (as did Merlin) to enjoy the life of leisure, as she decided that she really did not like the cold anymore. Well probably, just like Bartlett Mountain, Gwen has passed away from this world and will surely be hiking in the next.

Named after the sister of Arthur's Merlin, Gwenddydd, Gwen hiked a number of 14ers with me and well over 100 of my 13ers.

I am more spiritual than religious but I like this quote "One day we will see our animals again in eternity of Christ. Paradise is open to all God's creatures." Pope Francis - December 2014

My GPS Tracks on Google Maps (made from a .GPX file upload):

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
1 2 3 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35

Comments or Questions
Solitude can make a man go mad...
03/24/2015 03:58
So many references in one report! Thank goodness you had Billie Jean (faithful #3) along to keep you from sliding into madness from all that winter solitude. As always, enjoyed the report, Al!

03/24/2015 15:29
Good stuff, Al. Quite the haul up Solitude, especially carrying a longsword and various accouterments. More impressive than the allusions is how quickly you can spin them around into a report!

They are always good...
03/24/2015 16:00
I do enjoy your reports, Al. And you sure have great company with Billie Jean...

as always
03/25/2015 00:20
I am humbled and appreciative that people will comment on my reports, obviously the positive comments are more greatly prized.

Thanks Steve, for remarks about faithful #3.
Ryan as an aside my wife figured that this report might scare people away.
Jay I made it to the top of Kataka weekend before last, trying to figure out what Kataka means.

The secret of getting ahead is getting started.
Mark Twain

Looks like we beat you to it...
03/28/2015 18:05
Myself and Powdaze had some great turns down the SW face the day before! The Gore is where it’s at.

03/29/2015 17:09
sorry about that rangercarl I thought I was remembering I could not quite make our the carl part but maybe dude would work

yes you did get there first this year on the register, since I seem to get a lot of peaks not climbed that much over the winter, usually I find the last entry from October or even earlier the year before

there was good snow for skiing that is for sure, after my last two spring "slushcapades" I am thinking it would be much better on skis than snowshoes

thanks for posting

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