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Distance: ~7.5mi’s RT (round trip, the way I did it)
Elevation Gain: ~2400’ (again, the way I did it)
Difficulty: A lot of Class 1 on well worn path to Igloo, some Class 2 goat trail on W slopes of Igloo en route to saddle w/Mtn Boy
Anyone that has read my reports over the years may recall my incessant crying about my job and how I have to go away (blah blah waaah blah) from CO periodically. Do you think this report will be any different?
Here I am on location, in Basalt, CO and I’m about to go into some of that bitching once again. At the beginning of this year, everything was cherries. Not really cherries, but things were good. I was working from home for three months, and I settled into a life of normalcy. Gasp! Wtf is that?
Since I asked the question, I’ll explain wtf that is, at least for me. I rediscovered a labor of love, once again…
IF you don’t know what that picture is, you may not understand. You see, I became addicted to those stairs. I labored up them almost daily for 3 months, clocking in 82 ascents, gaining 164,000’ in elevation and losing ~20lbs in the process. That’s just from Jan 1 thru Mar 23rd (I kept a spreadsheet….such a loser). I even helped shovel off snow a few times and chopped steps for 5 hrs one day to help with ascents. That’s another workout in itself!
Some of my friends were probably tired of getting txt messages from me with just a picture of my watch…with a time. Who does that? The day of my fastest time (32.23), I actually posed for a picture.
Seriously though, it was very therapeutic for me. Life came into balance. I was in the best shape I’ve been in for years. The highs I felt after reaching the top were wonderful! I met a lot of great people up there, regulars as they (we) are referred to as. I started seeing people I hadn’t seen in years, some that were hiking the incline over 10 years ago when I was doing it regularly before work back then. I also met a dot.com girl, and she even hikes like one! ;) She has become a good friend and hiking partner.
"Ta da! Look what I can do! I give you….MOUNTAINS!!!"
Ok, so here’s another detour from my report. Have you ever seen 13,312? I’ve been single for a little while, therefore I haven’t seen any boobies recently. But really? Booby Prize?!
Digression behind. Back to my sob story. Here comes the crying…
The last week of March I went to California….San Francisco area (E Bay in San Ramon)…for 4 months of work. Stress eating. No incline (plenty of hills nearby though). I pack on the pounds. I hiked up hell a couple of times too (Mt Diablo, 3,894’).
I worked on the lower western slopes of that mountain at Diablo Country Club near Danville from April to early August.
In June, I went to Hawaii for vacation, and found another incline! No shit. They’re everywhere now…
While in Hawaii, I also got to hike with some other friends from this site…. :)
We didn’t come up those…that would be illegal.
We came up this instead…
And then I got in some altitude training at 10,023’ on Haleakala (I don’t know how to pronounce that either).
Umm…excuse me. This site is about Colorado peaks, so please, get back on topic. Well pfff…excuse me for having my own conversation down memory lane.
So August finally gets here, and I leave sunny seaside CA for the righteousness of the CO high country. How’s that? Better?
"Is that Grizzly?" ð
Sunday morning I slept in a little, finally leave my apartment by 8:30am or so, making the drive up Independence Pass where I start my hike. I park on the S side of the pass (same side as the bathrooms) and start on the trail. It was hard to figure out which way to go at first, like really, which braid of a trail do I follow? But I prevailed. Sometimes left side. Other times I went with the right one.
Behind me and to the N side of the pass are peaks I’ve done in the past...
Did I say this was a class 1 hike to Igloo? Oh no. Some rocks to negotiate!
I had the summit to myself and I enjoyed the solitude and the views.
Before deciding on this hike, I had read some reports that the ridge from the saddle doesn’t go real well. Looks chossy. I don’t want choss today. I spy a lower work-around to the W side, where I can get on tundra and hike my way back up to the saddle between Igloo and Mtn Boy.
Easy hiking up tundra slopes to summit of Mtn Boy.
I think the summit of Mtn Boy is pretty special. Here it is, tucked in the middle of giants, valleys so green, and with such expansive views! I sat up there and forgot about my work life, and just remembered some great memories, both distant and recent.
Like this one…just last weekend on a neighboring peak. I had a heart attack. And it was a just two days before turning 46.
Yup, sharp shooting pains down my left arm and discomfort in my upper chest/shoulder area. I better lay down. Valerie rushes me on. Suck it up, buttercup. We have another peak to hike!
Heart attack #2, on the slopes leading up to Lake Fork Pk...
I had reconstructive shoulder surgery (complete separation of my AC joint in left shoulder) from a skiing accident in 2006, and in part due to that, maybe, occasionally carrying a pack bothers my arm. Or it’s poor posture. Or it’s lack of muscle in my arms and shoulders and my rotator gets stressed. I don’t know. I’m a mess. Either way, occasionally my arm will get achy and I start to whine. Laying down actually made it feel a lot better. (I didn’t really have a heart attack. I hope.)
While sitting on Mtn Boy, I also thought back to the sign Valerie and I saw not only below 13,460 & Booby Prize, but also the same type of sign was on the old mining road leading up the W slopes of Sayres BM that we did last weekend (day after my heart attacks, quick recovery).
One other fond memory I have is Independence Pass itself. I moved to Colorado in '97 and lived with my sister, her husband, and my nephew for a while in Falcon (E of Co Springs). We went on a camping trip that summer on the 4th of July at Twin Lakes, and we took a drive over Independence Pass. (I might have peed my pants a little on that drive.) That was my first real mountain experience, and one I won't forget! I also remember little Cody (2.5 years old) sitting on a Harley on the summit...so cute! In just a few weeks I'll be going to his wedding in Orlando, FL...sigh...time flies!
Back on topic…
I start hiking back down the tundra toward the saddle, aiming for the snow cornice where I planned to descend into Mountain Boy Park.
At the saddle, I found a goat trail to follow that curved around the slope, then just got on some moderately sloped scree and went down to the high bench below.
This is a good look at the grassy bench that sits below Igloo and is easy access back to Indy Pass.
Looking back at the grassy bench crossing to a break in the cornices, which I used to get back on the ridge of the Cont. Divide…
Back to the 4Runner, and a quick trip down the pass back to Basalt. Yeah, there’s some great perks to my job, living in places like this isn’t that bad! Just need some perspective from time to time!
Thanks for reading,
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
come back to Colorado and not tell me. Great report D. We need to catch up soon.
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