Trail Camp to Summit

12,000  to 14,497 to 12,000 feet

August 16, 2003

Woke up in the middle of the night and saw tons of stars. It's unreal how many you can see when you are up high and have no light pollution.

I finally got up and moving around 5:30 a.m.. Woke up Andrew and Kristina ("Good morning campers!") at 6:00. We had breakfast, got water for the day, and packed for the summit. We hit the trail at 8:00.

We took our time as we ascended the 97 switchbacks to Trail Crest. I did not experience the problems I had yesterday. We took it slow and steady. You can really tell the air is thin up here. We made it to Trail Crest and took a short break and some photos.

Then it was off the summit. From Trial Crest you go behind the ridges you see from Trail Camp. Right out of Trail Crest you drop 300 feet and the the trail goes behind the knife edge ridges. After the quick drop in the trail, the trail levels out for a while. Then more switch backs to the top. The four windows are really cool. A window is an area where there is no mountain on either side of you. You cross on a trail with drop-offs on either side. The trail is pretty wide, so it's really not that bad crossing them. I imagine if its really windy, they would be more challenging. 

We made it! The summit was nice. There was no wind and the sun was shinning. It took us about four hours to make it from Trail Camp to the summit. I took a bunch of pictures, checked out the summit hut, and signed the log. Andrew and I set off the find the geocache on the summit. Kristina rested. She was not feeling so great. After about 30 minutes, we headed down. The clouds were building and Kristina needed some richer atmosphere. 

On the way back to Trail Crest, Kristina felt really sick. She laid down beside the trail and puked a few times. Luckily she rallied real quickly. A little rest and water and off she went. 

The clouds kept building as we headed down. It was getting darker and darker. We counted the switch backs on the way down. We counted 97 switchbacks. About five switch backs from Trail Camp, it started to rain and sleet. We put on rain gear and trucked into camp. It was nice to climb into the tent and weather the storm. It rained and hailed for at least two hours. The wind really kicked up and the temperature must have dropped 30 degrees. I rested and snoozed during the storm. The storm produced some of the loudest thunder I ever heard. It rumbled through the canyons up in the mountain. A lot of peoples tents flooded during the storm. It seems the rock wall shelters around the tent are great at blocking wind, but do not drain very well.

The storm ended and the skies cleared. It only rained on us in the mountain. The  valley never saw any rain. So we cooked dinner and went to bed at sundown. Andrew was complaining about his bruised hips from sleeping on just a Z-Rest. I traded him by 3/4 length ultra light therm-a-rest in exchange for him carrying my bear canister down tomorrow. Secretly I think he hopped I would have a bad nights sleep. Too bad, I slept great that night. In fact, I slept great the entire trip. The Mark Rebuck sleep system, foam pad + 3/4 therm-a-rest  ultra light, works great!


Sunrise @ Trail Camp


Morning sun. We are going to the notch in the middle

Will traverse behind ridge

Going up the 97 switchbacks 

View down to Trail Camp

Higher up lookingdown

Snow still around in Aug.

The cables

Trail Crest



Crossing  window

Looking  thru window

Other side of ride

Hey it's a lake

Hey it looks like a Guitar

Iceberg lake

Flowers high up

Thar she blows! First peek at summit

Summit House

I made it! Even signed the log

Backside of Summit House



There were a bunch up here

Last one I'll show

Geocache found at summit

Summit shot



Can't take enough

Coming back down. It's getting darker.

That Guitar Lake again. Note clouds

More clouds

Coming down the switchbacks. Hurry!!!

Post storm results. My tent

Andrew & Kristina's tent

Dinner is served.