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(So Close to) Pike's Peak


Until Tuesday evening, I was planning to hike Mt. Elbert - highest summit of Colorado's 14ers - on Saturday morning.  But another check of the forecast - 2.5 inches of snow Friday night, another 1.5 inches Saturday morning, winds 35-50 mph, windchill high of 10° - drop-kicked that plan right into the summer of 2018.  After a couple hours of research and discussing the options with my most trusted advisors, the only feasible shot at a 14er (considering weather & logistics) would be Pike's Peak on Friday morning.  Forecast:  calmer winds, windchill 28°-32°, no precipitation.

Ok!  Let's do this!  Alarm sang it's little ditty at 2:47 am.  Wow!  Why is that going off right now??...Oh!  ADVENTURE DAY!  Was out the door by 3:15, and hitting the trail at 5 am (on the dot!).

Predawn starts make for eerie blog photos:

Ooooooo, spooookyyyyy.  

(It was actually splendidly serene - crisp, autumn air & crystal clear, starlit sky.  That mid-REM-sleep alarm was SO worth it!)

    

Breaking the tree line early allowed for an unobstructed view of sunrise:

     

Funny how still everything looks is this photo:

Well, let me tell you - it was NOT.  I have never in my life experienced wind like this.  Ever.

A closer look at the folks I came upon who, like myself, were hunkering down behind any sizeable wind barrier:

This is where I made the decision to turn back.  With another 600 feet of elevation gain along a mile of exposed trail to the summit, I figured the conditions were only going to get more intense and dangerous.  I took one more look at the peak, swallowed my pride, and spun myself back toward the safety of the tree line.

    Had the joy of passing through this fun little area a second time, though:

Huh...I figured it had to do with the wind whipping silly hikers around like a child throwing sand around a sandbox....

    

As peaceful as the predawn ascent was, the mid-morning descent was spectacular!

While not reaching the summit was a major bummer, the adventure was awesome, and I'm glad that I made the attempt.  Shoulders have been dusted off, chin has been lifted, and eyes are set on the next challenge:  R2R2R (a.k.a. Rim2Rim2Rim a.k.a. Rim Cubed a.k.a. Double Crossing of the Grand Canyon) on 10/6.

Thank you so much to Rudy Project, ASICS, and Betty Designs for your unrelenting support throughout this endeavor!  13 down - 4 to go!

And a special thank you to the folks who continue to support our fudraiser for More Than Sport by donating to 17in2017.  You're awesome!

Garmin file from the attempt:

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Rim to Rim to Rim by Cait Snow  on  November 04
(So Close to) Pike's Peak by Cait Snow  on  September 23
Via degli Dei by Cait Snow  on  August 15

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