I live in a 1,000 square foot house with one closet. Why it's so challenging to find things in it, I don't know. Winter caught me by surprise. Where are the gaiters? Microspikes? Oh, I guess I need my snowshoe boots--running shoes don't cut it anymore for hikes. Though there's not quite enough snow to ski yet, it is coming, and I have no idea where the ski wax is. The dog needs her own wax, a concoction called Mushers Secret that is supposed to stop snow accumulating on her fluffy paws.
Over Thanksgiving, some visiting friends and I hiked up the backside of Mount Howard (8000'). However, as is typical with a larger group, we didn't get going until nearly two pm, which left us little choice but to only hike a couple miles and turn around. So a couple days later I decided to take on the climb again.
This hike is one I do every year and forget how steep it is until I am back on it. Conditions vary wildly from packed snow to ice to knee deep unconsolidated powder (today's conditions). You never know what you are going to get. I started out with a fat biker, who eventually got tired of hike a bike and turned around.
|A rare flat spot to ride|
I continued on solo, slogging uphill and thinking that if I wanted to turn around, I could. However. I feel like people need to be comfortable with being uncomfortable. Plowing through deep snow at a slow rate of speed, going uphill steeply, isn't easy. But there's a line we all have, the "turn around" line. I'm not talking about the danger line, which we have as well. This is the "I call BS on this expedition" line. It's good to push that line every once in a while.
|Looking down several thousand feet|
So I did, at the blazing speed of less than two miles an hour (just a guess, since having a Garmin would be too demoralizing and annoying). Finally I reached the sunshine, which perked me up considerably. After that it was just a slow knee-deep push to the summit.
Nobody was around, which isn't unusual. This is a tough one to sell people on, despite the reward at the top.
|Gondola summit building. The tram only runs in summer.|