Craig Hanneman and David Markwell flew to CO from the west coast for a weekend of training in the Rockies as we prep for our imminent departure to Everest. I fly out in only 6 1/2 weeks, so it was great to attempt a winter ascent of a 14-er with a couple of my climbing partners allowing us to further test our gear, gain some fitness, and compare notes on logistics, preparations, gear, etc. We were going to attempt Longs Peak, but due to a storm that came through on Thursday/Friday, we adjusted our plans on the fly.
We headed to Breckenridge on Friday and got in a full afternoon of skiing in blustery conditions but on fresh snow, which was really sweet. The next morning we attempted a winter ascent of Quandary Peak’s east ridge, which was one of the only routes on a CO 14-er without significant avalanche risk due to last week’s storms and the rotten base layers of snow due to our early winter drought. We made good progress on a blustery day and pushed all the way to 13,500′ before being turned around by 60+ mph winds on the upper slopes. It wasn’t worth pushing things, so we called it a day at that point and headed down. We accomplished what we wanted to though and feel all the more dialed-in for our upcoming Himalayan adventure. A few pictures of our fun day in the wind are available by clicking on the picture in this posting above.
We skied Breckenridge again on Sunday and enjoyed one of the best ski days of the year for me thus far, so it ended up being a terrific weekend of fun and training.