The most engaging life I've ever had

exciting, fun, a little intimidating, definitely worth it.

9.26.2009

Day 4

Got up at 4am and after a quick brekky and cleanup we struck out for the highest point in Utah, known as King's Peak. After a half-hour detour due to some shepherds making their own stinking trail next to the real one, we went the right direction through Gunsight Pass and into a bowl between King and Dome peaks.
(at the top of Gunsight pass)
(next to a cairn just getting into the bowl)
(South King's Peak)
(King's Peak)
(and the trail to Anderson's Pass with Fortress Peak straight ahead and Dome Peak on the right)

It was a pretty steep boulder climb from the pass up to the bowl. I saw my first marmot on the way up. Also saw a couple pikas. The trek across the bowl was pretty tough. Even though it was level it was entirely large boulders with great ankle-twisting gaps between them. We made it alright across that, and reached Anderson's Pass in pretty good time.
(The top of Andersen's Pass~Pretty similar downward view from the top of the Cliffs of Insanity)
(Me)
(Pretty steep mountains huh?)
We took a wary look at some clouds that had been building up and readied for the final 800' elevation gain. (We started at 10,800' and were climbing up to 13,528') We made it up to a false summit about a quarter of a mile and 400'short of the real summit about 45 minutes of boulder climbing later. (It turned out to be closer to 300' short from my guess of where we were on my updated map.)
(Is that the real summit?)
We were the ridge of the mountain for that whole stretch, and when we could finally see west again, we found that the clouds had developed quite ominously. Since it looked like it was going to take another 45 minutes to reach the summit and then an hour and a half longer (at least) to just get back to Anderson's Pass again, we decided to bolt like a pair of scairt bunnies right then and there.
("Bad clouds! No! Bad!")
(overlooking our campsite)
Back in the bowl (which offered no protection whatsoever) it looked like we might have a little time, so we went over and looked at a chute that was offered to us as a shortcut (both up and down) by quite a few sources. We opted to take the long way up, but looking down from the top Dave declared it to be safe, so I followed him into what I will hereafter call "The Cliffs of Insanity." From the top we could see down about 100' and then there was a big gap of nothing all the way to the valley floor some 1000' below.
(Looking up the Cliffs)
(Looking down the Cliffs)
(Views on the way down)

Dave was walking down it like a true mountaineer, but I was doing a cliff-hugging Gollum climb as a regular noob. One of us knocked loose a good sized rock (12"-15'' d) and it bounced all the way to the bottom, and taking some other rocks with it. Even though they were making enough noise on their own, Dave yelled "ROCK!" and we both hoped that there was no one to hear. After it all quieted down again Dave looked up at me and said "Well that was sobering, wasn't it?" And I started planning what I would yell when I followed the rock. Depending on the amount of time I maintained the ability to yell, I decided it would go something like this: "Thanks Dave, it was a great trip, tell everyone I love them, HUUUUUUMAAAAANNNNN!" And though I was fully prepared to use it, and at several times was spreading my body weight across four boulders, all of which were moving, God was good to me and decided to let me make it all the way down without bouncing off the cliff or having the cliff bounce off me!

Just as we got to the first bluff at the bottom of the cliff it really started to lightning and sprinkle, which soon turned into a regular downpour. (Boy were we glad we turned around when we did!) We were running across some boulders and down some giant washes to get to a stand of trees before we got fried. Made it to the trees just as it started to hail, but we couldn't take shelter from it without worrying about getting fried. Fortunately the hail was really small so we just sat with our backs to it, listening to it patter off of our plastic rain jackets until the worst of the storm blew over. After the lightning stopped we went under the trees and ate some lunch. Yay for Applets and Cotlets!
(Hail on the cliffs)
The sun mostly came out while we were eating, so we trekked back to our camp and crawled into our tent like a pair of soaked...nevermind. After a refreshing nap we came back into the world and discovered that we had a neighbor. Some forest service guy named Deems Burton from CA was on his 13th day out with his little Jack-Russel Terrier. Deems came over and visited with us for a while. Sounded like he hadn't had a decent conversation in a while. He thought my (well Dad's) backpack was a pretty amazing relic and took a couple pictures of it. He came back later that evening and offered us a lemon drink/rum concoction of his own invention. Went to bed early and slept really well.

5 Comments:

At 2:05 p.m., Blogger Ben said...

Awesome Post! "Dave was walking down it like a true mountaineer, but I was doing a cliff-hugging Gollum climb as a regular noob." :)

Glad you're getting to enjoy at that awesomeness out there. Thanks for sharing.

 
At 2:06 p.m., Blogger Ben said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 1:38 p.m., Blogger # 47 said...

"and offered us a lemon drink/rum concoction of his own invention. Went to bed early and slept really well."

hmmm, found a new sleeping potion have we? ;P

 
At 11:47 p.m., Anonymous Deems said...

Yep, being out 13 days without meeting anything but moose, sheep cows, cowboys and horses, will do that to ya. Still loading my Utah photos.

 
At 3:11 a.m., Blogger salamun raysa said...

beautiful

 

Post a Comment

<< Home