Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Rarified air

Ok, I have to blame my hiking addiction on my good friend, Dan. Our families were camping together in Yosemite in the summer of 2002. Dan, Rodney, and I hiked Half Dome (8,843'; 16-miles rt). That was one awesome hike. I had to do more of this.

That fall, Dan and I then hiked Mt San Jacinto (10,834') in September and Mt. San Gorgonio (11,500'; highest pt in SoCal) in November (the last weekend before a big dump of snow whitened it for the winter).

2003 became the year of the peaks for me. That year alone, I summitted 20 peaks that were 10,000'+. Here's a quick summary of them...

February 2003
  • Observation Point in Zion National Park (6,508')

July 2003

  • James (13,294'), Bancroft (13,250') and Perry (13,391') Peaks on the Continental Divide in Colorado (and back across Bancroft and James on the return trip)
  • Mounts Democrat (14,148'), Lincoln (14,286), and Bross (14,172), all from the Kite Lake TH in Colorado
  • Byer's Peak (12,804') in Colorado
  • Mt Whitney (14,497'; highest pt in lower-48 states) up the Whitney Trail (22-mile rt) in California
August 2003
  • The "Nine Peaks" of SoCal - San Gorgonio (11,500'), Jepson (11,205'), Little Charlton (10,676'), Charlton (10,806'), Alto Diablo (10,???), Shields (10,701'), Anderson (10,864'), San Bernardino East (10,691'), and San Bernardino (10,649'). It was a 26-mile hike. I went up 8 miles from the Vivian Creek TH to SG, then 10 miles across the ridge line never dropping below 10,000', then 8 miles down from SB to Angelus Oaks TH and biked back to the Vivian Creek TH.
  • Pikes Peak Marathon (14,110') - 26.2-mile trail race starting in Manatou Springs (6800')

September 2003

  • Mt San Antonio (10,064') - 8-mile trail race "Mt Baldy Run to the Top"
Since 2003, I've focused more on biking and running, than hiking. I have managed to do a little more hiking though:

  • Mount San Antonio (10,064') up the Bear Cyn Trail in May 2004
  • Mount San Jacinto (10,834') from Palm Springs (400') in May 2004 (the so-called "Cactus to Clouds" Hike that covers nearly 2 vertical miles of elevation gain)
  • Golden Ridge (ca. 3500') in Juneau, Alaska in June 2004
  • Mount Whitney (second time) via Whitney Trail in June 2004
  • North Dome (7,542') in Yosemite via the Yosemite Falls trail in August 2004
  • Mount Elbert (14,443'; highest pt in Colorado) via NE Ridge route in July 2005
  • Cucamonga (8859'), Big Horn (8841'), and Ontario (8,697') Peaks in the San Gabriel mtns in July 2005
For more details on trip reports and pictures, see my summitpost.org site. There's just nothing like the rarified air of the higher elevations.