On the morning of Sunday, June 24 I rose with the sun in order to squeeze in an ascent of 14er Uncompahgre. This 14,309 ft gem is visible from many positions in the San Juan Range.
I first laid eyes on Uncompahgre last summer while climbing other San Juan 14ers. It was, then, an imposing rock protrusion that was surrounded by a moat-like soft snow field. I thought about making a run up it last year, but discussions with other climbers at Mean Jean's made me reconsider. I had just swam through a half-mile of soft snow on Handies Peak, so I wasn't inclined to jump back in.
|Uncompahgre (rt) from Redcloud last June|
We started the climb just after seven. I really enjoyed talking to them. We ascended together until we were well above tree line, but I had already told Matt that I planned to test my ankle with some running. The alpine trail was great for running, so I began to run at about 12,800 ft.
It was a fantastic day to be high. The sun was bright and warm, the wind was minimal, and the temperature was warmer than usual. I remained in shorts and a tech t-shirt all the way to the summit. Once there I put on a light wind jacket even though it wasn't really needed.
I remained on the summit for 40 minutes, taking and posing for pictures and eating, while waiting for the trio to arrive. I began to believe that they had turned around because I was never able to see them on the approach trail. So, I jogged away from the summit and met up with them while down climbing the rock features leading up to the summit. We said our goodbyes and I continued to run the rest of the descent.
The ankle/achilles were fine and that nasty toe only griped a little. It was a great mountain run! I ran the 3.5 miles to the trail head, then continued to run down the jeep road. Near the end of the jeep road I caught a lift with Cary, from Boulder, because I was tired of breathing in dust from the endless line of four wheelers that speeding up the road. That ride allowed me to make it back to Lake City by noon.
Here are some of the photos I took during the climb.
|Matt and Natalie early on the climb|
|Natalie just above tree line|
|14ers Wetterhorn, near center, and Sneffels, barely visible through the forest fire smoke, center horizon.|
|Some class four scrambling near summit.|
|Mostly good view here.|
|Stephanie, Matt, and Natalie when we cross paths|
|Oh, come on . . . I feel like Charlie Brown.|