Snowshoeing Rocky Mountain NP

January 5, 2008 at 9:16 pm

Mark and I finished our short work week excited about getting out into the mountains for a day. When we read reports of a wolf sighting in the Rocky Mountain National Park, we knew where we had to go. Dylan also excitedly joined our hunt. The photos from the day are up in the gallery!

We didn’t know exactly where the wolf had been seen, but in order to maximize our chances, we decided to hike in the less popular northern part of the park. Due to the snow from the most recent storm, avalanche hazards were pretty high, so we opted to hike Fall River Road, which stays below treeline and away from avalanche prone areas. There is a map and elevation profile on Dylan’s blog post.

The lower third of our hike was well protected, and even though the snow was coming down heavily, we didn’t feel much wind until about 45 minutes into the walk. We rounded a corner and just got hit with a blast of wind and spindrift. Temperatures hovered just under 30F, so the hike was actually relatively warm compared to many that we’ve done. We walked through the whirling wind and snow, enjoying the quiet afternoon and listening intently for wolf-like noises.

We even had the trail mostly to ourselves. On our way up, we saw only one other group of hikers. We decided to turn around at the 3.5 mile mark, which gave Mark and I a good indication of the distance we’ll have to cover to climb Mt. Audobon or Quandry Peak this spring. On the way down, we were treated to several interesting sights. At one point, the wind had blown all of the snow off the road, leaving only our footprints of packed snow sticking up off the frozen gravel. We also passed a huge group of highschool or college aged kids just starting out as we were nearly finished. They all looked extremely cold in their hooded sweatshirts and tennis shoes.

But, in the end, we did not see any wolves, hear any wolf noises or see any paw prints in the snow. But we’ve got lots of time to keep looking!

First Snow Hike of the Season

December 9, 2007 at 7:47 pm

I’ve been sitting on these photos for more than a week now, but they are finally up in the gallery. Check them out here!

Looking for another quick break from writing, Mark and I dug out all of our winter expedition gear and headed out for a snowy hike up the local Greyrock Meadows trail. It turned out, even though there was several inches of snow on the ground and trees, there really wasn’t enough to use the snowshoes, but the rest of the gear was nice to find and use. And Liv loved running around in the snow for an hour or two.

Unfortunately, we got out to the trailhead and I realized that had packed all of my camera equipment — lenses, filters, flashes — but no battery. So, I left it all in the car and took pictures of the day on my iPhone.

We didn’t make it too far on the trail that afternoon. Just not moving too fast and not too motivated. But it was nice to be outside, if only for a few hours. It would be our last day in the mountains for the year, too.

Snowshoeing Montgomery Pass

April 2, 2007 at 7:49 pm

There’s a few more pictures from the day in the gallery.

On Saturday, our goal of climbing a few more 14ers this spring inspired us to get back up to altitude for just a bit. The forecast was for highs in the mountains of 0C (32F), but the winds were forecast to be near 95kph (~60mph). We decided that high winds would be good practice for the high peaks and went for it.


We left on the Montgomery Pass Trail (just north of Cameron Pass) at around 1:30pm. We were the only car in a parking lot filled with blowing and swirling snow. It’s so cold and windy out that Liv refused to get out of the yellow car. Eventually, we’re geared up and ready for the hike across the road.

Immediately after we enter the trees, the wind disappears! After 5 minutes of up-hill snowshoeing, we were melting in all of our gear and stopped to strip down to just a single fleece. Liv was having the time of her life tearing through the trees and running through the snow. The trail was well marked with blue blazes on the trees, but the ski tracks we were following all headed up to “the bowls”, and we had to break trail for the last half mile or so to treeline.

Blast of Spring

Within feet of the last few trees, the wind was blasting across the open snow at incredible speeds. Liv ran out into the wind-driven blizzard for just a few minutes and came back entirely coated in snow! I actually managed to step out into the wind and take a few pictures of the pass, but I didn’t have the gumption to hike the last 100m (~300ft). The hike down went quickly, and we were back at the car 4 miles and 3 hours after we started.


Snow is soooo fun!

February 14, 2007 at 2:35 pm

So, one more post on the trip up to Lake Agnes last weekend. It’s so much fun to get out and explore the mountains and wild places near where we live, but it’s so much more fun to do it with good friends. My pictures from the day are up in the photo gallery.

Check out the shot of Mark, Ann and I attempting salamba sirsasana (supported headstand) on a frozen Lake Agnes. Well, we tried. Headstands in snowshoes are much harder than they look! Plus, Liv really wasn’t helping.

Headstands on Lake Agnes

Dylan recently acquired a split board, and was anxious to get in some good “turns”. I’m still learning all of the ski/snowboard lingo, but I think the sport is fascinating. Dylan makes it look so fun and easy!!

The split board is a big snowboard that comes apart into two halves. The bindings rotate so that each half becomes a short, wide, backcountry ski! With a pair of skins, he can ski up any hill, on soft powdery snow, and then snowboard down! What a cool piece of gear! Wish I could ski or snowboard. I’d be on this one in a second! When we got up to the lake, Dylan headed out across the icy expanse to quickly climb a beautiful, pristine slope on the far side, and had a ball snowboarding back down.

In the end, a great day was had by all. I hope we get to do it again soon!

Fresh Pow!

February 13, 2007 at 6:03 am

On Sunday, we finally got back out into the mountains. Dylan, Ann, Mark and I all snow shoe’d all the way up to Lake Agnes and back that day. The trail is supposed to only be 0.8 miles long, but the campground you normally drive through was gated and we parked on the side of CO 14. From there, it was about 2.5 miles up!

It was still a great day. The powder was a great consistency to make the snow shoeing interesting, but not impossible. It was an intense (and desperately needed) work out in an incredibly beautiful place. Even with clouds and snow throughout the day, the views were incredible.

I’ll have more pictures up, and stories about Dylan’s split board in a day or so. For now, this is somebody we met at the actual trailhead (still well over a mile from our car). After some egging on from his buddies, he climbed up on top of this house and snowboarded off!


Vedauwoo Postholing TR

February 1, 2007 at 7:36 am

I think I pretty much have already covered the highlights of the trip but I thought I might sum up here. All of the photos from the day are up here in the gallery.

Last Sunday, Mark and I packed all of our serious winter gear into the truck and headed north for a day of snow shoeing in Vedauwoo. We did pack our snowshoes and poles! Almost immediately after leaving the Ft Collins area, the snow disappeared. We drove north for an hour without seeing much more than a few patches of snow on the ground.

The Vedauwoo area sits in a high valley above Cheyenne and Laramie, Wy. We saw lots of snow in the parking area, but it all seemed hard packed and windblown, and we decided we would make better time and be more efficient if we didn’t carry the snowshoes around with us. This was silly. What were we thinking?

The serious post holing didn’t really begin until we headed down the last part of the hill to hit the Turtle Rock trail. I suggested this trail which circumnavigates the main area because it was longer and would give more opportunities for photos. Of course the trail goes around the three non-south facing sides of the formation, and the snow was pretty darn deep for the next 3-4 miles.

We stayed in the snowshoe tracks made recently by some harty soul. Poor Liv performed the snow-porpoise move for most of the afternoon as she hopped through the deep snow. She was absolutely tuckered out by the end of the day.

Yeah, it was a long, exhausting, and rather frustrating hike, but it was also a beautiful and strange place. It was so quiet, we only met two other people the whole day! The wind whistled through the trees above us, but didn’t make it down to the ground. The sun warmed the rocks all around us and they radiated heat and energy back to us.

I love Vedauwoo. I can’t wait to get back and climb. But I’m taking my snowshoes next time!!


Snow Bouldering

January 30, 2007 at 8:56 am

Yes, I’m so desperate to get back on the rock that I pulled off my boots, my gators, my wind shell, and my balaclava to get some bouldering in while we were in Vedauwoo last weekend. I learned that deep snow makes a nice soft landing exactly once.

I think I got the FA on this little boulder north of the main area. I call it “Snow Bouldering is Fun!” V0-.


Holy Saturday

January 29, 2007 at 6:55 am

Mark and I spent the day yesterday on a 5-mile long snowshoe sans-snowshoes in Vedauwoo. I like to call it “The Ultimate Post-Holing Adventure”. It was a beautiful day, and so great to see such a familar place in such an unfamilar state. We’ve spent a whole lot of time in Ved, but never when it had this much snow. It was so quiet and peaceful.

I’ll be posting a lot more pics from the trip in the next day or so.