So far the winter months have been going very well. I have been getting out and climbing a ton. The first weekend of December my friend Morgan and I decided that we were spending too much time sitting around and we needed to go into the mountains. We decided to try the cables route on Longs Peak in the winter.
Climbing in RMNP - Andrew Plagens
We left my house around 11pm and got to the trail head at midnight. Morgan drives a GMC Safari van so we slept in the back until 4:30am. Right after we woke up we set off on the trail, hiking in the snow and hoping to reach the base of the route at sunrise. As usual we were a bit ambitious with this goal. We reached the view of Chasm Lake at sunrise and spotted a line on Mt. Meeker that I knew as Dreamweaver. It is a perfect line up a big couloir on the north face of Mt. Meeker. I had only briefly read about this route and had virtually no information with which to attempt this climb. So we decided to climb it anyway.
We hiked about a half mile more around Chasm Lake to the base of the climb. At this point we put on our crampons and grabbed our ice tools. We simul-soloed up the initial snow slope to the base of the couloir. The climbing to this point was a calf burning snow slog. At the base of the couloir Morgan and I began to simul-climb. Morgan led the way, dry tooling M2 or 3 rock around the powdery snow. Morgan stopped halfway up to take a picture, but his camera had froze in the frigid cold conditions.We simul-climber the entire first section of the route, which ends on a giant scree ledge/ramp at the top of the Flying Buttress.
Once we reached the half way point we scoped the upper section of the route. As I would later be warned, no ice forms on the upper half in the cold winter months. Not wanting to dry tool the entire upper section we decided to descend. We began to scramble around the Flying Buttress to the couloir opposite of Dreamweaver. To get to the couloir we first had to scramble about 200 feet of class 4 rock. We down climbed this easier couloir to its base and began our hike out. After a lot of cold hiking and trudging through the snow we arrived back at the van at 5:45pm. We had had quite a full day and were quite tired. When we got back the house we had a celebratory pizza, and then fell right asleep. It was truly a great day in the mountains.