|The easy hike at the start, as the sun rose|
My nerves and a 2am alarm (you have to be off the summit by noon before the afternoon thunderstorms) meant little sleep. The first three hours to the boulderfield was an easy headtorch-lit hike. Then it got more interesting: we climbed through 'the keyhole' to start the scramble along narrow ledges, up a gully, along more narrow ledges to reach the final ascent on slabs to the summit. Snow on the slabs blocked the best route up, but after a few sketchy moments we summitted at 9am to a huge sunny windless plateau with dozens of Colorado peaks laid out before us, and hoary marmots sunbathing on the rocks.
|We didn't die, yay!|
Our next few days were less adrenaline filled: drives along the highest paved road in the US, early morning bird watching near the elk 'nursery' meadow, watching three young coyotes streak down a sun dappled hillside, and collecting Nicky Smith late from the airport as we watched a herd of bighorn sheep with lambs cross the road.
|Singing the national anthem precedes all N. American events|