Thursday, June 27, 2013

Sat, 22 June - From peak to peak high on the divide!

An outstanding day high in the alpine zone!  As I left the Colorado trail I meet a couple that is following my blog - small world.  After the CDT breaks with the CO trail it gets really interesting.  Few if any markings or cairns and only faint tread if at all in places. You simply find your own route alone the edge of the divide crossing peak after peak.  This is everything I expected from the CDT. I met up with "E" a few times but otherwise had the trail to ourselves despite it being a Saturday.

The section from Glacier Peak and over Whale Mtn, Geneva Peak, Sulivan Mtn and over Santa Fe Peak was absolutely stunning!  All 12-13,000 foot peaks connected by alpine ridges and lots of wildflowers.  Even met a family of mountain goats.

Around Santa Fe Peak the wind got cold and strong and after descending to a high pass I had trouble finding the trail.  Finally I realized it just went right over a cliff with a huge snow cornice and snow field below.  No sign of a trail and I wasn't even sure it was the right way until I saw footprints and glissade tracks far below.  

I thought I found some footprints and a possible route around the cornice and onto the snow field but as I descended it turned into a full blown rock climb.  At one point a grabbed a large boulder, the size of a large microwave, for support.  Bad idea; it rolled and fell scrapping my leg and cascading down the cliff.  A close call and other than a bruise and scraped leg I made it safely down onto the snowfield and eventually off the steep slope.  Met two ATV campers who were watching my descent and shared snickers bars with me.  One of the most scenic alpine mountain sections so far!

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