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Pyramid, Gothics, Armstrong, UWJ - 2/13/2013

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  • Pyramid, Gothics, Armstrong, UWJ - 2/13/2013

    Had never been on any of these peaks before so this was a bit of an adventure. Left St. Huberts around 8 am. Pretty warm out - 28 degrees.

    Smooth going up the road and up the Weld Brook trail to the col. Would have loved to use my skis on the road if I was doing an out and back - pretty much perfect conditions. A dusting of powder on the Weld Brook trail steadily increased in depth until I was standing in about 10 inches of new powder in the col. Reached the col around 10:45.

    Threw on the flotation tails to my MSR's and headed up Pyramid. Really tough work breaking trail up Pyramid - 2 steps, 1 step down most of the way. I was a bit nervous that I was going to be in a cloud on the summit - it was snowing and the summit of Gothics was obscured. Finally popped out on to the summit and was ecstatic to see the whole Upper Great Range visible, just below the clouds. Calm weather on the summit, so I hung out for about 15 minutes.

    From Pyramid, I moved quickly down to the col and started up Gothics. Much less snow here - the new powder was very light and was being blown away in the light wind. Got up on to the summit ridge fairly quickly. Stepped slightly off the trail to take a picture and promptly fell into a spruce trap. Fortunately I was only in up to my waist. Tried rolling out, but the snowshoes were stuck under a thick, crusty layer of snow. I spent the next 5 minutes using my trekking poles to annihilate the crusty layer, which did little to loosen up the snowshoes. Figuring that the shoes were stuck under a branch, I started to dig behind me, using the trekking poles to loosen up the crusty snow and flinging snow with my hands. Another 5 minutes or so of digging and I was able to slide back and roll out of the hole. Definitely a scary experience, the thought of being stuck in a hole on a summit ridge was a little unnerving.

    Finally made the summit around 12:45. Spent about 10 minute soaking in the views before making the uneventful trek to Armstrong. Another 10 minutes on Armstrong and I was off to UWJ. Broke a trekking pole while buttsliding, when the pole planted in the snow on the wrong side of a tree. Made it up UWJ without further incident, and got great views of Giant, Nippletop and Dix.

    Headed down UWJ - knees starting to feel it a bit, and I was wishing I had that other trekking pole to take some pressure off of them. The tracks of some postholer started on top of the UWJ subpeak. No evidence of any sort of traction device. Either they gave up at the subpeak or thought they had summited UWJ because the tracks went no further. Fortunately the powder was still loose, and my between my snowshoes and buttsliding I was able to smother most of the postholes.

    Returned to St. Huberts around 5:00. Solid day.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/alexbelensz/ - 1st photo is from today
    "Doubly happy, however, is the man to whom lofty mountain tops are within reach."

  • #2
    Great photography

    Your photos on your flickr account are ridiculously impressive! I was looking at the ones from your Pyramid-UWj trip report to see the current snow conditions in the Range, and came across some of your pics from the Tetons, etc. Wow! You've got some great ones in there! I really like the one from the Toll Road too.

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    • #3
      Much appreciated! Although I always say that it's the scenery that does 99% percent of the work...
      "Doubly happy, however, is the man to whom lofty mountain tops are within reach."

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