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Colden 1-28-2020

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  • Colden 1-28-2020

    Hiked Colden via Lake Arnold early Tuesday morning with a 3:20am start. I was hoping for the best (weather and time wise.) I was planning on going later in the morning but I'm glad I didn't. I would need all the time the day offered to do this one. Signed in and off at 3:25 headed down the Van Ho trail to Marcy Dam. Hillsounds from start to finish. Very minimal coating of snow until the upper reaches and summit but still pretty menial compared to last years monster of a winter we had. Made quick work of that and onto the next 2 mile stretch. All said, about 2 hours to do the first 4 miles, now 5:30ish. I had no expectations of getting a sunrise and very shortly I would understand exactly why. Started up the steepening sections and started moving very slowly. Maybe 20 pounds on my back. I hadn't made it very far and by now it was 6:30. As the sun lit up the sky it was more than clear there would be no views. Complete soup, no visibility period to look forward to. The reason I started so early was because one forecast predicted clear skies between 6:00am and 11:00am. Nope, not even close. I made it to the last 1.4 mile section shortly after and took a break and contemplated turning around. Sooooo no views and a substantial amount of work for basically nothing (sort of.) As I sat and rested, a group of maybe 10 (unknown to me) birds perched above and sang a good morning number. They really seemed quite interested in me. I decided to press on (not because of the birds, but that was nice.) Very slow going in light of the fact the trail is in amazing shape. All powder from start to finish, not one lick potential danger up or down. I was fully aware of the false summit and was eagerly awaiting it to show itself. It seemed to take a lifetime. I havent hiked since August and my last winter high peak was last March. I'm definitely not in top form. I hate to admit it but it simply doesn't matter... Took me about 2+ hours to walk that last 1.4 miles step by even slower step. Got to false summit, saw the bump and the true summit and knew there was no turning back. Bumps, false summits and true summits always seem worse when looking at them from afar (except the Tongue range, ha.) I hoped and knew it would go faster than it looked. The whole trail is 95% downhill on the way back so I looked forward to making up some time there on the way down. Over the bump and onto the true summit at around 10:30ish for not one view of anything but the suns haze and snow falling. Funny thing is.... It hasnt really been cold cold anywhere lately. Same was true here. I mean dont get me wrong, it was cold but one of the tamest winter summits I've tagged. I hung around up top completely alone for around twenty five minutes taking lots of pictures until my fingers and face started to hurt. The wind was whipping but nothing too scary. I was excited that the way down would almost certainly be uneventful and not dangerous as the trail is basically a sledding hill of made of cotton. No large steps, steep ice or the like. Started hauling down and was quickly over the bump and back at the false summit moving with purpose. Ran into my first person of the day barebooting up. Ai ai ai! To note, I also took hundreds of pictures today. All sorts of weird snow formations, vegetation, etc etc. It def sucked up a lottttttt of time. I figured I've got all the time in the world and if I'm not getting any views up top might as well go all out on the photos along the way. Made it down all the steeper stuff and headed towards the dam. I was crazy tired out at this point but still maintaing some sort of speed (I guess.) Was sluggish from the dam back to the Loj. Arrived at 2:30pm and was happy to have reached my 23rd total HP, my 12th winter HP and 12th solo HP. My winter numbers are still on top but not by much. It's always a pleasure to be out there, no questions. It just beat me up today.


    No worse for the wear so all in all a total success.
    Last edited by salt; 01-31-2020, 03:49 PM.

  • #2
    Lots of photos indeed, nice...thanks


    • salt
      salt commented
      Editing a comment
      Hahah. Thats just the ones that made the cut. Think the original number was 291. My pleasure, thanks for having a look.