Sunday, June 10, 2007

Trip Report: Longs Peak, North Face

Longs Peak, North Face

On Saturday, June 9th I had the opportunity to shadow Andrew Councell as he guided Mary and Steve on their attempt of the North Face of Longs Peak. This well-read, young, vivacious couple traveled here from our nation’s capitol, Washington, DC.

We began our day by meeting at the Colorado Mountain School at 1am. Mary and Steve were wide-eyed with excitement and ready to hit the trail. After a short drive to the trailhead, we threw on our packs and started our ascent.

We encountered mild temperatures and a clear night sky as we wove our way up to Jim’s Grove. It was there that we started to encounter 30-40 mph wind gusts as we crossed intermittent snowfields. Once the sun came up, I was surprised at the amount of snow on Longs majestic North Face.

Although both Steve and Mary had trekked high passes in Nepal and sumitted Rainer, they were impressed with the scale and seriousness of this North Face route. At Chasm View, our high point, this lovely couple decided to pause, take in the views, and then call it a day.

While we looked over at Lambs Slide at 8:30 am, the Notch Couloir spewed off an avalanche! The sound was loud. Just a week ago, Park Ranger Jim Detterline had taken two rangers up the Notch Couloir and then down the North Face. It seems that the newer snow from this week didn’t adhere to what was already in the Couloir.

The Diamond looked amazing and I wondered what it must be like to climb it. Thankful for having such an amazing job, my thoughts swirled and I marveled at my good fortune, my beautiful daughter and more.

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