Thursday, September 20, 2007

McHenrys Notch Couloir - Recon

Mileage, uppage, contemplation

With a day out of the office, a Thatchtop, Powell, McHenrys ridge exploration tour seemed like an appropriate adventure. There’s been much snow above the boulderfield on Longs Peak. I knew that today’s ridge endeavor might not be a go. Departing from the Glacier Gorge trailhead at 6:30 am, I took my time hiking, and enjoyed the daylight.

Past Jewel Lake I reached the Shelf Creek spur and started my scramble up the slopes. For some reason I felt like pushing it, so I chose some 5th class rock in my line. Higher and higher I climbed….thinking of nothing in first. Then the higher I climbed, the more I thought about Alison....our travels.....all the good stuff……my body and soul thoroughly enjoyed moving .... dancing across the stone, especially the feel of cool granite beneath my hands and boots.

Traversing over the upper flanks, I reached the summit of Thatchtop as the winds picked up. Gusts danced along the summit chilling me through two coats. Hunkered down in a talus bowl, I took a break and looked over at my beloved McHenrys Peak.

This summer, I’ve had a long love affair with it. Today, I had hoped to get a clear look at the Legendary Notch Couloir…..which I did.

Traversing toward Powell, it was obvious the gnarly ridge would be out of the question as a solo climb. Powell’s North aspect was coated with snow and verglas. After stopping to snap a few pics of McHenrys awesome Notch Couloir, I abandoned the ridge run and descended to Skypond.

Pausing for a break on the lakeshore, I gazed up at Taylor Peak, Sharkstooth, the Petit Grepon, and the Saber. Looking down into the waters, I noticed three cutthroat trout playing in the current.

Click here for some pics
Cheers, ~jilly