Sunday, November 11, 2007

Trip Report: Ypsilon Mountain Attempt

Trip stats from Lawn Lake Trailhead to my turnaround point on Donner Ridge.
~11+ miles RT
3,710-elevation gain

With a goal of climbing Ypsilon Mountain in autumn, I chose today for an attempt on this beautiful peak. The Donner Ridge looked interesting so that was my route today.

Departing the Lawn Lake Trailhead at 7:20 am under wispy clouds and a 30 F temperature, I took a casual pace heading up the trail, reaching the junction at 7:52am.

Swirling through the trees, the trail was dry until the descent to Ypsilon Lake. Stopping here for a light snack, I reflected on the past year and all the time spent in the field; solo, with clients, and with good friends. It has been an amazing year so far!

Not knowing if there would be a trail above Ypsilon Lake, I surveyed the terrain and then picked a line and started to climb straight up. This is one of my most favorite things to do – to climb upward exploring the unknown. Traveling easily up, up, up one can choose to keep the grade at class 3 or choose something harder. From the looks of things, this area of the mountain must certainly be a huge “shed-fest” in the spring.

Once on the ridge proper, the clouds thickened, the wind kicked up and the Ypsilon summit transformed into a sinister sentry. Looking over at Longs Peak, the clouds were hovering over that summit as well. Pausing for a few moments at 12,250 feet it was only 10:35am – I looked over at the four aces on Blitzen Ridge. They were snow-free.

Today’s weather forecast called for some snow later in the day, but given the winds, dark clouds, and severe consequences from a fall from this ridge, I decided to turn around.

Quickly descending to Ypsilon Lake, it was there that I saw the first people of the day. They were a lovely couple and I stopped to chat with them for a bit. For some reason I was in an extremely social mood, so I stopped and spoke with all the people on I saw while descending back to the trailhead. I reached my car at 1:35pm.

Ypsilon is a beautiful mountain with two notable ridge routes: Donner and Blitzen. Make no mistake; it is one freaking big-ass peak! Another fun day in the park.

Click here for pics