Bierstadt: Round 2

After my failed attempt to make a snowy ascent of Mt Bierstadt a few months ago, I’ve had it in my head to return and give it another go. I got the opportunity to meet up with some buds in Denver for the weekend with a plan to tackle one of Colorado’s 14ers.

In planning for this second attempt of Bierstadt, I took the learnings I had from before and made sure we had snowshoes!

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Sarah ready to go!

After a casual breakfast and drive to the trailhead, we got on the trail around 9:30am. Equipped with some extra layers and trail grub, we started up the snow-covered trail. An hour and a half in to our climb and we were clear of the trees and had a clear view of the summit.

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Austin posing for the camera

Luckily for us, we hit the weather lottery and got a cloudless, fairly warm, sunny day in the mountains. The down side to this is the three of us are paler than average. SPF 50 is worth its weight in gold!

I had forgotten how much the altitude effected me. I felt like I was gasping for air from the first step. As the trail got steeper and the air got even thinner, our pace slowed and break frequency increased.

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Havin’ a break. Enjoyin’ the view.

Austin was crushing it and made it to the summit at around 1pm. I was an hour behind. The summit was windy and cold, but the feeling was amazing! With legs burning and face freezing, I snapped a couple pics and started making my way down.

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Summit view

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Another summit view

Unfortunately, Sarah was feeling considerable discomfort and elected to not attempt the summit.

We regrouped just shy of the summit and descended. The snow had softened quite a bit since the morning and even the snowshoes couldn’t keep up on top of the snow all the time.
Back at the car at 6pm. An extremely exhausting, will-testing, and absolutely fantastic 8.5 hours in the mountains!

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Team selfie:  Austin, myself, and Sarah

Round 2 of David vs. Bierstadt goes to David!

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Zucchini Sweet Potato Pankcakes

It’s Sunday and I have a brunchy recipe for you. This is a super easy addition to your Sunday get-togethers that will please your clean-eating audience.

Zucchini Sweet Potato Pancakes
1/2 cup grated sweet potato
1/2 cup grated zucchini
2 eggs
1/4 teaspoon chopped garlic
salt and pepper to taste

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Start by grating your sweet potato and zucchini. It only took me a minute to do all the grating I needed for this recipe.

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Next, mix up the eggs, garlic, salt and pepper into a bowl. Give it a good whisk. Add to your grated material and stir it up.

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Nice garnish, don’t you think?

Drop down some bacon grease or the fry oil of your choice and drop down your mixture on the hot griddle. The recipe will make 3 small pancakes, or for me, one large pancake.

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I Need a Bier! Stadt!

One of Colorado’s 14ers (14,000+ ft peaks) is Mount Bierstadt.  Bierstadt stands 14,060 feet tall and is regarded as one of the easier winter climbs of the 14ers due to generally low avalanche risk and having the peak in sight during the entire climb.  That being said, the winter ascent is approximately a 10 mile round trip with a vertical gain of 3000 feet.  Easy is relative.

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Early morning view down the valley

I set out to climb this mountain as a trial for a new pair of boots.  I arrived at the trailhead at 6:00am and took my time putting on my boots and layers and finishing my coffee.  Having a coffee before a climb is very important.  I feel naked without my pre-climb coffee.

At 6:30am I started up the trail in a lovely 15 degree weather.  In winter, the road to the standard trailhead is closed.  Because of this the start of the climb is 1.7 miles up the road to the trailhead.  The road had about two feet of fairly well packed snow and was an easy 600′ vertical gain to the trailhead.

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At the trialhead looking at Bierstadt

That was were the “easy” ended.  The next mile or so was a slight dip and rise to the main climb of the mountain.  Sounds easy, but there was 3 feet of soft snow across most of this section.  Being snowshoeless, I was punching through and wading my way across this section.  Two hours later, I was mostly across this.

Since the sunrise, there was an ominous dark cloud hanging over the summit.  It had not moved at all.

The combination of my excrutiating slow pace and this sub-optimal cloud cover was enough to make me turn back.  By the time I got back to the car, I had put in 5 hours of trail time, with 3 hours of that spent trudging through that deep snow.

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The mountain behind me. No dark skies there!

While I was disappointed not to reach the summit, I had a great time enjoying the experience and am excited to get back out there!

For those of you who are planning to climb Bierstadt in winter, here are my main tips:

  • Snowshoes!!!
  • Plan for a full day
  • Have adequate layers.  It can go from sunny and warm to chilling winds quite quickly
  • Be prepared for extreme amounts of fun!
  • Snowshoes!!!

 

Bierstadt – 1
David – 0

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Keepin It Classy

It’s been a while since I’ve had any Paleo porn on here.  Here you go!

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What we have here is a succulent lobster tail accompanied by garlic sauteed acorn squash arranged beautifully on a paper plate.

No rocket science behind the cooking here.  I cut the lobster tail down the middle (but not through the bottom shell) and threw in on a hot dry skillet until cooked.

The acorn squash was cut fairly thin and sauteed in minced garlic and olive oil.

Simple.  Delicious.  All mine!

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so HI

With the lower 48 states complete, I was forced to travel to Hawaii to continue the quest…

On the big island is Hawaii’s highest point, the 13,803 ft Mauna Kea volcano. The dormant volcano rises 33,100 feet from the ocean base. While it would be cool to climb from the bottom of the ocean, I chose to start my climb from the visitors center.

The Mauna Kea trail (marked as the Humuula trail) starts at 9,200 feet is approximately 6-7 miles to the summit. I got a sunrise start and made great time up the well marked and maintained trail. The red rock gives the mountain and Mars-like feel!

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Along the way is an ancient quarry site with a pile of rock left behind.

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Not too much further is Lake Waiau. Probably not the best swimming hole…

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Carrying on through the martian terrain and you catchy a glimpse of the observatory at the summit. The trail here connects with the road for a portion of the climb and then veers off to the true summit.

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What a cool view!

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I poked around the summit area and visited the Keck observatory before making my way back down.

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With the climb complete, it was time to relax!

States conquered: 49

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DonE!

The last of lower 48 states was the most intimidating, 448 foot high Delaware high point, Ebright Azimuth. This residential peak is marked by a bench and a sign on the sidewalk near the Pennsylvania border.

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It just so happens that one of my brothers, Richard, lives about 15 minutes away from Ebright Azimuth. Richard, his wife Christiane, and their dog Penny all joined me in conquering Delaware and celebrate!

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A few feet down the street is the survey marker with part of the sidewalk cut out so it wasn’t covered up.

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Actually, we didn’t celebrate right after visiting the high point because Christiane was on her way to play tennis, but after that it was a straight-up, wild and crazy throw down of The League season 2.

The contiguous 48 states. Check!

States conquered: 48

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West Virginia

Summing up my mountainous eastern high points is Spruce Knob in West Virginia.  At 4,863 ft, Spruce Knob is not only the highest point in West Virginia, but the highest point in the Allegheny Mountains as well.

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As you may have guessed, there is quite a bit of spruce growing in the area.  The short, well maintained trail to the summit offers a lovely view of the forest and is accompanied by a strong refreshing spruce scent.

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At the high point is a small tower offering views of the surrounding area.

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My apologies for the lack of creativity in titling this post.

States conquered: 47

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Mostly Deciduous

A short drive from Mount Davis is Maryland’s high point, Backbone Mountain. In the far western part of the state, the 3,360 foot mountain is just minutes walk from the West Virginia border.

The high point is not accessible by road. The trailhead lies one mile from the summit and climbs 700 vertical feet. It is not a very difficult hike, but a short portion of the trail has a decent grade to climb.

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Along the trail is the Maryland, West Virginia state line. A few steps further and you’ve reached the summit of Backbone Mountain known as Hoye-Crest.

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A nice view of the rural landscape from the high point.

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States conquered: 46

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Stu-Penn-dous!

Mount Davis is the highest point in Pennsylvania. Located in the southwestern part of the state, the 3,213 foot Davis is lacking in prominence (only 653′), but a lookout tower at the top makes up for that.

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I drove to the top of this one. There are some extremely short trails that lead to the summit I could have taken, but I decided to save myself 7 minutes of walking.

I climbed up the lookout tower and the lovely fall colors were showing!

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A rock near by had the summit marker on it.

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States conquered: 45

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The Nice Part of Jersey

The highest point in New Jersey is simply known as High Point. Rising 1,803 above sea level, the high point is in the northern corner of the state and is marked by a large monument.

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I parked my car in the parking lot and walked about 100 yards to the top. Certainly not the most prominent of high points, but you can see quite a ways from the base of the monument.

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I didn’t know much about New Jersey besides what Pauly D told me before I visited high point, but the state is quite nice the further you get away from the shore.

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States conquered: 44

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