Sunday, August 1, 2010

IPW Backpacking, Day 6

The wind blew all night, right until we were ready to get up. I think I slept for 20 minutes, three separate times. Of course, as soon as the wind stopped and we got out of the tent, the flies were back. At least it wasn't raining though!

We had a quick breakfast of hot oatmeal and wanted to hit the trail early. The dark chocolate cheesecake from the night before had other plans, so our start time was pushed back to 7:30.

Upper and Lower Coney Lakes

The goal for the day was Mount Audubon and Paiute Peak. We have been on Audubon several times before in various seasons, but have never been able to traverse to Paiute. One time we tried to ascend Paiute from Mount Toll, but that didn't work either.

Blue Lake and the snowfields around Mt. Toll

To make it a loop hike, we decided to first travel off trail to summit Audubon's sub-summits. We tagged them all (two or three, depending on how you count) then picked up the trail for the last bit up Audubon. The number of other hikers surprised us, but then again it is a popular hike and it was the weekend.

Audubon's summit

We summited at 9:45 and decided to continue on the ridge despite the iffy clouds. Thirty minutes later we re-evaluated. Probably only 45 minutes from the summit of Paiute, we turned around. Once again, we shook our fists at Paiute!

As close as we got to Paiute Peak

Typical for this trip, it was hailing when we got to the tent. We waited out yet another storm, packed everything up quickly and hit the trail to the car. There were dark clouds to the south and north of us so we knew it would rain again.

We made awesome time to the end of the Beaver Creek Trail, talked to a park employee about the weather and recent rescue attempts (two days we saw low-flying helicopters and small planes overhead), and walked down the road to the Long Lake Trailhead where the car was parked. Not three minutes later the rain and thunder resumed.


We saw a lot of wet weather on this trip, but hopefully the pictures show that we saw a lot of other fantastic things as well.

The loop was about 30 miles and we made about 20 miles of excursions. Over 6 days we gained and lost 16,000 feet elevation. We attempted to summit all but one mountain (Thunderbolt / Blackfoot) that was on our original plan. We summited all but two peaks (Coney, Paiute) that we attempted. Overall, that's a successful trip, and it was a lot of fun too!

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