Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Summer Trail Series VI - Partial Credit for Twin Peaks

We started our day fairly early, leaving the trailhead just after 5:00 AM, our goal being to make it as far up Twin Peaks as possible before having to turn back around to make it back down in the valley in time for work.  Twin Peaks is the highest mountain on the Little Cottonwood Canyon ridge (11,489'), and it is named Twin Peaks because the peak itself is made up of two similarly shaped summits situated on the same mountain top.  It was still fairly dark when we started, so Headlamp Huff led the way.  Slowly but surely we made our way up the mountain.  And then, there was a first.  Sam got tired....And had to slow down.....And had to sit down.  Never before has this happened, I'm told.  But here's proof:

The Thinker

Obviously something wasn't right.  I'd spent most of the other runs with the OTMs as the caboose, just hoping to not get too far behind, or to at least keep within shouting distance of one of them.  And so to have Sam pulling up lame just wasn't right.  Sam then confessed to having had donated blood the day before, noble generosity to benefit your fellow man Karmic contribution blah blah blah.  I'm no Doctor, but I'm going to theorize donating blood before trail runs at 9,000 feet above sea level may have a small effect on one's endurance.  So we left him.  Every man for himself, isn't that what they say?  Amen.

First Light
Soon there was enough light to turn off the headlamps, and then Steve just about ran into a big, big fella on the trail.  Another trail, another moose, only this one was about twice the size of the one we ran into on Gobbler's Knob, and Steve was close enough to touch this one before we realized we almost ran into it.  We allowed this bullwinkle time to move off the path, and that's when Sam caught up...You can't keep that man down for long, and he powered through the blood-donating fatigue the rest of the day.  All for one!  One for all!  As long as you can keep up!

After working our way a bit higher up the mountain, the trail became less defined.  This was the first time any of us had been on this route, and so our limited knowledge of the trail came from various summitposts and hiking blogs, and so we approximated what the course to the top would be.  One would think that it would be easy to make your way to the top of a mountain that was right in front of you.  Alas, one would be wrong.  And so went our climb.  There were some vague directions on the easier way to the top, take your first left, then right, then stay right, then stay left...We followed what cairns we could see but ended up taking "The Robinson Variation" of the trail.  Robinson Variation sounds like it should be some lifesaving procedure, or a wrestling hold, or maybe even a dance move, not a trail route.  In this case, however, the Robinson Variation was simply an unmarked scramble up a scree face, in which no one's lives needed to be saved, no grappling moves took place, and there certainly was no dancing.

A Gift Found On The Trail
There was on extremely pleasant bonus from taking the Robinson Variation:  Wild Raspberries!  Quite a few of them....All over the mountain!  At the lower elevations they were relatively small berries, but in other places we scored some pretty big ones.  Little pockets of juicy, sweet, sweet joy that also leave you with tiny seedlings to pick at in your teeth for a few climbing steps.  We spent a while grabbing handfuls of berries, and then continued our march up the mountain.

As we continued climbing up the scree portion of The Robertson Variation, something very important came up.  We'd heard this word "Scree" many times in different conversations with other climbers/trail runners, seen the word "scree" on some climbing reports, and even used the word "scree" to describe some of our own trails (http://orangetrailmonkeys.blogspot.com/2012/08/quest-for-kings-2012.html).  Anyway, Steve had actually looked up the word "scree" in the dictionary, and essentially we've guessed right and have been using the word correctly.  Scree means: an accumulation of loose stones or rocky debris lying on a slope or at the base of a hill or cliff, aka Talus. And scree looks much like the photos of scree from the Quest For King's 2012 blog post that I've listed here.  (See more photos of scree here.)

A Huff Sighting...Feeding on Berries in the Scree
As we made our way further up the scree slope, we realized that time would not permit us to make it to the summit, and that we'd need to turn around soon in order to make it back to the base camp in time to get to work on time.  Steve made it much further up the mountain than the blood donor and I.  But we did have a tremendous view and were able to enjoy the sunrise on the trail.

Here comes the Sam

Tres Hombres, with some climbing still to do.
We made good time on the descent, and even got airborne a few times, and there's pictures to prove it.  We will be back in the future to conquer this peak.  Both of them.

White Men Can Jump

The trail, there and back again.  And we will be back again in order to get fully there.

No comments:

Post a Comment