Run fast ... fall down

Run fast ... fall down

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Mt Toll and Pawnee Peak

Mt Toll (12,979 ft) and Pawnee Peak (12,943 ft) are 2 prominent peaks in the Indian Peaks Wilderness area. Heidi and I had Gramma babysit Hannah and we took off at 6 AM. We parked at Mitchell Lake TH and took our time hiking up the easy trail toward Blue Lake. Mt Toll came into view and we saw our first target.

We continued up to Blue Lake.

Mt Toll from Blue Lake

The left facing face of this peak is often skied. The snowfield is still in tact late in the season.

We weren't exactly sure what route we'd take up through the snowfields and slabs above Blue Lake so we just continued up climbing up and around the first snowfield

Climbing over boulders above Blue Lake

Eventually we got up above Upper Blue Lake and it seemed like a great hike so far, so I gave Heidi the option of turning around now. She said she had plenty of energy left and convinced me to continue up asking "who are you? where's my husband?"
I wasn't sure exactly how to get up above the snowfields without getting in over our heads. The snow was rock solid, too solid to kick steps with my Hokas, now equipped with patented banana skin soles.
We found a channel between a snowfield and a rock wall that required us to crawl up. I headed up ahead to see that it would get us around and confirmed down to Heidi to give it a try. Here's her squeezing her way up.

Heidi - between a glacier and rock wall

Up above we topped out on a big snowfield. Pretty impressive for mid-September. Heidi used both poles and I looked for level undulations in the snow to keep balance. We were both wishing we had crampons or microspikes for this section.

Much steeper than it looks in this photo

We climbed up above these rocks to the left, up to the ridge between Toll and Pawnee. At this point I realized it might be a whole lot easier to climb over Pawnee and descent Pawnee Pass rather than going back down this route. Heidi agreed and waited at the saddle while I scurried up to the summit of Toll. 

The final slope up Mt Toll. We skirted the snowfield on the left.

Amazing views from the top of Mt Toll, looking toward the Lone Eagle Cirque.

Mt Toll - summit shot
Once I was on the top. Heidi left the saddle and started heading up Pawnee Peak. If you look really closely in the photo below, you can see her starting to pick her way up. 

Pawnee Peak from Mt Toll. 4 climbers are on the summit and Heidi is somewhere in the center of the photo.

We climbed up Pawnee and topped out together.

Scrambling up Pawnee Peak

Toll (left) from Pawnee Peak

Summit self portrait
We cruised down the south face of Pawnee to the Pawnee Pass trail and knew we had about 4.5 miles down. Then we had to go get the car which was parked at a different trailhead (0.6 miles away). This was a long haul out but Heidi held strong and we enjoyed the crazy late season wildflowers.  We were home by 3 PM. Perfect weather!

Garmin Data

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