Run fast ... fall down

Run fast ... fall down

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Mt Audubon - Labor Day weekend 2012

Inspired by following the Spot GPS tracks during recent amazing endeavors on the high peaks, I was anxious to get up high and enjoy the peaks before the snow starts flying. Heidi wanted to revisit Mt Audubon as it climbs relatively straightforwardly to over 13K with less than an hour to arrive at the trailhead. Hannah spent the night at Grandma's house which afforded us the leisure to get up and go as early as we wanted.
Start of the fourmile canyon fire 2 years ago

We arrived at Mitchell Lake Trailhead at 6:30 AM and dropped a $10 bill in the envelope of the newly added self pay station and gathered our belongings. Two years ago, on Labor day weekend, we climbed Audubon and saw from above the start of the 4 mile canyon fire. We saw that it started far before the news ever admits. Here is a shot from around the time that it was reported to have started. It was super windy up high and we toughed it out.
This year, as we climbed the winds were ever so familiar and fearing deja vu, we checked for smoke clouds all day.

Navajo Peak under a full moon and clouds
Once above treeline the winds picked up more and more, and Heidi suggested turning around. I was in agreement and just happy to be out hiking that I didn't care much about making the summit. We headed down as the wind seemed to settle down.

On Monday, I got the pass to go for a hike on my own. I contemplated many options but decided I wanted to push myself and get up Audubon as fast as I could. This time I waited until late afternoon in hopes of hitting the peak at sunset in the warmth and cruising down by headlight. I arrived at the TH utilizing my same receipt from the previous day (which is good for 3 days) in a downpour. I figured the storm would soon pass so I geared up and got ready to leave just as the rain was letting up.

I took the first 20 min easy as a warmup, downed a gel and got to work. The clouds parted and displayed a full rainbow. I pushed hard and constantly had to adjust my clothes as the wind was wailing and quite cold, but would occasionally die down. I hit the summit at 90 minutes, hunkered down in the wind shelter, put on my insulated jacket and got ready to run down.

Back to the trailhead in another hour. 2h35m roundtrip.

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