Ken Grob and I
had a fantastic backpacking trip to the Indian Peaks Wilderness area in
Colorado. The wilderness area is South of Rocky Mountain National
Park, and has spectacular mountains with unspoiled drainages in all
from the West side, backpacking nine miles to Crater lake. Along the
hike there were beautiful lakes, waterfalls, wildflowers, meadows, and
hillsides of aspens showing off their fall colors. Crater lake
(10,000 ft.) sits at the base of Lone Eagle Peak, and is surrounded on all
sides by mountains, forming a gorgeous cirque. We spent the night
with visions of the vertical rock faces around us. The next morning
we had an early alpine start, hoping to "scramble" to the summit of Lone
Eagle Peak (11,900 ft.). After an lung busting and mild nausea
inducing hike up a scree field skirting the North face, we reached a
series of ledges and ramps leading up the East side of the mountain.
The final bit of scrambling involved an exposed traverse over the most
"knife edged" ridge I've ever had the privilege to balance across.
The actual peak had room for one, and was unbelievably exposed.
After a round of photos, we made the trek back to camp, tore down, and
hiked back to the car. The drive home was through Rocky Mountain
Park, which was a nice finish to our long day.