It was a good week. Vacation was a nice break. After all of the rush to ship a product, and the stress of last minute changes, and doubting my place here, I am reenergized and relaxed. Life is good.
As far as work it was pretty typical. That being said I spent a huge amount of time designing facility related things, not our actual products, which to be honest isn't as fun for me as designing a product. But it needs to be done for our expansion and I have skills that make it go faster.
A big highlight of the work week for me was assembling a subassembly I designed for our second product (or product line?) and it went together as planned! I've made so many parts in the past that failed to assemble because either my tolerances and design were bad, or because the parts were not made to tolerance, and this time, with more due diligence ahead of time on the tolerances, everything went together as planned. In other words, what I spent so much time designing appears to work just as intended. I even did a little functional checking, which won't actually be relevant for at least six months and it seemed to work!
Friday night after happy hour at work M and I headed down to southern Colorado and camped at the Blanca trailhead. We arrived at about 11 PM. Then we woke up at 4:30 AM to begin the day.
The Lake Como "road" is pretty terrible. We stopped at 8,500 feet in a Subaru Outback and walked a lot. There are a couple parts of the road where I am not sure any street legal vehicle that can go 75 mph would make it up. We started hiking at 5:07 AM, and went from there. I'm having trouble with my GPS data so I'm not totally sure on the time line for the day otherwise.
We did Little Bear Peak first, including a little stretch of 4th class slab with some ice which made it a little sporty, but the exposure wasn't too bad and there wasn't too much loose rock. We summitted around 10 AM and then began the infamous traverse to Blanca along the 5th class ridge. I got sketched out so we whipped out the harnesses and my 20 meter 8 mm dynamic rope and planned to simulclimb the initial 4th class down climb. I started leading, but I got scared by the snow and ice along the ridge and maybe 150 meters after we started the ridge, we turned around and decided to head down the normal route, and then do the standard route on Blanca and Ellingwood.
We reached the road at 11:55 and then headed up Blanca in the very good weather. The nice thing about months other than June through September is that afternoon weather tends to be better, fewer thunderstorms. We made our way up and around 13,800 feet some rime ice and snow began to cover much of the route. It was cold! Blanca, at 14,345 feet stands noticeably higher than Little Bear and Ellingwood both right at 14,000 feet within a mile. Oh how I wish Colorado had some 15,000 foot tall mountains, or 16,000... or 26,000. We summitted around 2:20 PM, then did the traverse to Ellingwood, summitting around 3:30 or so. Then we headed the long 9 mile back to the car, arriving just 10 minutes after sunset just before 7 PM, making for an almost 14 hour trip car to car. While my watch died after 12 hours, M had just over 20 miles, 52,000 steps for the day, and 8,600 feet of elevation gain, and that includes 3rd and 4th class, a little roped travel and some icy snow. That makes it 44 official 14ers for me! Only 9 official ones remaining. The Wilson group, the Eolus group, Culebra, Pyramid, Capitol, and Snowmass. Not exactly easy ones to get to or to hike. Culebra and Pyramid I'd like to take a crack at this winter, otherwise, it appears they will probably have to wait until next year considering how much snow and ice we encountered this week.
We had Pizza at All-Gon in Fort Garland, and then drove back to Denver, I arrived home about 11:30 PM, took a shower and slept the sweet sleep of night sweats. (After big days it's not uncommon for me to have night sweats, it started in 2014 after the North Coast 24. I figure that my hormones are out of wack after such a demanding day.) I hope you had a good week too!
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