A coworker and I were chatting for many weeks about how excited we were to get outside once the peaks have been covered in snow. I wanted to go out with someone experienced for my first few times in the Colorado winter since I haven’t had to deal with much avalanche danger in the past.
We planned for a summit of Dyer Mountain to get my toes wet but then a frigid, snowy day with a windchill in the negatives changed our minds (with quite a bit of reluctance on my part). That particular storm brought quite a bit of snow that has since made Dyer quite unapproachable. Because of this, we headed out to Grizzly Peak D on Black Friday.
The trailhead sits off of Loveland Pass at 11,990 and is 5.5 miles RT with a bit of Class 2 action mixed in to reach Grizzly Peak D at 13,427. However, there’s nearly 3,000 feet of elevation gain RT as you follow the ridge over several smaller peaks. Generally speaking, it should be an excellent intermediate hike to give me a small taste of what hiking in the Colorado winter would be like.
And then this hit me.
That wind. My hiking partner guesstimated that the sustained winds were at about 60-65 on our entire hike back to the pass. The bruises on my butt from when the wind knocked my feet out from under me and the 2 days of all-over muscle soreness agree with him. I was confident that I’d encounter some difficulty on this hike; primarily the elevation and you know…my lack of endurance (I’ll work on that some day soon).
But man, that wind.
That wind made it nearly impossible to see and caused me to look over my right shoulder for several hours straight. That wind made me unable to eat my food, which turned me into one hangry hiker. That wind kept my micro-spikes in my pack and not on my feet in fear that they’d blow off the mountain if I tried to put them on. That wind blew up snow, which quickly froze any skin that was showing. That wind sucks.
But I suppose that’s what I had asked for. I had asked my coworker to take me out and show me what hiking in the Colorado winter will be like. Though the wind was nearly double the sustained speed we had expected, I’m confident that I got an excellent peek into what else is in store for me this winter.
And once I get a better balaclava (and slightly more adjusted lungs) I’ll be right back out there. Hopefully, without that wind.