Sunday, August 4, 2013

Missouri Mtn. and Mt. Huron

Saturday brought another day of rehearsing and research on the Nolan’s 14 course. After the storms of last weekend, and forecast for even more intense monsoonal moisture flow for this weekend, I was more than a little apprehensive about the weather forecast. That left me reconsidering my original plans of traversing Missouri Mtn. to Mt. Huron, and then across La Plata Peak, so I decided to leave off La Plata, thinking that taking another look at the ascent from Chlohesy Lake to Mt. Huron might be the most important research I could gain from the day. This was important to me because I am planning on doing this part of the course at night, and it is confusing enough during the day, so that was where I was going to place an emphasis on for whatever time the weather was going to allow. The east face of Missouri Mtn.
is quite pleasant to climb from Missouri Gulch. Coming back down the west face is your typical ultra steep 14’teener express down scree and grassy slopes to Chlohesy Lake. Fortunately the outlet of Chlohesy Lake is friendly enough, being able to rock hop across without having to get the feet wet. Coming around the western shore of the lake, I easily found the large rock cairn marking the trail that ascends up to Lois Lake and the climb to Mt. Huron. This however, is where things start to get really messy.
The trail up to Lois Lake is exceptionally steep, and not very well marked, even including a little lower 3rd class rock scrambling for good measure. Above Lois Lake, the pain doesn’t lessen much, with a steep scree gulch leading to extended boulder hopping before the penultimate heart-break is encountered during the last, loosest, 400’ leading up to a saddle between Mt. Huron and Brown’s Peak. This section was hot and depressingly slow. I kept telling myself that it will be a little easier at night when it is cooler and I can’t really see where I am going; that’s my theory anyway. Once on the upper slopes of Mt. Huron a brief storm of snow pellets let loose, with thunder making its appearance 100’ shy of the summit. Luckily, no lighting came along with the thunder, and I made a relatively quick trip back down to Winfield, Lisa, and the truck. We high-tailed it to the hot springs to begin some recovery! As I continue to rehearse and research this course to make sure I know it to the “nth” degree, the more anxious I become at realizing the extent of the pain, punishment, and degree of just how deep I will have to go inside of myself to complete it coming up on Labor Day weekend. I took much comfort from the following words during our prayers at church this morning, “Help us, together with all Your saints, to finish our race with faithfulness, strengthened by our faith in the finished work of Jesus on our behalf.”

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