Failure on Ice Mountain

Often when climbers accomplish the task of climbing all 14,000 ft mountains in Colorado then they start on the next list. The centennials are the highest 100 peaks in the state.

Kevin is close to finishing the centennial list. Since I am on a running race taper and do not have a current climbing project I was open to any climb that helped him complete his goal.

We ‘roughed it’ by staying at Kevin’s mountain cabin near Silver Cliff. The alarm went off when many others would be returning from the bar’s last call on a late Friday night.


The goal was Ice Mountain via the Refrigerator Couloir. We were on the trail just before 0600. The weather was not on our side. When we woke it was 60 F. At the trailhead it in the 40s. The snow pack is best when frozen but after a few very warm days, and at least one night, we knew the odds were against us.

The first part of the trail was easy to follow and mostly clear. Once we entered the dense woods the snow pack covered the trail. It was not a firm walk able snow but a mix of corn and mashed potatoes. Not great for walking with or without snowshoes.

We continued on till we finally entered a meadow where the snow was quickly melting. Too bad it was filled with willows. So thwarted on that attempt we skirted the edge of the meadow and the willows until we left the forest at tree line.

The good news was the snow was firmer this high up. The bad news was that was only in the shade of a few remaining trees. So with hours to go and a hot sun shining in a cloudless sky, with a unique blue that can only be called a Colorado blue sky day, we resigned our selves to returning another day. After a very scenic rest stop we retraced our steps back through the forest and to the truck.

We may of failed to summit but we had a successful hike and recon of the valley. Even being the Memorial Day holiday weekend there were still plenty of camping options available.

Get out and explore the World!

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About Haliku

Mountain climber, ultrarunner, scuba instructor, world traveler, student of life
This entry was posted in Climbing, Mountaineering and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Failure on Ice Mountain

  1. Ultra'thoner says:

    Failure? By the looks of the photos and videos- it looks like you succeeded in seeing some beautiful country and getting in some nice taper hiking at altitude. Wow. You didn't make it to the top is all. Next time.
    Laurel Highlands beckons. Rest up and eat well.
    See you in less than two weeks bro.

  2. Xenia says:

    Sorry you didn't make it to the summit, but it looks like a beautiful way to spend the day nonetheless. Continue enjoying your taper!

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