Distance: 19.5 miles
start: 7:00 am
stop: 8:00 pm
Elevation: 11505 ft
Others Here: Linus Cloudbuster, Ron
Camp: North Fork Los Pinos River; tenting
We had hoped to make it past Knife Edge yesterday, but it just wasn't meant to be. This morning we did not even want to attempt the cirque after knife edge early in the morning when the snow was likely to be frozen. My socks and shoes certainly were. Four years ago rather than traversing that cirque we went down low into the bowl below then back up. This time we decided to go over the ridge top. It was a pretty substantial climb up; I don't remember the elevation. We hiked the ridge around about 2 miles or so. On the way up it looked like part of the ridge was jagged rocks so we went down a bit and traversed the edge of the cliff. This turned out to be a little more sketchy than I would have liked. Wearing a 35ish pound pack made top heavy by the 3.5 pound snowshoes all while climbing up the rocky, cliffy top, hand over hand was a bit tense for someone of my heights challenged demeanor. Anyway we made it safely only to discover that we could have just stayed on the ridge. We continued up and along the ridge to the other side of the cirque. It was well worth the tense moments; and my what a view.
The only other somewhat sketchy (but not too much) part was climbing straight up a 10 ft cornice on the next ridge over. Someone had already made steps for us, so it wasn't so bad.
The rest of the day was quite difficult. Not that our ridge detour wasn't. Snow travel takes a lot out of you. Especially when it has the consistency of mash potatoes and every other step is postholing and more often than not you have to descend and then climb back up to get around a mash potato bowl traverse. I didn't expect to make it this far today and I am pooped.
What a day though. There were moments of absolute wonder interspersed with the struggle to move forward.