This was quite possibly the most grueling single day I’ve ever encountered on trail. 11 hours and only 13 miles should give a hint.We bush wacked up to La Coulotte ridge; there was no trail and it was straight up. Then we proceeded to ascend, often on loose shale, the ridge without the help of a trail. It was basically up and down all day in these conditions. I’m not sure if the pictures will do it justice. From the ridge, we climbed La Coulotte peak straight up in loose shale – 1100 ft over 0.7 miles. From the peak (center in picture below) we descended 1000 ft to the steep v shaped saddle just to the left (south westerly). Then another 800 ft up over 0.6 miles. All sans trail.
Backtrack decided to take the Barnaby alternate which went north from Coullote peak but the rest of us were content to do the remaining 2 steep descents and climbs and then descend to the valley. Being only the second day on trail, Barnaby just didn’t seem in my or Shroomer’s wheelhouse. I am just off a strained hamstring and Shroomer has been off for a month or so. It was all I could do to make the peaks on our route. Toward the end it was four steps, rest, four steps, repeat.
Oh… just as we reached the last ridge a thunderstorm rolled in. But we were able to get into the trees before the hail came. This is where we met Antoine from France.
I don’t want to sound like I am complaining. Yes it was difficult, but it was epic! Coyote and Backtrack were climbing machines and always graciously waited for us. I am so fortunate to be among such good people. Despite the hardship, everyone was happy, supportive, and positive.