|Approaching Venable Pass up and to the right.|
|Smoke mixes with clouds.|
From the top of Venable Peak we tried to identify the route ahead and could spot 7 of the 10 peaks we had on the menu. On the way down we encountered a group of 14 (!) backpackers taking 5 days to do the loop that we had just done half of in 7 hours. Their packs were of the extra-extra large variety but I'm sure they had a great time in camp.
|Climbs not pictured: Horn Peak, Broken Hand Peak and Obstruction Peak.|
|The west side of Comanche Peak lit up at dusk.|
|Fluted Peak in back, Adams is behind me.|
|Guthook exiting an exposed Class 4 chimney on the way to Adams.|
This was not the thing you want to do with a heavy pack, every pound tugging you backwards and sloshing around when you make a quick move across a potential 1,000 foot fall. The climb up Adams had four intimidating ribs jutting out along the ridge, each of which presented a vertical wall of rock with a chimney along the back side or some other way of negotiating it. We managed to make it to the summit without vertigo or death and descended the much simpler standard route to camp above Willow Lake.
|Guthook contemplates the summit of Adams.|
|Dusk gives the Sangres their name as Challenger and Kit Carson glow red in the fading light.|
|Another breezy, almost mosquito'less camp.|
|Summit of Challenger Peak.|
|Guthook head up to Columbia from Kit Carson.|
|Ridge to Obstruction Peak - our 4th 13,000'+ peak that day.|
|Bears Playground with Crestone Peak in back.|
The next day went as planned, although the trail up Broken Hand Pass turned into more of a scree scramble at the top. Again, we didn't have anyone above us which made things a lot safer. We were both totally exhausted but made the slog up Broken Hand Peak for our 11th summit of the trip. The descent back was uneventful and we found another epic campsite. The tents came up minutes before the rain and a thunderstorm rolled in.
|Summit of Broken Hand Peak looking towards Crestone Needle.|
|Another pleasant site.|
All in all, an epic trip. 34 miles, just under 20,000 feet of elevation gain and descent. For reference, in New Hampshire's steep white mountains a pemi loop is about 33 miles with 10,000 feet of gain. This trip was double the climbing and nearly all of it was between a lung gasping 12,000 and 14,000 feet.