My friend from grad school, Matthias, was back in the country for a few weeks, and not only in the country but in the Wyoming/Colorado area. We hooked up for some running and catching up on things, but we also wanted to go climb a mountain.
I decided that I didn't really want to mess with something too far away, so I decided to take a serious look at Gerry Roach's guide to the Indian Peaks. Since I now live in Boulder, the east side of the Indian Peaks Wilderness is very accessible. So, I decided that we would make the easy hike up to Mount Audubon, and then the ridge traverse over to the Continental Divide and Pauite Peak which involves some minor rock scrambling.
We left Boulder at about 7am, and the night before it had rained quite a bit. As it turned out, we were to catch the beginning of a prolonged monsoonal/upslope episode where I measured nearly 5" of rain in a week.
The clammy weather apparently kept the crowds down some, and after paying the $5 entrance fee, we arrived at a mostly empty parking lot. We started hiking at 0740, and kept a brisk but pleasant pace up the good trail. We stopped a couple times for hydration and to put on clothing, but ended up not taking a sit-down break until the summit. On the way up, about 300 feet below the summit, we finally climbed into the cap cloud that we could see most of the way up.
We summited at 0943 in the densest fog I've ever encountered on a mountain. Visibility was down to about 30 feet, and when we took some photos on the summit, wisps of fog could be seen drifting between us and the camera less than 10 feet away. A blind Class 3 traverse over to Paiute was quickly ruled out, so we hung out on the summit for a half-hour.
The fog kept descending while we were on the summit and while we were hiking down, and we had to descend almost 2000 feet to get out of the fog. The hike down was uneventful otherwise, except for the conversation, and we reached the car at 1156, a much shorter day than we expected. As we descended back down to Boulder, there was some fog early, but back in town there was some Sun for a while.
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File last modified: 28 December 2004