Mt. Meeker | First 13’er | DNF

I’d put off doing this one for two weeks, partially because the snow/ice hadn’t melted away reasonably enough to do this without special equipment (Ice Axe, Microspikes etc). The route I used was to approach the peak from the Southwest Ridge. I wasn’t sure how much food and water to carry since I intended to finish just after lunch time (just before it got very warm and I, very hungry). Turned out, I didn’t pack enough food or nearly enough water for that matter.

Things in my pack (besides essentials like compass, map, knife):

  1. 2 Fig Bars
  2. 1 Cliff Bar
  3. 2 Fruit Break Fruit Blends
  4. 600 ml of water
  5. Lifestraw
  6. 1 Fleece Jacket
  7. 1 Rain Jacket
  8. 1 thin pair of gloves
  9. 1 thick pair of gloves
  10. Hat

All the extra clothing turned out to be not useful. The temperature stayed between 15 to 28C. The hike from the Sand Beach Trail-head up to Hunter’s Creek Crossing was uneventful, it’s a well marked trail and there are a handful of campsites in between. There are some nice views, about half a mile to a mile in.

Allenspark, CO

The trail alongside Hunter’s Creek to Meeker Meadows although well defined, is strewn with fallen trees or the swelling creek covering it up and I consequently spent quite sometime off-trail but as long as you keep the trail to your left, you are going in the right direction. When you get close to Meeker Meadows, the trees start to clear up and offer a view of the peak.

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Mt. Meeker, first glimpse from Hunter’s Creek

Meeker Meadows is marshy with several small streams running in between. There are no visible trails to guide you, you will simply have to keep following the actual creek till you get to the rocky base of the mountain. From here the treeline starts to disappear and I was walking up loose gravel, rocks and moss that appeared to look like grass. As I kept going uphill, I started to lose track of the route to the ridge line. I was too far up to turn around and look for a better path and I kept going what seemed like a Class 2 to Class 3 scramble.

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Snow in July

I walked around the snow and also got across where it had melted down to a small stream. At this point,I had given up finding the original route  and decided that I’ll tackle the peak head on through the rocks and reach a section where the rocks merge with ridge line. This turned out to be more of a task than I expected it to be. I was running low on food, water and my lifestraw gave up filtering after only a couple of sips. I reserved little less than half of the water I had for the way back. The view on the other hand, was exhilarating to say the least and it kept me going.

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At around 12, 000 feet. Sandbeach Lake in the distance

The peak seemed within reach and I thought I’ll push through and summit. But sustaining this Class 3 scramble for 200 meters with noon approaching seemed foolhardy.

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Class 3 Scramble?

At what turned out to be 13, 120 feet ( Meeker stands at 13, 911 feet) I decided to turn around. It was quickly approaching noon time, and I could see the clouds starting to gather in the sky. At this altitude, the weather can be notoriously unpredictable at noon. Frequent thunderstorms are a given, and it is better to be under the tree line before it starts to rain lest you want to be struck be lightning. Also, I seemed to be  the only person attempting to climb Mt. Meeker at the time.

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Gathering Clouds fast approaching

The way down was slow, slippery and drudging with all the rock and gravel.  It took quite sometime to get under timberline. Parts of the Rocky Mountain National Park is remote and spectacular scenic even if you are not trying to climb a tall mountain. I was back in Meeker Meadows just when it started to drizzle.

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Hunter’s Creek

Needless to say, I will attempt to ascent this again and hopefully succeed after I find the damned route to the ridge line!

Strava Report [GPS pooped out at 8 miles, did 12 miles (20 kilometers) in all]

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About krithik

An Electrical Engineer by training, who occasionally dabbles in programming and design.
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