I made it to Chris' house a few minutes past 4 AM, where we said our rather chipper hellos as I got introduced to Randy, a friend of Chris and another partner who would be joining us today. Introductions aside, we load the truck and go.
Our destination is Skywalker coulior on South Arapaho, a 13,300' peak in the Indian Range just outside of Golden, CO. In all of my planning, this had been my most-anticipated climb. And now, it was going to be the first climb I attempted since arriving.
We arrived at the 4th of July Trailhead in the Arapaho - Washington National Forest around 4:45 AM. The early start was necessary to minimize the risk of avalanche: as the sun warms the snow, it becomes increasingly unstable. Our approach was brisk, and soon enough we were at the foot of the coulior (a coulior is a gully in a mountainside, often used to describe ones with snow). We popped on our crampons, got our boots and crampons organized, and grabbed our ice tools!
From there, we followed the ridge to the summit, arriving at 9 AM! Watch the video below to see what I saw.
Tomorrow, I'll be meeting back up with Chris for some roack climbing around Eldorado Canyon State Park. I'm taking the morning to move my stuff to my campsite: I'll be staying at Golden Gate Canyon State Park tomorrow and Thursday night.