Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Wilderness Retreat

Last Friday I left work early to hike deep into Wild Basin for a climb of Mt. Alice, the striking 13,310-foot peak on the south side of Rocky Mountain National Park. We'd chosen Mt. Alice to escape the oppressive heat that has dogged Colorado's Front Range these Dog Days, and we ended up escaping the oppressive and depressing news from K2 that broke over the weekend. I've thought of writing more about the disaster on K2, but I've never been to Pakistan and I've never attempted a mountain as big and serious as K2. What could I add to the finger-pointing and second-guessing that has begun?

So, Mt. Alice. Seven miles to a bivy above the Lion Lakes, then a long mile or so to the base of the 1,500-foot east face. A short slip-and-slide up a snowfield, several hundred feet of scrambling, six long pitches, and a hip-hop up teetering talus to the top of this superb peak. The joy of a climb like this lies not so much in the route itself, which was fine but nothing spectacular, but in the isolation and natural beauty of the setting. We shared the route with no one, and the entire glacial basin with just a few other souls. The 10-mile hike back out was painful but quick. As the inevitable public doubts and moralizing erupted over K2, we enjoyed a 24-hour dose of everything that is good about mountaineering.

1 comment:

fren_ace said...

nice place to hike,
it,s beautiful and clean