Snowmass Mountain

Snowmass Mountain Trip Report (#7172)

Snowmass Mountain September 6th, 2002

54th Colorado 14er for Eddie Mize 4 days short of 9 years of climbing 14ers

Climbers ==================

Marty "Praise Rock" Lake

Rick "been climbing forever" Theis

Brian "We're not crazy - we're climbers!" Beyer

Mad Max "Experiential Educator" Young ("Chew on this root and then place it in the back of your nasal passage while you chew on this pebble and snort lake water")

Dad (Bob "Ran up Long's Peak and a BUNCH of other mountains" Mize)

Rich "Climbs to escape all that estrogen at home" Palmer

Dean "Climbed Pikes Peak about 1 million times" Thompson

Terry "The Talker" Ford

Scot "Photographer Extraordinaire" Rodgers

Eddie "The Yeti" Mize

Base Camp ===================

Jarod "Cloud Dancer" Martin

Lisa "El Diente Wonder Woman" Nobel

Keith "Eddie's Mt Whitney Hero" Knight

Trip report by Eddie "The Yeti" Mize

I left my house at 5:30am on Thursday Sept 5th. I picked up Marty at his house at 5:48am And we got gas at Amoco and over to Evergreen McDonalds parking lot around 6:15am which was our first meeting place. We met Rick Theis then Brian Beyer and then Mad Max came soon after. Max and Rick rode with Brian in the Toyota Forerunner. Marty and I drove to Independence Pass via Leadville to meet Dad and Rich Palmer while Brian and his group went to Glenwood Springs and down Hwy 82 to meet us at the trailhead.

At the trailhead we met up with Dean Thompson and Terry Ford and then Scot Rodgers. After the gang had all arrived we took starting photos at the trailhead. Everyone completed final preparations and began packing in.

We packed through Snowmass Falls Ranch. We got a great view up Bear Creek drainage of the summit of Snowmass Mountain but we did not know it was the summit. Bear Creek drainage drains Pierre Lakes Basin as well and it was interesting to look up that drainage that I had looked down on from Capitol Peak three weeks prior. We crossed below the log jam on the upper lake ( the normal crossing when the creek is high) because the creek was low. Marty and I filtered more drinking water. Then we climbed up the steep switchbacks into the Snowmass Lake basin. Dean had arrived at camp first and chose a large camp area to hold our large party. Everyone arrived but Mad Max. He was off taking pictures and brought some osha root for us to chew on and suck on (to prevent colds).

I placed two camp signs at strategic spots to mark our camp for those coming in late. We ate supper and got to bed early. I slept well and awoke before the alarm at 4:30am. We all started to stir and prepare to climb. 10 headlamps crossing the logs at the foot of the lake looked really cool. As we all walked out of camp I heard a dog bark across the creek that sounded like Santo (Jarod's dog) so I called for him but the barking stopped so I figured I must be mistaken (turns out it was Jarod, Lisa, Keith, Santo and Parker). We all hiked up a prominent trail that climbed above the lake except Scot Rodgers. Rick Theis commented that it seemed to be going to high. We climbed about 500 feet and then it started to get light enough to see some.

I found a gully leading down and saw Scot Rodgers below at the base of the scree field leading up to Snowmass so I yelled to the others and I bailed down the loose gully to get back on track. I thought everyone was following me but it turned out to be just Rick, Terry, and Dean. We met up with Scot and started climbing the main route up to what should have been the snowfield. After arriving in the basin and seeing it virtually devoid of snow and dry we christened it Snow-less-mass. We yelled several times for the other group but no answer. They continued on the trail, which turned out to be Trailrider Pass trail all the way up to Trailrider Pass. After they reached that saddle they doubled back and down and found some class 3 climbing over some scree and below the cliffs of Snowmass Peak and finally into the basin.

In the mean time, we (Scot, Dean. Terry, Rick, and I) continued on up toward the ridge between Hagerman and Snowmass Mountain. We made the ridge on a prominent rise just before the needles and crossed over to the west side following the Cairns along a ledge system to the summit block. We all climbed up to the summit block but I avoided touching the sharp protruding rock that makes up the true summit until we could be joined by the others. We kept yelling down and watching the weather but the nice weather was holding pretty well so we busied ourselves getting out the party items and everyone already on the summit signed my big summit banner with markers I had brought along. We also got out our humorous items we had brought and showed everyone present. As we waited, three A-10 warthog tank killers flew by just above and to the west of us and we held up the yellow banner. The last A-10 in line waved his wings to us; a salute to my 54th 14er from the Air Force.

I brought out my 48" brightly colored beach ball. Everyone took turns helping to blow it up. Rick Theis stood up wearing one of his daughters pink tutus from ballet over his mountain pants. He struck several hilarious ballet poses as I snapped photos. Dean and Terry did not receive the email in time to prepare a funny summit item. Scot Rodgers pulled out a glass bottle of margaritas and several small plastic cups. There was a toast all around and then more banner signing. About that time hawkeyed Dean spotted Marty traversing over the ridge in the distance followed closely by Mad Max. We all cheered and I waved the beach ball at them to inspire them. Max got out his camera and snapped photos of the crazy yeti waving a large beach ball on the summit block.

As Marty and Max made their way toward us Dean next spotted Dad's red hat come up over the ridge and then Brian Beyer. Finally Rich Palmer came over the ridge and everyone was headed for the summit. Marty made the summit and added his signature and a cool drawing to the summit sign. Max followed shortly after and began signing the summit banner as well. Marty told the group that I would build my house on the summit of a fourteener if I could and I would need his humorous item to do it. He pulled a stud finder out of his pack and turned it on me. I think it was made to look for 2x4 studs so perhaps that makes me a blockhead?

Dad came up next followed closely by Brian. Brian showed us his humorous item (another beach ball - it had become a beach party at 14,092'). Max disappeared and popped back up to the summit wearing only swim trunks and a swim mask. He hopped up on a rock and rode it like a surfboard. We all died laughing as Max struck several surfing poses for the camera. The clouds continued to build. Rich came up next and showed his item. It was an Irish green top hat made of fake fur. We all laughed heartily. Dad finally got everyone to prepare cameras for his item. He made a speech that it was not really a funny item and then presented an incredible crystal trophy engraved to commemorate the 54th Colorado 14er. I was speechless. I could not even read it aloud so he did. WOW! What an incredible gift. It is beautiful! We then took a couple of group summit photos with the banner.

The storm was quickly building so we put away the party hats and all our items and packed to head down. The ones who were ready headed on down and Marty, Dean, and I stayed to let the air out of the beach ball and check the summit for litter or any forgotten items. Then we headed quickly down. As we all made our way along the ridge ledges I came to a crack between two of the needle gendarmes and looked over to the east side. There was a short easy class 5 downclimb, which could allow us to cut off a great deal of ridge hopping on the return to the basin. Marty and Dad followed me down and we began to pick our way down the loose rock near the ridge. I fell once with no damage but a large rock trapped my left foot. I worked a moment and managed to get it free. Dad slipped on some loose rock a few minutes later and went down cutting his hand and bumping his head. He was not injured seriously but Marty and I checked on him and I found out that he had no water. I shared some of mine and he took some aspirin.

We continued working our way down the basin. Dad needed more water and I was low. I was a bit ahead and caught up with Rick Theis. I handed Rick my camelback bladder and told him to give it to Dad when he got to Rick. It had about a liter left in it. I then ran the rest of the way to the top of the scree field leading down to the lake and met up with Scot Rodgers and Mad Max. I told them I was running down to camp to get to my water there. Max offered some of his but I declined. I then ran down the scree field and back around the lake to camp. It was kind of fun running down the scree field (it was more of a rock ski event).

I got to my water and drank about two liters. I then filtered more and secured our tent against the storm that was building. Max and Scot Rodgers showed up and I found out that Max had fallen too and cut his hand. I put Neosporin on it and Max wrapped it with athletic tape I had. Max and Scot began packing their gear as they were going to pack out that afternoon. Dad arrived with Marty and I doctored Dad's hand. Dad decided he would pack out with Scot and Mad Max so I helped him pack his gear. We said our goodbyes and then Dad left first followed by Scot and Mad Max. By this time Terry and Dean had returned and then Rick Theis. Brian and Rich followed after that and everyone was back to camp or packing out safe. Then we saw Keith Knight walking around the lake. I yelled and ran over to talk to him. Then I saw Lisa. I talked to them both and found out that they had worked late and drove to the trailhead Thursday evening and started hiking at 11:00pm. They arrived at the lake around 4:30am just as we were getting up but could not find us. They finally made camp and went to bed about the time we started climbing that morning. It was Santo barking that morning but Jarod had quieted him so he could sleep.

By now the rain had started at camp so Jarod, Lisa, Keith, and I climbed in my tent and they signed my summit banner and beach ball. Jarod showed party sunglasses he had brought and some party horns. Lisa had a little plastic frog that jumped when you squeezed an air bulb and some bubbles to blow. Keith brought an American flag on a stick for the summit. We took photos of everyone in the tent. Eventually the rain subsided so we moved back outside by the lake. Jarod and Lisa gave me a fourteener shirt with a marker to check off the ones you had climbed. I checked them all off and Lisa told me to tell a little memory from each one as I went. It was fun remembering them all. Santo and parker played fetch with a stick while the whole gang gathered by the lake for photos and conversation reminiscing about climbs we had done together. I will always cherish that evening by the lake. We finally discussed plans for the morning and ate supper and turned in for the night.

It was a rainless evening but my mind was racing so I did not sleep much. At about 11:30pm I heard some female voices come right in to the middle of our camp and headlamps lit up the walls of our tent over and over for several minutes accompanied by loud tent construction. I finally crawled out of the tent and explained to the three young ladies that they were setting up their tent in the middle of our camp and keeping us all awake. I pointed them off to an area where there were several unused camping spots and they noisily deconstructed their tent and moved on. I got back in to my sleeping bag and then the rain started. It rained, sleeted (light at first and then furiously), and snowed (lightly) until just before dawn so I slept little.

The storm subsided just before dawn so Marty and I began packing our backpacks inside the tent by headlamp while the world outside dried up some. We finally climbed out and packed the tent and the remaining items. We policed our camp area for trash and then prepared to leave by the light of the morning sun and the smell of a fresh fall rain. Others were still packing so we walked over toward the camping area where Jarod, Lisa, and Keith were camped. Lisa said Keith wanted to go out with us so we waited as he finished preparing. We started packing out to the smell of wet forest and the sound of bugling bull elk. As we go to the top of the switchbacks Marty spotted several of the elk we had been hearing on the far ridge and scree fields. The aspen and ground cover had changed color dramatically in the three days we had been here. We took a lot of photos on the way out.

Rick and I packed out fast due to impending storms and managed to dodge most of the rain. We waited at the parking lot and our group trickled in. Everyone arrived but Jarod and Lisa but Jarod had told me that they were not in a hurry and were going to stay in Aspen that night. We said out goodbyes and headed for home. Marty and I stopped in Glenwood Springs at Wendy's for lunch and Keith and Rick showed up too. We all had lunch and then headed for home. I dropped Marty off and took Robyn flowers and a thank you note for supporting me through 54 climbs in 9 years and settled in to unpacking at home. I got cleaned up and headed to bed but slept little thinking about summits gone by.

Eddie "The Yeti" Mize Grand Slam 2002

Snowmass Mountain Trip Report Index