Eighty summits, one year, 60-year-old dude. Bad. Ass.
When I told Lindsay "Babe City" Hart about this astounding feat she suggested that, since I turn 30 this year, I should celebrate my 30th year by summiting 30 mountains. Okay, babe, with your blessing ...
Thirty summits doesn't seem like much, but then I think about how I "only" summited 17 (different) mountains last year. And how I'm a weekend warrior nine months out of the year. And how sometimes I pretend I'm a bike racer. And how I've never really relished in the art of peak-bagging. But, hey, I may as well make my 30th year that much more meaningful: Set a challenging, worthwhile goal and actually follow through.
I have set parameters for this goal: The summit can either be achieved on a hike or a ski tour; the summit has to be "ranked" (not necessarily named); I can only call it a summit if I summit the high point on the mountain (damn you, Snowshed Mountain); summits have to be achieved between January 1 and December 31, 2013.
Here we go ...
1) Big Mountain, Smokey Range, Montana. If I get 31 summits this year I will gladly scrub The Big. As of April 22, I've skinned to the top of Big Mountain 40 times this ski season. I summited 45 times last year. This should get boring, right? Still hasn't. Photo: Looking east into Glacier; 10 feet behind me is a ski lift and a cafeteria.
2) Mount Shields, Glacier National Park, Montana, January 5. For the record, locals, Lewis and I skied off the summit of Mount Shields, not Little Shields. Eighty-seven feet and a long ridge walk make all the difference. Photo: Lewis on the approach.
3) Stanton Mountain, Glacier National Park, Montana, January 19. We started our approach at around 5 a.m. from Lake McDonald Lodge. This was a great ski, 4,600 feet back to the car. Photo: Hebert and Koestler about to cut a cornice.
4) Peak 7108, Great Bear Wilderness, Montana, February 1. Peak 7108 is the high point on the west ridge above Marion Lake; while unnamed, it is ranked. Lewis, Carrie, John, and I faked sick (well, not John) and took the day to shred. It was worth it. Photo: I forgot my camera; this is actually a photo taken on 7108 in 2012.
5) Mount Furlong, Great Bear Wilderness, Montana, February 9. Some of the best skiing of the year. Photo: Pedalin' Pete took all the pictures this day ... meaning I'll probably never seen any of them. This is a photo from the summit of Furlong taken this past summer when I was up there with Lewis, Devin, and the dogs. This was the same aspect we skied.
6) Running Rabbit Mountain, Glacier National Park, Montana, March 9. Summit No. 1 of the day. This may be my new favorite spot to ski in the Middle Fork/Maria's Pass coridor. Charlie made us swear secrecy. Photo: Charlie and Elliott on the summit.
7) Snowslip Mountain, Glacier National Park, Montana, March 9. Summit No 2. Photo: Notice our tracks off Running Rabbit.
8) Elk Mountain, Glacier National Park, Montana, March 23. I soloed this one. When we skied this last year we had to boot the last 300 feet; thankfully, this time I was able to skin to the summit. Photo: It was -8 degrees at the trailhead at 7:30 a.m. I'm guessing it's around -15 in this photo. March 23, the third day of spring, is the coldest day of the year.
9) Haystack Mountain, La Sal Range, Utah, April 1. Spring break! It's interesting to note that while this is the highest peak I've ever summited, it was only a 2,000 ft. climb from the lot, less than Big Mountain. So what's bigger, a 4,500 ft. climb to a 8,500 ft. peak or a 2,000 ft. climb to an 11,700 ft. peak? Photo: Lewis and I a little disoriented at this altitude.
10) Pre-Laurel Peak, La Sal Range, Utah, April 5. Lewis and I agreed that we wanted to bag a 12,000 ft. peak in Utah; four days after Haystack we went back to the La Sals to try. Our intention was to ski Laurel Peak; once at the base we realized the approach would be long and dicey, the descent potentially dicey-er. We instead climbed Laurel Peak's baby brother, Pre-Laurel, 11,800 ft., about 350 lower than Laurel. Photo: My camera broke; Lewis' ran out of batteries. This is a shot from Haystack. Pre-Laurel Peak is peak to the far-right of the photo, Laurel is to its left.
11) Mount Spokane, Colville National Forest, Washington, April 20. I thought Lindsay and I were in for an easy 800 ft. climb at a ski "resort" closed for the season; turns out, we were in for a 1,700 ft. climb at a ski "resort" that was open for the day to host a wedding. And, even more surprising, there were three large "No Uphill Traffic" signs posted in the parking lot. Oops. We skirted the ski boundary through the woods, dogs in tow, and no one seemed to notice ... or care. Nice. Lindsay insisted we go back up for 400 bonus feet. Gosh, I love this babe. Photo: Me, Cody, and Otis (not pictured) on the summit.
12) Glacier View Mountain, Flathead National Forest, Montana, April 28. Glacier View is a small-ish, 6,200 ft. peak across the street from Glacier National Park; its totally burned east and south face make it the only peak snow-free and accesible on foot this early in the season. Cody and I went for it; there was a perfect boot pack the last 600 feet to the summit. Thanks, person! Photo: Not a very good view of Glacier from Glacier View.
13) Mount Aeneas, Jewel Basin, Swan Crest, Montana, May 4. Lindsay and I got on Aeneas last September; now it's got about 12 feet of snow on it. Photo: It was steep dropping into this notch. I got first tracks on the north face; it felt really damn good.
Plans: I'm going to Utah for spring break, spending a large chunk of June in the Cascades, planning to ski off the summit of Mount Shasta in California the second week of June, spending a week in the Ruby Mountains in Nevada in July, and, like every year for the last eight years, I will try to make it to Two Medicine to climb Rising Wolf ...