Monday, May 21, 2012

Climbing Mt. Frazier

I certainly got a workout this past Saturday. I climbed to the top of a mountain that was at an elevation of about 8,300 ft! It wasn't on a nice little trail either; nope, I had to scramble over rocks and everything (no ropes needed though... or else I would not have done it!).

Here's the story of Mt. Frazier...

We joined a group from GMS (Glacier Mountaineering Society - Grizz is a member) in the Rocky Mountain Front early Saturday morning. We hiked in about 2.5 miles before we actually started going up.

The trail to the base of the mountain started at the opening of Blackleaf Canyon. We've been in the canyon before. There are some bolted climbing routes there. Here, Grizz is pointing out where the bolts are for the route "Climbing 101."

After the nice hike, we started going up. And up. And up.

I was pretty careful... always trying to hold on to holds in the rocks and such. Grizz of course is like a mountain goat on talus and scree (words describing the size of rocks we had to walk on)!

In the scariest parts, I asked Grizz to climb behind me so his sure-footed-ness could help me feel confident in my own footing. He did really, really well in sticking with me :)

There he is... pretty background, huh?

We did finally make it to the top. Here we are sitting on the cairn (a pile of rocks marking a landmark... in this case, it marks the summit of the mountain).
Here's the view from the top toward the plains. You can see two canyons in the picture. The one in the bottom left is where we started the hike (Blackleaf Canyon) and the canyon in the top right is called Muddy Creek Canyon. We've hiked in there before too - we took Grizz's parents there and found the Muddy Creek Falls. I'll have to blog about that adventure sometime (it was from last Labor Day!).

Here's the mountainous view from the top of Mt. Frazier. It definitely looked like a snowstorm was coming in. This wasn't very comforting to worrying me. Thankfully, all we got were a few flurries!

There was a bit of snow around though. This snow patch is actually visible from the trail we hiked on to get to the mountain - I'll point it out later.

See where the rock changes color? From the top of the mountain, that is where we had to get to before we really started the fun part of the descent. I was very thankful we did not go down the same way we came up... I was done scrambling!

Here we are, waiting for the rest of the group to catch up. Doesn't the color line seem unnatural? It's so well-defined!

Going down from there was a breeze. The rocks were so small and loose, it was like we were skiing. All we had to do was dig our heels in a bit to stop and take another skiing-step :) I will admit, I was worried about this part too. I didn't want to slip and fall down the entire mountain! I mean, it was steep! But, it actually turned out to be really fun...

There were a few snow patches on this side of the mountain. They were steep, but we just "skied" down on our feet. Slipping and a sliding... fun, fun fun. (Can you tell I preferred going down than going up?)

It's always a weird feeling once you're off the mountain and you look back up and you see how high you really were. If you look hard enough you will see the strip of snow in the top-middle of the mountain. That's the summit. We were there.

I'll admit. There were times when my heart was in my throat and I wasn't sure if I could continue on the adventure. I have inherited my mother's worrying habits. However, I am very, very proud I did it... and that I even enjoyed parts of it! Ha!

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