I was in need of a little high altitude training, so I did a three day stint in the Uncomphagre Wilderness, exploring and peak bagging.
Not knowing what the Alpine Loop 4x4 road was like I opted for a long drive from Telluride around to the north through Montrose and back south to Lake City on Hwy 149. Then, I hopped on the Alpine Loop from the east side.Next time, with better tires, I'll go for the 4x4 road and cut off about 3 hours drive time.
After my long drive I left the truck about a mile short of the trailhead (chickened out)
When I got up about 3 miles to where I wanted to camp, Thor cut loose with a wicked thunderstorm. Scared me back down the trail to a less exposed position. I was freaking out. There were a couple of strikes very close to me - flash-boom! almost simultaneous, Yikes! I ended up setting up in a line of trees that is flush to a ridge up higher. You really couldn't ask for a more secure spot in lightning.
I hate "alpine starts". I'm an aging rock climber, I need time to wake up properly ;).
When I finally did wake up, I realized my alarm didn't go off and it was already getting light. Damn! Brew a quick cup of coffee with the acrid sulfurous water found in the stream by my campsite. Way to ruin some perfectly good french roast!
This frantic start pretty much set the tone for my run up Wetterhorn. No brilliant sunrise today. As the light grew the dark clouds continued to swirl around the peaks.
At about 9:30, I had just gotten off the exposed ridgeline it began to hail. Then, Thor dropped the hammer again - HARD!
Flash-Boom!!! Crack-Pow!!! Holy Sh!t that strike triggered rockslide on Matterhorn Peak, Woah!!!
I was happy to pretty much jog the rest of the way back to my sheltered campsite and spend the rest of the day reading Edward Abbey, sleeping and exploring the little valley.