Trip Report
Mt Guyot with Charlie
Monday September 18, 2017 7:56am
Perhaps you’ve done this. You are driving a stretch of highway for perhaps the eleventy-billionth time, looking at the same mountains as groovy tunes stream out of the car speakers, and a peak you’ve been looking at since you were a babe in swaddling clothes snags on an exposed corner of your brain. Hmmmm, I wonder. You continue wondering for a few more years and several hundred similar drive-bys. One weekend you call a friend and make him an offer he can’t refuse. Its late spring, the temps are tropical in the low country but merely outstandingly pleasant in the high country. It was a big snow year so the couloir du jour is still in – from a distance anyway. Well, if it all turns to slush and poo it won’t be the first time you took your tools out for a walk. And there you have it.

Late spring and Charlie Pitts and I are hiking into the mountains southeast of Breckenridge from the South Park side. Mt Guyot has been playing with my emotions for several years now every spring with that delicious-looking couloir directly up the middle of its south facing cirque. We hike in with dry feet as there is plenty of clear ground between melting snow drifts and find a wonderful dry camping spot. Since this place is on no one’s hit parade there is an abundance of dead wood lying about and we have a wonderful camp fire. When I was young and in my prime we used to have camp fires all the time. Now, not so much and this one feels wonderful, a return to a simpler time and place. Next morning we are up at a reasonably early hour to avoid whatever debilitating heat the reflector oven this south-face bowl will be on this bluebird sky of a day. We are able to kick-step up the lower half of the couloir to where there is an actual icy step. Well, it was actual ice about a week ago but now it is like really hard Styrofoam, but superb for one swing placements and our timing is perfect. I head up the steep step and find a stance to photograph Charlie as he comes up. It is quite warm and Charlie is ice-climbing shirtless; what’s not to like about that? Above the steep step it is several hundred more feet of climbing up a steep snow & ice-filled couloir in prime late spring conditions. The couloir steepens near the top and we must noodle our way past the cornice at the top by stemming to the rock. A short stroll along a gentle ridge takes us to the top where we have to put shirts back on to avoid sunburn.

Charlie starting up the steep “icy” step half way up the couloir on Mt...
Charlie starting up the steep “icy” step half way up the couloir on Mt Guyot.
Credit: Nick Danger
Shirtless ice climbing, what is not to like about that!
Shirtless ice climbing, what is not to like about that!
Credit: Nick Danger
More climbing, fewer clothes.  Charlie is carrying a rope that, in hin...
More climbing, fewer clothes. Charlie is carrying a rope that, in hind sight, we could have left in the car.
Credit: Nick Danger
Charlie nearing the top of the couloir.
Charlie nearing the top of the couloir.
Credit: Nick Danger
As the couloir steepens near the top Charlie prepares to stem between ...
As the couloir steepens near the top Charlie prepares to stem between the snow and the rock to get past the cornice.
Credit: Nick Danger

It always feels good to tick one off the list, especially one that has been a nagging little brain itch for so many years. It is especially nice to tick it off in drama-free style on a golden spring day with a major bud. This is why we do it, people, for the sun, the sky, the air, the rock and ice, but mostly and especially for the friendship. As a history of geology aside, a guyot is a submarine mesa of volcanic origin, originally described and named by Dr. Hess who accidentally discovered them whilst analyzing seafloor bathymetry data he acquired using the sonar from his attack transport as he sailed across the Pacific in WW II. Mt Guyot in Colorado is most likely named after professor Guyot, a mid-1800 century Swiss geologist.

  Trip Report Views: 770
Nick Danger
About the Author
Nick Danger is a ice climber from Arvada, CO.

Comments
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donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
  Sep 18, 2017 - 08:02am PT
Nice recollection....that big cornice at the top would have given me pause!
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
  Sep 18, 2017 - 08:52am PT
More tasty prose for Mr. Danger, always a treat!
… a peak you’ve been looking at since you were a babe in swaddling clothes snags on an exposed corner of your brain.

Since this place is on no one’s hit parade there is an abundance of dead wood lying about …

It is quite warm and Charlie is ice-climbing shirtless; what’s not to like about that?

Why, nothing at all, especially with Donini's firm spirit spread lengthwise beneath the limpid edge of that cornice!

..............................

http://www.supertopo.com/climbers-forum/1282082/Mt-Guyot-a-taste-of-Colorado-Gold

The magnificent rubble of Mt Guyot in the fall:

ydpl8s

Trad climber
Santa Monica, California
  Sep 18, 2017 - 08:53am PT
Great to see you and Charlie Bob! Is that the peak that you see on the right not long after you enter South Park on 285?

What year was that?

thumbs up Moss
Nick Danger

Ice climber
Arvada, CO
Author's Reply  Sep 18, 2017 - 08:59am PT
Scott,
You have to drive a bit past Jefferson on 285 to see Mt Guyot, but yes, it is on your right. Also, I think this either late 1970's just before grad school or mid 1980's just after grad school.
ydpl8s

Trad climber
Santa Monica, California
  Sep 18, 2017 - 09:03am PT
Yeah, that's the one I'm thinking of. Oh, Tarbuster's TR shows that quite a bit more clearly.

What is Mr. Pitts doing these days?
Nick Danger

Ice climber
Arvada, CO
Author's Reply  Sep 18, 2017 - 10:39am PT
Charlie and his wife Cheryl retired to Montrose about 2 years ago, although Charlie does work part-time driving a school bus, or substitute teaching, I forget which. Cheryl continues to make music. Charlie actually picked up the piano and drums in order to make music with Cheryl, which I think is pretty cool. I confess that I have not heard him play.
thebravecowboy

climber
The Good Places
  Sep 18, 2017 - 12:15pm PT
now why would you go and share your fun with us, OP?

thanks 'specially for the old pics. nothing like the right conditions at the right time.

funny also, the strange wisdom of the youthful unwise adventurer: I mean better shirtless snow than short-less snow amirite?
Nick Danger

Ice climber
Arvada, CO
Author's Reply  Sep 18, 2017 - 12:32pm PT
Brave, I actually have a story and pics of a shirtless, shortless ice climb but have not posted that one up yet...still trying to keep this site family oriented. The wisdom of youth going shirtless I can confirm, the relative lack of wisdom going shortless I can also confirm.
ydpl8s

Trad climber
Santa Monica, California
  Sep 19, 2017 - 08:06am PT
^^^^^^

As can I, having been with Nick on one of the aforementioned endeavors.

Thanks for the update on Charlie.
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
  Sep 19, 2017 - 08:31am PT
Nick,

In the above photograph which I posted, I identify two main gullies, left and right of the summit.
Which one were you in?
Nick Danger

Ice climber
Arvada, CO
Author's Reply  Sep 19, 2017 - 12:53pm PT
Tarbuster, I would really love to be able to answer your question, but I can't seem to get access to the photos you posted. Couldn't access the photos you posted in your TR of Mt Guyot either, much to my chagrin. It might be our server, as we have some pretty robust security software that filters out all kinds of otherwise interesting stuff. Sorry 'bout that.

That being said, our couloir topped out to the left of the summit as you face the peak from the south looking north.
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
  Sep 19, 2017 - 01:07pm PT
Got it. Of the two that I referenced, that would be the one which I'd imagine you would've chosen, because, though they both finish roughly equidistant from the summit, it terminates at the highest point.

Love your stuff, keep it coming!
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
  Sep 19, 2017 - 02:40pm PT
Man, all along I've been thinking that I was the Rubbish Master!
Shirtless alpinism could be the next big thang!
Ezra Ellis

Trad climber
North wet, and Da souf
  Sep 19, 2017 - 03:19pm PT
Wonderful story telling there Nicking!
Thanks!
L

climber
Just bearly here
  Sep 19, 2017 - 05:15pm PT
Verrrrrrry nice ice, Mr. Danger!

However...

It is especially nice to tick it off in drama-free style on a golden spring day with a major bud.

Be that as it may, had your Major Bud gone for a big slide as he stemmed across the ice, and you managed to catch him in the Nick of time....well...I think another Largo-esque tale might now be told for generations around the campfire...

:-)
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