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Sunday, September 29, 2013

Mt. Arkansas - north ridge

Date:   August 10 2013
Mission:  Summit Mt. Arkansas (elevation 13,795 ft.) 

Who:  My wife Siona and myself
Lesson re-learned:   You don't need to gain a summit to have a fun day in the mountains.



After having a successful summit of Longs Peak in late July, I spent at least a week hobbling around in pain from my lingering ankle injury.  Right about the time I was able to walk somewhat normally again, a rare kid free weekend opportunity opened up.  My wife and I decided to take the two huskies up Mt. Arkansas.  We choose the 13er to avoid the normal crowds seen on 14ers on the weekends.  We were rewarded with a mountain to ourselves. 

The hike up Mt. Arkansas is listed on 13ers.com sounds easy on paper.  It's barely over 5 miles and less than 3000 ft. in elevation gain.  Don't let this fool you.  Maybe it was due to my still not 100% ankle, but I found this mountain to be difficult and here's why. 



This was taken on our way down, but we went through these willows twice.  See my wife and dogs in this pic?

The route up this mountain has no trail, it's a bushwhack through the willows and the trees until you reach the tundra.  From there it's a steep climb to the ridge which is where the real fun begins.  The ridge is some legit talus hoping fun followed by some short class 3 sections which can be bypassed. 


Myself and the dogs headed over to the steep climb up the to the ridge.


It may not be totally apparent from the pictures, but the area in between the trees and the talus on the ridge is very uneven ground filled with pika holes, marmot mansions, and wild flowers.  Very beautiful area, but not exactly great terrain for someone nursing an ankle injury.


Views of the Mosquito range.

Talus covers this entire ridge.

Our oldest husky Altai is losing his eyesight and he was having issues navigating the talus.  Siona told me she would wait with the dogs while I went to the summit.  I decided that I would just turn back with her.  I would never feel comfortable leaving my wife alone on a mountain.  I know she could navigate her way out, but it's more about the fact that I wanted to just spend time with her, and not necessarily chase a summit of some mountain.

Views of the Climax mine from where Siona and I turned around.

Side-hilling is not fun with an injured ankle.

My amazing wife and my two huskies enjoying the hike through a field of wildflowers.


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