Ski season is officially over in Vail, with the lifts closing last weekend. So. That means no more snowy ski photos for now, and even though I like the idea of rock climbing with the sun on my back, that was definitely not the situation this weekend in Rocky Mountain National Park. Last summer, I wanted to climb Dream Weaver, a snow/ice/rock mixed route in the couloir on the left side of Mt. Meeker’s Flying Buttress (at right). As it turns out, we were too late to climb Dream Weaver then (the snow/ice had melted out), and this weekend, we were probably too early to climb it…even if the weather would have cooperated. Despite recent snowfall and a weather report that called for high winds, we (Rob, Lee, and I) packed up our gear, with the intention of having a look at the conditions. But above tree line, we could barely see each other, with howling winds and blowing snow.
The walk in, however, was pleasant for about the first hour. The approach follows the normal route to Long’s Peak and Chasm Lake. I managed to spot a white hare bounding across our path, a first sighting for me. It had big fleet feet and floppy ears flattened out on its back.
Once we were nearly out of the trees, the wind had picked up, and we were able to see snow blowing violently off of a peak on the opposite side of the valley. Still, we continued. But once we got out into the open, we found ourselves floundering in knee-deep snow and whiteout conditions. I had icicles forming on my face, and Rob struggled to get out his goggles. We huddled together—getting battered around while trying to add layers of clothing—and knew that the attempt to continue would have been futile. An hour later, we were back down at the car, negotiating an icy parking lot, stripping off frozen clothing to warm up on the ride home. Dream Weaver: deferred, for now.