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Ascent of Half Mountain on 2013-09-06

Climber: Dennis Stewart

Date:Friday, September 6, 2013
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Half Mountain
    Location:USA-Colorado
    Elevation:11482 ft / 3499 m

Ascent Trip Report

I wasn't planning to do a climb today, but when some friends asked my wife, Geri, to join them on a hike, I took the opportunity to get away myself and climb a peak I knew my wife would not want to try. I was getting a very late start, but Half Mountain is just a little over tree line, so I figured I would be relatively safe if the weather turned bad, since I could quickly retreat back into the trees. I parked my car at the Glacier Basin Park and Ride and took the shuttle bus to Glacier Gorge Junction. I finally began my hike at 10:20 AM. My goal was very focused, so I just hiked right by Alberta Falls with just a passing glace. That probably looked strange to the other hikers there who were enjoying the view. I continued hiking to the NE side of Half Mountain using the North Longs Peak Trail. On my topo map, this side of the mountain appeared to have the least amount of grade. From here it was an easy bushwhack with far fewer downed trees than I have experienced on other cross country treks in the Park. My pace slowed as the slope quickly increased and I felt like a slug. Rock fields increased in number as I got nearer to the summit, but distant thunder and dark clouds encouraged me to take an early lunch. After 30 minutes, with the weather remaining at the same distance, I began my quest again, but was forced to stop one more time when it began to rain. The thunder still remained distant, but I didn't want to take a chance on a stray lightning bolt selecting Half Mountain as its spot to deliver its electron load. I was only about .1 mile from the summit, so when the rain stopped and the thunder diminished, I made as quick a dash for the summit as I could on the steep slope. Despite the cloudy weather, I had a good view in all directions. My GPS recorded a total distance of 4 miles, which I covered in 4.25 hours, including my two safety weather breaks. There was a small cairn with a PVC pipe register, but like most of the registers I have found in the Park, the paper log inside was a tattered mess. I didn't even bother to sign it. Due to the weather, I did not remain on the summit long and I returned to Glacier Gorge Junction to catch the bus back to my car. I had to hike back in a drizzle more than half of the way back. My descent required 2.25 hours.
Summary Total Data
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Bushwhack, Scramble



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