Ascent of Aspen Mountain on 2011-03-17

Climber: Paul Barish

Date:Thursday, March 17, 2011
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Aspen Mountain
    Elevation:10680 ft / 3255 m

Ascent Trip Report

Ok, before I write my TR I has to be known that the 10680 foot summit is NOT the summit of Aspen mountain. That is a subsidary peak of Aspen mountain called Bell mountain. I know this because yesterday I got to that point thinking it was the true summit untill I saw someone who told me it was not the top of Aspen mountain and that to reach the true summit where the gondola leads to at 11220 feet, I got there and verified this personaly. That being said I began my climb up aspen mountain at about 6 in the morning. My dad was going to go with me but his boots had no traction on the ice on the first 10 feet of the mountain. So I went alone intent on making a winter solo of the peak. I had no crampons no trekking poles no ice axe and there was not a soul around. As the mountain got steeper and icyer I had to kick steps with my regular boots that were by no means at all ment to kick steps in ice. Reguardless I made steady progress enjoying every second of my liberating solo climb. It eventually got to the point were the ice was around 50 degrees in angle. I didn't know how to get myself up it wile so poorly equipt, looking for a solution I found a frozen stick and began to chop steps with it and use it as an axe, and it worked! I kept the stick for later and continued up. While I was hiking I saw a snowmobile drive up behind me on his way to work operating ski lifts on top of Bell mountain where I later saw a sign that said 10,680 feet. About a half hour later I arive on what I thaut was the top of Aspen mountain. I took summit pictures and then found the man that I saw snowmobiling who was opperating the lifts, I hopped on the lift and was ready to be taken down, then in my first interaction with anyone since I started climbing he told me that I could not ride this down but if I went to the summit then I could ride the gondola down. I was shocked! I thaught that was the top! So again still solo I litteraly ran off across flat terrain for about two minutes before I got to ice and had to hike. I was going as fast as I could because it was snowing for the last hour and it looked as if the storm was getting worse. After hiking/climbing with my trusty stick up moderatly steep terrain I arrived at the top were the gondola is and saw a sign that said 11,220 feet. I saw other people here but they were all skiiers who rode the gondola up and ski down. I looked around and saw a point that looked highest and climbed up that which was deep slushy snow by now and took some pictures. To get to that point it took me about 3 hours which I pride myself on doing with such improper equiptment, aswell as the fact that it was my first time above sea level since July of 2010 as I flew to Aspen the day before I came from home at sea level in Florida. I rode the goldola down with excitement as I completed my winter solo climb of 11,220 foot Aspen mountain.
Summary Total Data
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Snow on Ground, Snow Climb

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