12 Glory Laps in 12 Hours

12 Glory Laps in 12 Hours
Last February 20th, I hiked and skied 12 laps on Mt. Glory. 19,638 feet climbed with skis on my back and 19,638 feet skied to raise money for Camp To Belong. It's snowing again and I'm ready for the 2nd edition! Click the logo for more info and ways to support camp!

Camp To Belong - Elk Mountain Grand Traverse

Camp To Belong - Elk Mountain Grand Traverse
We're racing the Elk Mtn Grand Traverse this March, a 40 mile ski race across the roof of Colorado in the middle of the night! Click for updates on our training and fundraising progress!

Peaked Sports

Peaked Sports
Driggs, ID

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Another Table Mtn Ascent

I've been planning another trip up Table since my last ascent a couple weeks ago so I decided to take advantage of a Wednesday morning off from work and set off on another jaunt up the mountain. I was scheduled to be at work at noon so this would require a pre-dawn start to allow for my estimated 3 hour ascent and 1 1/2 hour descent recorded from my last trip.

It was snowy last time and chilly with temps near freezing or slightly below on the summit. I've done this route so many times in summer conditions that even with the added snow and lower temps, it still felt within the norm for an outing up Table. This time, it was only slightly snowier after a little skiff blew through on Tuesday afternoon, but the drastic drop in temperature last night made this trip substantially more serious. It was 13 below zero when I left the trailhead in the dark at 6:21am.

I had the benefit of the full (or almost full) moon and a crystal clear sky (as most sub-zero nights are) so I found myself constantly looking over my shoulder to watch as the moon set, the sky grew lighter, and I climbed higher.

Looking back into Alta, WY and Driggs, ID

I had decided to start out wearing my hiking boots for the first 1,000 ft or so until the snow was deep enough to use snowshoes then change into my skate-ski boots that I had packed along and strap the snowshoes on my feet from that point on. My theory was that the hiking boots were necessary for the rocky lower section and the skate-ski boots would provide me with enough additional insulation to protect my toes from damage. It kinda worked.

The skate-ski boots were indeed much better than my hiking boots, but I'll use my plastic shell mountaineering boots or find some thick neoprene over-booties for next time. My toes were numb by this point. And almost every part of exposed skin felt extremely cold. The area around my eyes was the only place I could comfortably leave uncovered. It was almost 8am, I was around 9,000 ft, and although I don't know exactly how cold it was at this point, it felt much colder here than when I started.

The Grand Teton, Table Mtn, the Middle Teton, and the South Teton

It had been bitterly cold all the way up, but nothing compared to what it was like on top. Not only was there a slight wind out of the north, but I'm sure the ambiant temperature was somewhere under -30 degrees. I had a medium pair of gloves under a thick pair of leather mittens and when I took my right mitten off to take pictures, my fingertips turned ice cold within seconds. I had no feeling in most of my toes. After a few minutes on top, I began to feel the cold air working its way into my core.

When I got back to the trailhead at 11am, my car thermometer read 7 degrees and it felt balmy.

*For this trip, I only wore three layers on my upper body: A lightweight Smartwool longsleeve shirt under a midweight polyester running shirt and a Mont-Bell Ex Light down jacket over that. I was plenty warm and, for much of the time, had the down coat unzipped because it's too warm. If anyone out there is looking for the warmest coat on the planet that won't take up your entire backpack, back seat, or closet, I strongly suggest giving this one a look. Here is a link:

Mont-Bell Ex Light Down Jacket