Tuesday, December 11, 2012
Square Top Mountain in early December
In preparation for my climb upcoming climb of Mt. Kilimanjaro, I've been trying to get in as many high altitude climbs in the preceding weeks. Trying to do this in December in Colorado presents some unique challenges. Due to the lack of snow to this point, avalanches are not much of a concern at this point. However, winter wind can be brutal. Despite a forecast of 30 mile per hour winds and gusts up to 70 miles per hour, I decided to give Square Top Mountain off of Guanella Pass a go. Most folks go up to Guanella Pass in order to climb Mt. Bierstadt or Mt. Evans, two of Colorado's 14ers closest to Denver. I'd done so many times, but I figured it was time to head west from the pass rather than east. The hike up Square Top is not particularly difficult. From the winter road closure to the 13,794 ft summit, it is around 4 mile each way and 2700 vertical feet. There is a good trail for most of it and a fairly gentle slope for the rest. As expected, the wind was brutal. If I removed my glove for even a few seconds my hand would go numb. Surprisingly, there were at least 10 other people on the mountain with me. Fortunately, the views from the summit were beautiful and I was able to find a pile of rocks to act as a wind break as I enjoyed my lunch. Most importantly, I felt strong all day and wasn't even all that tired when I finished. This bodes well for Kilimanjaro.
I didn't take any pictures but the following link has some good stuff.
Square Top Mountain info
I've also provided a link to my path and data in TrainingPeaks.