ilanarama: a mountain (mountain)
[personal profile] ilanarama
Pigeon summit 2


That's me, on top of the 57th highest mountain in Colorado (13,972 ft). Wikipedia says of Pigeon Peak: In terms of local relief, it is one of the most impressive peaks in Colorado. Its most dramatic rise is over the Animas River to the west, over which it rises 5,750 ft (1,750 m) in under 2.5 mi (4 km). Also, its east face is a 1,000 ft (305 m) cliff. Also, it can kill you with its brain.

We took the tourist train along the Animas River to the Needleton trailhead - actually, we walked about a mile to the train station, then got on the train, which is pretty cool because hey, we get to climb a major peak without driving anywhere! Lots of backpackers got off with us, but they all headed straight for the trail up Chicago Basin to go climb the popular 14ers. We turned left instead, looking for the infamously steep and poorly-marked trail toward Ruby Creek, and instantly got lost. In fact, we got lost half a dozen times on the way and had to bushwhack. Which wasn't necessarily any harder than actually being on the trail. (I commented that calling the path we were on a "trail" was like calling a 110-baud acoustic coupler a "modem" - sure, you could use it, but it was terribly slow and the connection kept dropping.) But we persevered, and were rewarded with tremendous views back down to the Animas River; eventually, by dint of much hard uphill, we gained beautiful Ruby Lake (not the same Ruby Lake we visited last month, from which we took this stunning picture of Pigeon's southern aspect) where Britt, naturally, fished:

britt fishing ruby from above

We continued through gnarly boulderfields and up a whole lot more elevation gain to a lovely high meadow where we camped under the dramatic spires of the sharp pointy granite peaks of the Needles Range - including Pigeon Peak, which is the hunk of rock looming above our tent in the left-hand picture below. (Speaking of hunks, the preceding link may not be entirely worksafe as Britt is gazing at Animas Mountain wearing nothing but his down booties.) A mountain goat visited us that evening, but it was dark by then and none of the photos came out, alas.

camp 2 alpenglow

The next morning we headed up. (See the rocks in the left part of the meadow in that first picture? Our tent is the rightmost large "rock".)

climb 1 climb 2

climb 3 climb 4

(I always seem to have to include one obligatory snowfield picture, don't I.) Anyway, we went up. And up. Past mountain goats and wildflowers Our camp was at about 11,600 ft; we climbed steeply to the saddle between Turret and Pigeon at just under 13,100 feet, where we had a nice view of Pigeon's sheer east face. Then...we had to go down.

It was a little dispiriting to have to descend 700 hard-earned vertical feet (and a pain in the butt to re-ascend them on the return!) but we hiked down to a notch on Pigeon's south side, contoured under a rocky rib, and then climbed up the grassy ramps on the west side of the peak. 1000 vertical feet later we were at the beginning of the rock scrambling, around 13,400 feet; cairns marked at least three different routes, but eventually they converged, and we gained the summit where we snacked and gazed at the mountains around us, many of which we have climbed, and at the Animas River way, way, way below us. We even heard the train whistle.

rocks 1 Pigeon summit 1

ilana arrow river from summit

(View NE, view N, and a closer look at Jagged Mountain, which we climbed in 2005 and the Rio Grande Pyramid, which I hope to climb over Labor Day weekend.)

We retraced our steps to our camp. The next day we did not retrace our steps - that is, we managed to lose the trail only twice - and hiked back down. On the way we stopped at Ruby Lake again to fish and gather mushrooms, and Britt (that crazy man) went for a swim; then we continued down to the river and met the train, which took us back home.

britt swimming in Ruby Lake train

Or just go straight to the photos on Flickr here.

(no subject)

Date: 2008-08-26 03:31 am (UTC)
thalia: Delirium from Neil Gaiman's Sandman comic (Default)
From: [personal profile] thalia
Oh, cool! I know just where that train stop is. [g] What a gorgeous area, and it looks like a fabulous hike.

(no subject)

Date: 2008-08-26 03:44 am (UTC)
ext_59397: my legs (Default)
From: [identity profile] ilanarama.livejournal.com
Hee, you do indeed. It is a remarkable area - so many big, pointy mountains all around.

(no subject)

Date: 2008-08-26 03:50 am (UTC)
cordelia_v: my default icon (Default)
From: [personal profile] cordelia_v
Taking the train to go hiking; how cool is that? And the photos are lovely!

(no subject)

Date: 2008-08-26 04:25 pm (UTC)
ext_59397: my legs (Default)
From: [identity profile] ilanarama.livejournal.com
It really is cool! And expensive, alas. But it cuts off something like 12 extra miles each way, which would be an entire (long) day, and it really is a scenic ride. There must have been 40 people on that train that got off with backpacks at Needleton.

(no subject)

Date: 2008-08-26 03:57 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] malnpudl.livejournal.com
WOW. Those are some spectacular pictures! What a fantastic adventure. :-)

(no subject)

Date: 2008-08-26 04:44 pm (UTC)
ext_59397: my legs (Default)
From: [identity profile] ilanarama.livejournal.com
Thank you! It surely was.

(no subject)

Date: 2008-08-26 04:25 am (UTC)
ext_9063: (Default)
From: [identity profile] mlyn.livejournal.com
Get down with your bad self! Wonderful pictures and story. Congratulations on another impressive and fun trip.

(no subject)

Date: 2008-08-26 04:50 pm (UTC)
ext_59397: my legs (Default)
From: [identity profile] ilanarama.livejournal.com
Thank you!

(no subject)

Date: 2008-08-26 06:31 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] aubrem.livejournal.com
That picture is terrifying! Get down from there right now - carefully!!

These pics are breathtaking. I can almost imagine how you feel when you are out there - very, very alive.

(no subject)

Date: 2008-08-26 04:57 pm (UTC)
ext_59397: my legs (Default)
From: [identity profile] ilanarama.livejournal.com
Hee, Britt and I were joking that that one is the "terrify our mothers" shot.

It's just fabulous to be out there. It's like...the world of paved roads and buildings and lots of people just doesn't exist. Like going to Narnia or something. And the knowledge that you have to do it on your own, that you have to read the map and climb the trail and carry all your things, that makes it even sweeter.

(no subject)

Date: 2008-08-26 09:42 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] meri-oddities.livejournal.com
You always end up in the most beautiful places.

(no subject)

Date: 2008-08-26 04:57 pm (UTC)
ext_59397: my legs (Default)
From: [identity profile] ilanarama.livejournal.com
Hee, well, easy to do in this beautiful state!

(no subject)

Date: 2008-08-26 10:48 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ptyx.livejournal.com
Wonderful places and wonderful photos, as always! The top one is really triumphal.

(no subject)

Date: 2008-08-26 05:04 pm (UTC)
ext_59397: my legs (Default)
From: [identity profile] ilanarama.livejournal.com
Thank you! And you can bet I felt that way.

(no subject)

Date: 2008-08-26 01:19 pm (UTC)
starfishchick: (Default)
From: [personal profile] starfishchick
Wow, these are impressive and very beautiful!

(Plus, your husband's naked butt! Did he know you were going to put that on the internet for all to see?)

(no subject)

Date: 2008-08-26 05:05 pm (UTC)
ext_59397: my legs (Default)
From: [identity profile] ilanarama.livejournal.com
Hee, I asked him if I could. I was nice and just put the booties one up - I also took a couple of pictures of him fishing naked (just before he jumped into the lake) and they were taken from much closer and were much more, um, butt-full.

(no subject)

Date: 2008-08-27 03:23 am (UTC)
ext_3244: (Default)
From: [identity profile] ignazwisdom.livejournal.com
I also took a couple of pictures of him fishing naked (just before he jumped into the lake)

Did he catch any more fish that way?

(no subject)

Date: 2008-08-27 04:29 pm (UTC)
ext_59397: my legs (Default)
From: [identity profile] ilanarama.livejournal.com
[obligatory joke about the size of the worm]

(no subject)

Date: 2008-08-26 05:06 pm (UTC)

(no subject)

Date: 2008-08-26 05:25 pm (UTC)
ext_8892: (Default)
From: [identity profile] beledibabe.livejournal.com
Oh, fabulous!!! What gorgeous photos, and what a wonderful tale!

Thanks for letting us armchair hikers appreciate the beauty.

(no subject)

Date: 2008-08-27 01:55 am (UTC)
ext_59397: my legs (Default)
From: [identity profile] ilanarama.livejournal.com
I am delighted you enjoyed it!

(no subject)

Date: 2008-08-26 05:34 pm (UTC)
libitina: snake across an open book (Default)
From: [personal profile] libitina
That looks like a ton of fun! You don't go anywhere that isn't stunningly gorgeous, do you?

I wasn't horrified by the standing on the peak picture until I got to the climbing across to get to the peak picture. Oh my!

(no subject)

Date: 2008-08-27 01:56 am (UTC)
ext_59397: my legs (Default)
From: [identity profile] ilanarama.livejournal.com
Life is too short to go anywhere that isn't stunningly gorgeous. :-)

We did a picture of Britt standing on that block, too. He just stepped across. Me, I couldn't quite muster up the courage.

(no subject)

Date: 2008-08-26 05:52 pm (UTC)
wychwood: chess queen against a runestone (Default)
From: [personal profile] wychwood
Awesome :) That first picture, the one outside the cut-tag, just makes me happy.

(no subject)

Date: 2008-08-27 01:57 am (UTC)
ext_59397: my legs (Default)
From: [identity profile] ilanarama.livejournal.com
As you can tell, I was darn happy, too!

(no subject)

Date: 2008-08-26 05:55 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] alembicresearch.livejournal.com
Beautiful picturs as always!

Whenever you posts photos I go to GoogleEarth and see
if I can re-create the view. :-)

Wikipedia says of Pigeon Peak: "Also, it can kill you with its brain."?
Weird! I don't get it.

(no subject)

Date: 2008-08-27 01:57 am (UTC)
ext_59397: my legs (Default)
From: [identity profile] ilanarama.livejournal.com
It looks pretty impressive in GoogleEarth, doesn't it? We looked at it before going.

And that line was just my joke for my fannish friends who enjoy the Firefly series.

(no subject)

Date: 2008-08-27 04:18 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] alembicresearch.livejournal.com
Ah, I love the "Firefly" series ...
It's been a while tho since I've seen any of it
I guess I'm not that fannish ... hard to be too fannish
with a show that only lasted one season, alas.

I've been more into Battlestar Galactica lately.
I guess I'm technically I'm not fannish tho ...

(no subject)

Date: 2008-08-27 04:30 pm (UTC)
ext_59397: my legs (Default)
From: [identity profile] ilanarama.livejournal.com
I've heard great things about BSG, but I've only seen a single episode (of the new series).

(no subject)

Date: 2008-08-27 05:09 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] alembicresearch.livejournal.com
BSG is probably the best Sci-Fi on right now ...
I don't have cabel tho, so I'm watching it
via DVD checked out from the local library.
Which means I'm always one year behind
the current.

But what's the hurry?

(no subject)

Date: 2008-08-26 06:40 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] skuf.livejournal.com
Argh, the mountain top pics freak me out, being afraid of heights :oD !

Beautiful pics as usual. Terribly envious.

(no subject)

Date: 2008-08-27 01:58 am (UTC)
ext_59397: my legs (Default)
From: [identity profile] ilanarama.livejournal.com
Oh, no! I am actually not as blase as I pretend - as you see I had to sort of crawl onto that big block rather than just step across (as Britt did).

(no subject)

Date: 2008-08-27 03:44 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] callumvixen.livejournal.com
OOOOOOooooooooOOOOooooOOOO! *is jealous* Gorgeous pics! Thank you for sharing.

(no subject)

Date: 2008-08-27 04:54 pm (UTC)
ext_59397: my legs (Default)
From: [identity profile] ilanarama.livejournal.com
You are welcome! And I trust you to be hush-hush about my seekrit identity. :-)

And if you ever want to come out here, we shall go climb mountains!

(no subject)

Date: 2008-08-27 05:10 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] callumvixen.livejournal.com
My lips are sealed. And yes! Climb mountains! \o/

(no subject)

Date: 2008-08-27 02:37 pm (UTC)
ext_1356: (Default)
From: [identity profile] sobelle.livejournal.com
Yeah, am in agreement with the other acrophobics who freaked seeing you perched on the top of that very precarious peak.... eek! (there's an epic poem in there somewhere =) and when I later (on Flickr) saw what the eastern view looked like... from the other side? the really really steep side?? I freaked a little more...

Commenting on Flickr? it will be one continuous repetition of WHOA! seriously... as an armchair tourist I thank you and Britt for sharing such incredible views and experiences. (and trout =)

(no subject)

Date: 2008-08-27 04:55 pm (UTC)
ext_59397: my legs (Default)
From: [identity profile] ilanarama.livejournal.com
Hee, yeah, we of course did not climb the steep side. It was exciting enough just to look at it. I lay on my belly and looked down, and that was enough!

Thank you for looking and commenting.

(no subject)

Date: 2008-09-04 07:01 pm (UTC)
ext_59397: my legs (Default)
From: [identity profile] ilanarama.livejournal.com
Hee, I pointed my folks to the Flickr page and when I talked to them on the phone last night, my mom said, "oh, I saw someone else had the same reaction - GET DOWN FROM THERE RIGHT NOW!"

(no subject)

Date: 2008-09-05 02:19 am (UTC)
ext_1356: (Default)
From: [identity profile] sobelle.livejournal.com
Ha! high fives your Mom! =D

(no subject)

Date: 2008-08-29 10:11 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] eejitalmuppet.livejournal.com
Wow, just wow. I always enjoy your climbing posts, but this one is particularly special.

(no subject)

Date: 2008-09-04 06:59 pm (UTC)
ext_59397: my legs (Default)
From: [identity profile] ilanarama.livejournal.com
Thank you so much! It was a special trip, I think - a peak we'd seen so many times and thought about climbing, and finally getting up there and doing it.

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ilanarama: me, The Other Half, Moab UT 2009 (Default)
Ilana

August 2017

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My running PRs:

5K: 21:03 (downhill) 21:43 (loop)
10K: 43:06 (downhill)
10M: 1:12:59
13.1M: 1:35:55
26.2M: 3:23:31

You can reach me by email at heyheyilana @ gmail.com

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