Saturday morning, I was driving South on US 287. The coffee was steaming and the sun was rising to the East with a glow the mix of purple and orange....Dispatch was blasting from the radio. After a quick detour through Arvada, my friend Mark and I were off to St. Mary's Glacier to earn a few turns. Good conversation ensued throughout the drive up the canyon.
St. Mary's is a relatively small glacier about 70 miles from Longmont. Our intent was simple: bootpack the glacier, have a few snacks and ski to the car. Basking in the glory of it all? Optional!
After reaching the top of the glacier, we decided there was plenty of time for additional adventure. James Peak was only a mile or so away and would be a great climb. We decided to take on the 13,294 ft beast of a mountain. Ok, maybe I'm exaggerating, but it would definitely turn out to be more than we expected.
Once arriving at the base of the mountain, the fun began. Soon, we were getting slammed with 60-70 mph wind gusts. Our jackets flapped in the wind louder than a rock concert and the skis on our packs acted as sails. The power of Mother Nature can truly knock you down to size. Once reaching the top of the snow field, we decided the summit would wait for another day...we had tackled all but 700 vert ft or so and we couldn't take any more. I would find that my socks had frozen upon putting my ski boots on, so I was anxious as ever to move to more of a mild climate.
Skiing down a mountain doesn't always put into perspective the work that was accomplished, but this time was different. As we made our way back to the glacier, the sun was peaking from behind the clouds, the snow was getting softer, and our feet had almost thawed. The last bit of skiing to the car was deep through the trees and left us wanting more.
By far, the best part of the day was enjoying being in nature with a good friend. When you're in the midst of a unpleasant situation (i.e. excessive wind and frozen boots), it's easy just to focus on that and that alone. But when the mountain is behind you and you're all alone, the question is not "what will I do next," but "what will WE do next!"
I'm just thankful I can always come home to my greatest adventure....See below!!!