Christy and I climbed Gladstone Peak on Saturday, a 13,913 ft. scree covered mountain in the San Juans, and with that summit, Christy has stood atop the 100 tallest mountains in Colorado. So I will say once again (and for the umpteenth time this year), congratulations Christy.
For some background on the 100 tallest mountains in Colorado, or Centennial Peaks as they’re officially known, see an earlier post from Clinton Peak here. Looking back, we figured it was in 2001 that Christy unknowingly started working on her “100” list. While accompanying me to climb the 14er Mount Lindsey, we scampered over to the nearby Centennial peak, UN13,828, a.k.a.”Huerfano Peak” because the “100” was something I was shooting for. Finishing my Centennial list with Jagged Peak in July 2006, Christy, who had partnered with me for most of my summits, was only 20 or so peaks shy of being done herself, and had nearly all of the hard ones behind her.
By last fall, she had worked her way to #99 but for various reasons, the last summit remained at large for almost a year. Due to its reputation for loose rock, we thought it would be best to try to ski this one, to get it when the rockfall hazard was buried by snow. But the first ski trip was canceled due to bad weather and a second attempt we hoped for this past spring never came to be. On that day, we had hoped to tag its summit after skiing both El Diente and Mount Wilson, but as the 3rd peak of the day we didn’t have close to enough time to make it happen.
But rather than wait another year so we could return to ski, Christy decided she just wanted it done. As it turns out, and as is often the case with the advice read online and in certain guidebooks, the threat of rockfall and “grand piano sized blocks teetering on the edge” was completely overdone. It was no worse than the other surrounding 14ers and required nothing more than the standard care. Starting out from the Sunshine Mesa trailhead, we ascended into Bilk Basin, reached the Wilson/Gladstone saddle, and carefully climbed up the North Ridge. The approach from this side is beautiful, with no people and awesome views of Lizard Head, the Sneffles range and the Ice Lake Group. The upper ridge itself was airy enough to be fun without feeling too exposed and views from the summit rival those from the surrounding peaks.
And so concludes another chapter in her personal book. Way to go. What’s next?
I’m afraid to ask.