- Date Hiked: March 22, 2005
- Miles Hiked: 4.5
- Elevation Gain: 2,485'
- Hiking Partner(s): Dan Robbins, Ryan
Kober, Matt Ruff
learning that the road to Guanella Pass was not open to hike Mount
Bierstadt, Mount Machebeuf
became our second option for hiking. I had just been in the area
and thought it would make for a nice snowshoe for the four of us.
Ryan and Matt were relatively new to hiking, but since I had been on the
southwest ridge of Machebeuf, I was confident we could all make
it. We were the first people up the trail which had approximately
three to five new inches of snow on it to begin with.
gaining a small amount of elevation, the trail levels out in Herman
Gulch. Since the terrain was relatively flat, breaking trail in
the snow which was now eight to twelve inches deep wasn't
difficult. We lost the trail on a couple of occasions, but usually
picked it up again after a few hundred feet. We reached the base
of the ridge where a scree slope leads to the ridge and took an extended
break. It was turning out to be a blue bird day with little wind
and clear skies.
hiking turned to climbing as we made slow progress up the talus.
Matt was trailing the group some, so Dan stayed with him while Ryan and
I continued up through a small chute to the ridgeline. Once on the
ridge, we caught a glimpse of Dan and Matt in a small notch and notified
them that we'd wait for them. After about 30 minutes, Dan gained
the ridge and said that Matt was done for the day. We debated on
what to do for a short period of time when I suggested I return to Matt,
give him my extra clothes and instruct him wait for us in the trees at
the bottom of the scree slope. Dan felt uncomfortable with this
proposition and volunteered to take Matt back down while Ryan and I
continued on. I tried to convince Dan to continue with us, but I
couldn't sway his decision.
Ryan is a novice hiker, he climbed strongly with me as we picked our way
up the ridge in the solid class three scrambling. Things were
going smoothly until we reached the end of the technical section of the
ridge and encountered a large snow slope blocking our path. I
asked Ryan to hold tight while I pulled out my axe and plowed up the
steep embankment for
about 30 vertical feet. I had reached the point where I turned
around only weeks ago and knew we were only 300 feet from the
summit. I yelled down to Ryan and told him that I thought it was
safe for him to continue and follow my tracks up the snow.
this point, Ryan said that he was getting a severe headache and wasn't
sure if he should continue. Of course we were both disappointed,
but didn't want to press our luck by having him resume hiking and worsen
his condition. I asked if he would mind if I went for the
summit. He graciously obliged. In the interest of the
individuals waiting on me, I committed a cardinal sin of hiking and
dropped my pack. All I took with me was my trekking poles and
camera. The remainder of the route was just as I suspected from my
previous trip, a gentle grade to the summit.
than one disappointing false summit, the hike went quickly. I took
a few photos and motored back down. I was a bit concerned about
descending the steep snow, but it wasn't a big deal. Once down on
the perch where Ryan was waiting, we scrambled back down to the top of
the chute where Dan had left a quart of water for us since were we
running low when we parted ways. The down-climb was fun and before
we knew it, we were back near the Herman Gulch trail where Dan and Matt
were waiting. The four of us quickly snow shoed back to the
trailhead and called it a day.
- Click here
to view a 2D
map of the area where this hike is located.