January 17th and 18th, 2003 Mt. Evans Expedition #10 trip report by Kent Drummond
Here's my version of this past weekend's trip report, along with pictures that I took. Between Darrin's report and pictures, along with this report, we should be able to get a pretty good posting to the RMM Trip Report Site. Then we'll let the rest of the lists know what they missed :-)
For me, the trip started out after work on Friday. Since I wasn't under any deadlines, I decided to hold the mog speed down to between 80 - 85 kph. It was a little less nerve wracking, since it wasn't wound up as tight as it gets at 90 kph, and the mileage from Cheyenne to Idaho Springs was 12.86 mpg, which isn't too bad.
I arrived at Echo Lab around 9:38 p.m., to the pleasant smell of a wood fire in the fireplace. Dr. Stencel, with two of his students, and Wayne Shepard with one of his friends, were already there. We visited for a while and then retired for the night, after agreeing to arise at 6:30 a.m. for breakfast.
I awoke to the aroma of cooking bacon about 7:00. Hastily dressing, I made it to the kitchen in time to help Wayne Shepard put together a mighty fine breakfast. I had brought down 3 dozen fresh eggs (courtesy of our chickens) and a loaf of home made Nantucket Portuguese bread. I made and buttered the toast, Wayne expertly flipped over easy eggs and finished the bacon which he provided, and Dr. Stencel provided the OJ, hot coffee, and hot chocolate. I can hardly wait to see what breakfast is going to be on the next MogEvans trip. I think breakfast is going to become an event not to miss.
Rodger and Kim Greer arrived about 7:45, so as soon as we cleaned up from breakfast, we were ready to go. I brought an extension cord with me this time so I was able to plug in my block heater. I don't know why I hadn't thought to do that on previous trips. It's really nice to go out there in the cold temperatures and have your truck start up just like a warm summer day.
This shows the Echo Lab dorm. The vehicles parked in front are Wayne Shepard's Blazer with Mattracks, Wayne's M-B SUV, Dr. Stencel's Explorer, and my 404.
The gate to the road up Mt. Evans was piled high with snow, courtesy of the CDOT snowplows who clear the parking lot. Wayne had done yeoman duty Friday afternoon, clearing most of the snow away with his Mattrack Blazer.
This shows what had yet to be removed before we could start up the mountain. Dr. Stencel discovered that some idiot had bypassed the padlock protocol on the gate chain, so we had to employ a special key (bolt cutters) before we could open the gate.
Chaining up while gate was being cleared.
The second hairpin curve was typically deep with snow, since it's below the tree line. Wayne, in the Mattrack, had no problem, since the tracks put down a 24 sq/ft footprint, he just floats on top of the snow. Check out Mattracks at http://www.mattrack.com/ He did a little work with his blade, and was able to move enough that I was able to get through chained up with diffs locked.
This shows me, Rodger and Kim's Swiss 404, and Robert and Charlie Christensen's 416, waiting for Wayne to finish plowing.
Working my way through the corner after Wayne had plowed some of the snow.
Here, Dr. Stencel is conferring with Wayne as he was working to make us a path through a particularly deep drift.
This shows the typical road coverage where the wind allows the snow to settle. Wayne was able to drive right over the snow, and at this point we had Christensen's 416 to second. It's heavier weight enables it to plow through the snow, making it easier for the lighter 404's to follow.
Breaking out the shovels for the first deep drift.
This shows the long drift at about mile marker 2.5. It wasn't too bad, so Wayne didn't have to do any plowing. The weight of the 416 enabled Charlie to drive right through and the 404's followed easily. You can see the summit in the background. We still had a long way to go.
As we passed above Lincoln Lake I took a picture out my door window, looking down on the lake nearly 900 feet below. The fuzziness you see in the picture is swirling snow.
Telephoto shot of the Observatory on the summit of Mt. Evans.
How far away the observatory really looked.
Telephoto shot of Pikes Peak, approximately 60 miles to the south.
At mile 7.4, we got to a drift that was about 4,100' long. We shoveled for about an hour, and finally took a break to eat lunch and assess our chances. At one point the snow was about 3' deep at the lower edge of the road, and several feet deeper than that on the other side. The Christensens, with more than 25 years experience plowing snow, said it was hopeless, and we finally agreed to give it up as having made a good try. A little after 1:00 p.m., Dr. Stencel agreed that we didn't have the manpower to get through that drift before darkness, so we headed back down to the base.
In this picture, you can see the cut of the road we had come up earlier in the morning.
This shows one of the drifts below timberline we had shoveled our way up earlier in the morning. The high side of that drift is about 2-1/2'.
This shows the three mogs lined up back at Echo Lake parking lot, just prior to our taking off the chains and heading out for our respective homes. Even though we didn't make it to the summit, a great time was had by all. You don't know what you're missing until you've participated in one of these trips. There will be other opportunities, so plan on being there! :-)