The first thing worth noting, exclaiming really, is that Nate (and the rest of us) climbed Redcloud Peak today. 14,034’. Nate’s first fourteener.
The alarm went off at 6:30 and although it was cold we managed to going. We managed to break camp at 8:15, which wasn’t great, but sufficient. Sure enough, about 15 minutes after last night’s turnaround I found a flat camping spot near water. Completely above tree line, but I would have been ok with it. Ah, that’s ok. Our site, although close to trail and creek, worked well enough.
Between camp and tree line we came across what seemed like dozens of pikas. For those not familiar with the species, pikas are a small round rodent that live in the alpine zone of the Rocky Mountains. They sleep in the winter, but don’t hibernate, so they spend their summers gathering grass and drying it in the sun to make hay for later. They basically squeak, run around, and look adorable.
I kept the whip cracking throughout the trip up. Our hiking wasn’t fast, but stops were brief and we kept moving at a consistent pace. The views were fabulous, especially after reaching a saddle between Redcloud and its neighbor. From there the trail was marked as class 2, defined as “Simple scrambling, with the possible occasional use of the hands.” In this case, no hands were needed, as the terrain was just a lot of loose scree.
The climb from the saddle was very steep, but that just meant we ate up the altitude faster. At 11:47, Nate summited. We took plenty of photos, chatted with the other hikers there, and enjoyed the moment. This was a proud Daddy moment for me, and was the high point (both literal and figurative) of our vacation.
We carefully descended, and then took it casual after we were out of thunderstorm danger. It was a long day for everyone, and Nate was quite a trooper. We watched more pika antics before making it to camp to eat and relax.