ahh sunday... a good day to sit at home and relax after yesterday's adventure: climbing navajo peak in the indian peaks wilderness with tim and cynthia. we got an early start (5:30) and hiked the four mile approach in a couple of hours. from the end of the trail, we headed across the talus fields (which are an interesting mix of natural talus and glaciers' morainal material) towards the base of the peak. the climb starts with a medium angle snow-climb. the snow slope is probably about 50 degrees, but the snow was perfect; nice styrofoam texture with a crispy crust. it's amazing to me how fast you can gain elevation on snow. you just sort of plod up the face, focusing on foot placement and balance (we all had packs on) and sooner or later you pause and take a look around. the sudden realization that you are hundreds of vertical feet from where you were, staring down a perfectly planar slope, can be vertiginous. ...that and the fact that you can see nebraska from that same vantage point. the snow climb ends in the saddle between najavo and it's neighbor, and the technical rock climbing begins. now, i said it was technical, which is a bit of a misnomer. the hardest pitch out of the two-or-three pitches there is 5.4, so it's not demanding... it's just cold and high and can be awkward if you're wearing plastic boots and a pack. we scrambled up to the climb and roped up... just as the weather was starting to really turn from clear to snowy. after topping out, we ate some food and headed down the descent route; off the south ridge of the mountain and into airplane gully. airplane is interesting because there's actually an old plane-wreck there. lots of twisted aluminum and distorted structure make it hard to identify what's what, or what's left, but it reminded me very much of reading old tintin comics where on several occasions there where rescue missions mounted to remote crash sites in high mountains. we finished out the descent and backtracked through the valley towards the car. as we walked, a wet snow fell languidly from the clouds above, muting everything in the valley. the spruces took on a familiar look and brush came alive with subtle yet distinct lavender and sage colored hues.
as we reached the car at dusk we were wet and tired but in high spirits... it's not too often that you get to spend an entire day on an alpine adventure with friends.