Running high, running dry

Sometimes life gives you lemons and you search Craigslist for a good juicer.  Suffice it to say that I’ve had a lot of lemonade in 2012, especially in the winter recreation department.  The best snow of last season was, weirdly in November and December.  Then nada after New Years.  This year has been more nada.  Anyway, instead of dusting off the skis, I got a chance for one extraordinarily late-season mountain run.

There is usually pretty significant avalanche danger on this section of trail. Not today.

The lemonade came with an super-sized order of wind.  That, at least, is not atypical for winter in the Front Range.  Above treeline it was howling strongly enough that we were nearly knocked over a couple times.  It was a weird hybrid of running mode in mountaineering gear.

Kristen scrambles the rock/ice slabs on the final approach to the lake. It turns out that Kahtoola microspikes work remarkably well on this kind of stuff.

From Chasm Meadow, the trail runs up a couple hundred feet of modest rocky slab and ledges to the lake itself.  In the summer it’s an easy scramble up some rocks, in the winter it’s usually a snow-packed ramp.  Today it was mostly rock with a good sheet of ice down the middle.  Microspikes aren’t really meant for this kind of work, but they performed very nicely on both rock and verglass and we reached the lake without much trouble.

Snow or not, the Chasm cirque is just awesome.

Chasm Lake is truly an amazing place.  There’s nothing better than hanging out there taking in the awesome expanse of the Diamond, the looming Ship’s Prow, and all the rest of the cirque.  But today… oy it was windy and cold!  We snapped a few photos, then retreated back down the slabs.  Fortunately, the sun was now out and a bit of spirited running with the wind at my back warmed my fingers up again.  The rest of the descent was uneventful and fun.

At the lake. Boy it’s cold!

It would have been great to be skiing, but a “heavy” trail run in such a beautiful place is hard to fault.  Hopefully, whatever bad karma we Coloradans have incurred to bring us the Curse of 2012 will soon be repaid and we can get on with a regular, wetter season in January.

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