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With the perfect Rocky Mountain weather we have been having as of late, Andy got the idea for another Summit Post gathering. This one would be in my backyard so I was more than excited about getting to meet so many people I had been learning from. SummitPost.org is the premiere website for mountaineering and climbing. There are many world class climbers that are active and contirbuting members. Members are responsible for creating and maintaining mountain pages...providing all of the necessary beta for said mountain, as well as pictures, route information, etc... There are a few of us that are very active in the Colorado section of this invaluble website, and every so often we plan a little adventure in different parts of the state. This time it happened to be a climb of the Little Matterhorn. A great mountain on the flanks of the Odessa Gorge with a great exposed 4th class scramble to it's tiny summit.
We all planned on meeting at the Bear Lake trailhead at 6:00 AM. We were hiking by 6:30 excited about the days climb! We made our way up into Odessa Gorge before turning North and getting our first glimps of our destination.
We had to drop down into the gorge and climb back up the west side in order to gain the wide gully that leads to this mountains infamous summit ridge. It was slow going as the gully was rather loose and had to be negociated carefully. We wound up the gully, working our way over some challenging terrain as we neared the top of the ridge.
We came to a 3rd+ class rock step that had to be climbed. This took a little thought, and after a melon-sized rock nearly took Jenna out, we were nearing the climber eating lizard, a cool rock formation on the crest of the ridge.
We stopped just under the lizard and had a little lunch before starting the ridge traverse. Leaving our hiking poles and a final gearing up, we began the great traverse along this fun and exposed ridge. It is all on solid rock, so it never felt dangerous, but there was some good exposure and some nice 4th class moves that made the scrambling a lot of fun! It went by pretty quick and before we knew it we were all crowded on the Littel Matterhorn's tiny and exposed summit block! At 11,586 feet, it isn't a high mountain by Rocky standards, but don't let that turn you away from this great climb!
With some questionable clouds moving in, we hastily made our retreat. The hike back down the loose gully was no fun at all. It was the most dangerous part of the day as it was pretty easy to send a rock hurling down the slope. With a little caution, a and a little patience, we we back near the bottom of the gorge ready for the hike out.
Before too long we were all enjoying some great microbrews at the Estes Park Brewfest! We hung out there, talked about climbing, listened to "tits and ass girl" tell us about her new movie, and enjoyed each others company. It was a great day and I was greatful to meet so many coll people that love the mountains! This may have to be an annual event!
|until next time...|
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