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  • Mt. Bierstadt Group Summit - Front Range, Colorado
  • A rest before the summit push on Dallas Peak - San Juan Range, Colorado
  • Broken Ankle + 6 Miles = Tired
  • The classic San Juan approach - San Juan Range, Colorado
  • Overlooking Noname Basin from Twin Thumbs Pass - San Juan Range, Colorado
  • Upper Noname Basin - San Juan Range, Colorado
  • Nearing Noname Cabin - San Juan Range, Colorado
  • Twin Thumbs Twins - San Juan Range, Colorado
  • Nearing the summit of Pt. 13,736 - Sawatch Range, Colorado
  • Blustery day on Iowa Peak - Sawatch Range, Colorado
  • Morning snow at 15k, Cerro Ramada - Cordillera Ramada
  • Artesonraju from the summit of Nevado Pisco - Cordillera Blanca, Peru
  • February crowds on Gray's Peak - Front Range, Colorado
  • Kicking steps on Cerro Lliani - Cordillera Vilcanota, Peru
  • Final traverse to the summit of Wheeler Mountain - Ten Mile Range, Colorado
  • The long walk to Pachanta - Cordillera Vilcanota, Peru
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    Afternoon at 17k on Cerro Ramada - Cordillera Ramada, Argentina
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    The final ridge on Iowa Peak - Sawatch Range, Colorado
  • Summer summit on Longs Peak - Front Range, Colorado
  • A rest day at the Pachanta Hot Springs - Cordillera Vilcanota, Peru
  • Mind over matter on Mt. Parnassas - Front Range, Colorado
  • Rest stop on Cerro Lliani - Cordillera Vilcanota, Peru
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    Post nap surprise on Cerro Ramada - Cordiller Ramada, Argentina
  • Summit on Cerro Lliani - Cordillera Vilcanota, Peru
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    Ridge walking on Grizzly Peak - Sawatch Range, Colorado
  • Enroute the summit via the West Ridge on Pacific Peak - Ten Mile Range, Colorado
  • Mule train bound for Chilca - Cordillera Vilcanota, Peru
  • Taking in the view from Fletcher Peak - Ten Mile Range, Colorado
  • Hiking on Silverheels - Mosquito Range, Colorado
  • Traversing! Gladstone Peak - San Juan Range, Colorado
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    The best of times at Willow Lake - Sangre de Christo Range, Colorado
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    High Altitude Cerebral Edema? - Cordillera Ramada, Argentina
  • Bound for Chilca - Vilcanota Range, Peru
  • Going alpine light, Holy Cross Ridge - Sawatch Range, Colorado
  • Cumbre! Campa I - Cordillera Vilcanota, Peru
  • Roadside lunch with the best of company - Cordillera Vilcanota, Peru
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    Long ridge walk to the summit of California Peak - Sangre de Christo Range, Colorado
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    Crossing el Rio Colorado . . . in the afternoon - Cordillera Ramada, Argentina
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    Dealing with Fall snows high on Casco Peak - Sawatch Range, Colorado
  • Moonrise over Mercedario - Cordillera Ramada, Argentina
  • Still climbing at 20,900 on Cerro Ramada - Cordiller Ramada, Argentina
  • Talus on Halo Ridge, Mt. of the Holy Cross - Sawatch Range, Colorado
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    Deteriorating conditions on Mt. Arkansas - Ten Mile Range, Colorado
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    After the climb - Cordillera Ramada, Argentina
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    Taking in the view from the summit of Crystal Peak - Tenmile Range, Colorado
  • Topping out on Mt. Arkansas' North Couloir - Mosquito Range, Colorado
  • Glissade on Mt. Arkansas - Mosquito Range, Colorado
  • Hard snow morning on Teakettle Mountain - San Juan Range, Colorado
  • Spring snow announces the start of the climb on Dallas Peak - San Juan Range, Colorado
  • Crossing the Eolus Catwalk - San Juan Range, Colorado

Pawnee Peak (attempt)

December 4, 2010 - from Brainard Lake


I had not gotten out in almost a month and Bob had been sidelined for about three months pending the arrival of his daughter from the prenatal aqueous environment . . . we were both ready to get out. I suggested the short drive to the Indian Peaks area, no more than two hours from Cheyenne but with the sizeable downside of the typical Indian peaks approach . . . . long and even longer in the winter. We figured to take a half hearted shot at Pawnee Peak approaching from Brainard Lake.

The road south was fine but snow covered once we got a few miles past the town of Lyons. We parked at the new Brainard Lake winter trailhead and were soon hoofing our way down the two mile course to Brainard Lake proper and the summer trailheads. I initially stowed the snowshoes on the pack but soon enough put them on as the snow was not so much deep but well tracked by skiers, making it easier to snowshoe than slip left and right for two miles. We made good time on the road, never having to break trail though relatively few appeared to stick to the road proper but instead choosing well signed snowshoe tracks that branched left and right.

We skirted Brainard Lake to the right and after another half mile of road, we arrived at the trail to Long Lake and Pawnee Pass. We still had a solid track but it now looked to be the work of a couple of skiers rather than more continuous traffic. The snow was only 6 inches deep at the parking area but now had increased to every bit of 24 to 30 inches. We stuck with the trail, skirting the right side of Long Lake, taking full advantage of the well broken and very well spotted track. We passed the end of the lake and after about two miles came upon the two skiers who so graciously set the course. We exchanged hellos and continued on, now it was our turn to work for progress.

We left the trailhead at the late hour of 10 a.m. and now paid the price, We progressed about another quarter mile beyond the skiers before stopping to assess the climb. Increasing snow . . . lowering cloud . . . and the promise of a return in the dark if we elected to go further. We made the call and turned for the car, now about five miles distant. We were still two miles from the summit of Pawnee Peak when we turned but the effort did yield a ten mile physical conditioning hike and get us both outside after too long of a break. The late start was a predictable summit killer but we pretty much knew that before we began. We long ago learned that winter is often more about getting out than getting a summit.