OK - our second gnarly Youth Group ascent of Eagle Pk (9,368'), the peak looming behind us with the rocky east face.
L-R: Braden, Brian and his old man Steve, Rick (Ben and Johanna's old man) and Debbie.
Checking out the trailhead warning sign.
OK, we read it and then surged upward - after offering a prayer of thx for all of God's awesome creation and that our friends who could not join us would be safe.
Ten-year-old Brian, who had climbed the peak before, and HS sophomore Braden set a killer pace.
Steve and Debbie skillfully managed the sweep.
The route ascends Goat Camp Creek Gully, here crossing the creek.
Note the tee-shirt weather at this time.
Lots of aspen leaves on the ground, especially higher up.
That red hiking pole right of center is actually being held up by Brian in camo. :)
This would be Steve's second ascent in two days, and Debbie's first. Rick was part of the Youth Group's first climb on 8/21/05.
I think the route goes this way?
OK - the aspen meadow at the top of the gully, and just before the final steep ascent to the summit. Time to put on a little more clothing, as a modest drizzle has developed.
Although it's only about 2 miles one-way, the climb has a very sustained gain of 2,000 feet.
OK - on top and looking north. Our climb had been right to left up the gully out of sight below, then making the final climb up the west side of the peak.
Looking east down at the Academy.
Can you spot our car in the Visitors Center parking lot?
Using my special "clear day" filter. :)
Victory to the victors - colorful and gnarly.
We only took an hour-and-a-half to top out: 10:00 to 11:30.
Jello with fruit - the perfect summit reward.
. . . as is fresh tuna in the bag!
Life is good on top.
A group of cadets somewhat off-route.
At least one of them is in shorts.
Here, they finally made it - and not a group of AF cadets but rather Naval Academy midshipmen. They were part of the drum and bugle corps that performed at the prior day's football game. We ended up seeing about 25 of them, here and on our descent.
Yes, we're getting light snowfall. Perfect!
The summit is just slightly above treeline. Here we begin our descent as more midshipmen scramble to the top.
We needed to be a little extra cautious on the now-damp rocks.
Re-crossing the creek. We had consistent moderate drizzle on the way down, but not actually rain (as we had last summer).
Final split break. Rick is checking the view back at the summit.
. . . as seen here.
Here a group of AF cadets are planning to camp out overnight on the peak.
[The next day being the Columbus Day holiday.]
Hey look, everyone made it back - and we're still friends!
Special thx to Debbie, Steve and Rick for their splendid response to my call for assistant leaders, and to Braden and Brian for their quite gnarly lead.
See, it could have been even gnarlier weather!
Summit of Eagle on a winter's day - and life is good.
Thx for coming along on our climb.