Ascent of Charleston Peak on 2014-05-03

Climber: Tom Gathright

Other People:Solo Ascent
Date:Saturday, May 3, 2014
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Charleston Peak
    Elevation:11916 ft / 3631 m

Ascent Trip Report

Lola, my dog, and I left the Trail Canyon Trail TH at 8:30, I didn’t see anyone on the trail until Cave Spring, where I met a guy who had camped overnight. He said he did not make it to the summit, but there were a lot of people ahead of me. Eventually I met seven or eight people going down. Once on the ridge near Lee Peak I met the first person who said they made it to the summit, he said once I get past the edge of Devil’s Thumb it got dryer, that was encouraging.

The wind was picking up and gusting pretty hard at times just like the forecast stated. When Lola and I got to the north side of Devil’s Thumb, I unloaded most of the remaining water from our back packs to lighten the load and stashed them. I also used a twenty foot leash to tie her to me, just in case she slipped and slid. The areas where we had tried before were still snow covered, but it was wet and slushy. About two thirds through I met a guy coming down with a bloody leg. He said he stepped into snow that collapsed and he scraped his leg on a sharp rock; that encouraged me to put on my Gators. A little later I met another guy who said he slipped and decided not to go further. Lola and I kept going, using holes where others had stepped and made it past the bad areas. Snow was melting from above and streams of water were flowing under the snow causing it to be wet and slushy, we made it past the avalanche chute near Devil's Thumb and from there it was much dryer.

It then took me a long time to make it up the switch backs to the summit. The wind was blowing, I was worn out and I had to rest often. Once at the top I looked around a bit, took a couple pictures and thought how anti climatic the summit is. It is not a pretty summit at all, but we made it.

There was enough snow that on the descent I went straight down to save time and probably lost 1,000 feet in ten minutes; the snow was good enough to glissade. I made it back to the car at 6:30 PM. The trip took a full ten hours and was one that wore me out.
Summary Total Data
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Snow on Ground

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