Sunday, January 20, 2013

Mt. Lady Washington in the winter.

Well, I have finally found my own transportation besides a motorcycle, which means I should be able to get out alot more in the next year.  This week I did something on my list as a bit of a winter warm up.  It seemed appropriate since we are in a winter warm up of our own here, with temperatures predicted to top out at 65 degrees this week.
Mt. Lady Washington is in the Longs Peak group, and was on my radar for something to do in the winter since I knew it would not be technical and there is little to no risk of avalanche.
I arrived at the Longs Peak TH shortly after seven am, the only vehicle in the parking lot.  It was warmer than I expected, and it took me a little bit of time to get situated as far as clothing and traction devices in the first mile or so. 
Twin Sisters as seen from the trail.
The trail is in great shape, completely packed at this point and well delineated.
Reaching tree line, and a sign that I have never seen before.
Twin Sisters proved to be easy to see and very photogenic throughout the day. 
Tree line being passed, and my goal seen along with Mt. Meeker and Longs Peak.
I was able to follow the trail for the most part, though things got a bit difficult to see here and there with the blown snow.  But since I was able to see where I was going quite well, there were no troubles. 
I eventually broke from the trail and started up the east ridge of the mountain.
Increasingly good views of Longs.
Points north east.
It took me quite a while to scramble up the ridge.  Of course with snow and ice, it is important to take your time!
Ships Prow looming!  A pretty cool view!
Finally arriving at the summit.  The view of Longs as you crest the peak is simply amazing!  The Diamond is one of Colorados most iconic images, and you get an up close view.
Mount Meeker.
Second highest and highest peaks in the park!

Very back lit, but on the top and loving it!

Storm Peak and some others for the future.
Mummy Range.
At this point, I was thinking about adding on Storm Peak.  It didn't look too far away.  But when I took a look at the clock, I knew it would have to wait for another day. 
Back east with Twin Sisters now looking tiny.
The Diamond.
A panorama which does not do the view justice.
Chasm Lake frozen well below.
I decided to descend the western slope, just for comparisons sake.  I found it to be a bit snowier and therefore slipperier.  I noticed the keyhole, part of the most popular route to climb Longs.  Note the Agnes Vaille hut just to the left of the keyhole.
Not zoomed in.  The boulderfield was a little deceptively named.  More like small pieces of talus field.  That has a certain ring to it!
Storm Peak from the boulderfield.
Looking up the west slope of Mt. Lady Washington.
The low clouds...
...played with these peaks all day.

Sunshine highlights the ridge I had hiked up just hours before.
Twin Sisters.
A neat windblown snow sculpture.  The compressed snow under someones feet has stayed in place, with the loose snow blowing away.
About this time I was cursing my decision to bring snow shoes.  I had not used them at all, and had drug the extra weight all the way up there with me.  My opportunity was soon to come as I lost the trail going back below tree line, and followed someone elses footprints for a bit before becoming immersed in deep powder.  I strapped them on and wandered for a bit, eventually stopping to look closely at a map.
I decided where I most likely was, where the trail should be, and made my way.  It was about 200 feet away from me.
From here it was just a motor back down to the trail head.  I did see one other person on their way down as well, but that was it for the day.
All in all, this is an awesome hike to do any time of the year.  Traffic will probably keep the snow fairly well compacted, so I doubt you'd need snow shoes unless it just snowed the night before.  The view when you arrive at the top is awesome- Longs looms huge and you can get a very good idea of just exactly how big it is.
Mt. Lady Washington in the Winter:
4.2 miles via east ridge, 6.3 via west ridge, 3881 foot gain.  Second class.  Strenuous-.


  1. Hey thanks for posting this trip report and all those great pics! I went up MLW this Saturday and I definitely appreciated the beta! It was socked in when I got to the summit though, so will have to do-over on a clear day.

    1. Thanks Jen! Sorry you didn't get the summit, but it'll be there the next time. See you out there!