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I flew out to Colorado several days before Thanksgiving to meet my climbing partner Rebecca. Rebecca was visiting her mom in Greeley and invited me out to climb some Colorado peaks. How could I refuse?
I arrived on Tuesday and we headed out to hike to the top on Horsetooth Peak outside of Fort Collins. Horsetooth is a steep hike to 7260′ with great views of the front range including Longs Peak, one of Colorado’s 14ers.
Snow was forecast for Wednesday evening and Thanksgiving day so we headed west of Denver on Wednesday to the Guanella Pass with access to several of Colorado’s high mountains.
We decided to climb Square Top Mountain at 13,794′. Instead of the regular approach and climb, we decided to approach the summit straight on from one of the headwalls. After several hours of steep climbing with snowshoes we reached the summit at noon. Coming from sea level the day before I had little time to acclimate and felt the affects of the altitude. We slowed the pace a bit and I was able to reach the summit with little trouble. We removed the snowshoes for the descent and found ourselves in waist deep drifts that hid among the low brush willows at the base of Square Top. The round trip was nine and a half hours. Awesome day!!
On Friday we headed to Boulder to follow the Mesa Trail to Bear Peak at 8459′ with 3000′ of elevation gain in three miles. With six inches of fresh snow, flurries, 15 degrees, and no wind we had a perfect magical day climbing through the snow covered pines to the summit.