I spent today high up in the alpine of Rocky Mountain National Park. My friend Tim and I set out at 3am to summit Spearhead via the North Ridge (~5.6 seven pitch trad climb at 12,000 feet). The approach is about 6 miles through the gorgeous Glacier Gorge and starts about a mile past Black Lake. It was a heavy snow year for the alpine this year (~300% above average), crampons and a mountaineering ax where required for safe passage after Mills Lake.
The quality of the granite on Spearhead is amazing and the several hours of climbing spent on the rock was epic. It was my first day at altitude in over a year and I definitely felt the effects. I had forgotten how harsh the elements can be above 12,000 feet. The decent off the summit was a little rough to do in climbing shoes but doable. After getting back to the packs we slammed some much needed cold water that had been chilling in the snow all day and started the 6 mile trek back across the snow field to the trail head. After 14 hours up in the alpine we heading back to Boulder where we had some great bbq, cold beers, and watched the Folsom Field firework show. Happy Independence Day!