My brother and i went to Casa Duarte around 2pm on Saturday to enjoy a late delicious lunch. It was raining in Flag which dampened our spirits, we decided to drive out to Freidlein Prairie road anyway in order to check our planed approach. Amazingly there was packed snow on the road, we loaded up the sled and up we went. After about an hour and a half of climbing we pitched camp at the northern edge of one of the large burn zones (about 1/2 mile from Kachina trail). We started a fire that lasted for about an hour before heavy wet snow drench it dead out. Lucky for me my brother brought two brand new zero degree bags for us! After 6hrs of sleep we awoke to 6" of fresh at camp.
After breakfast at 5am we began our ascent. We Zig-Zagged our way up through the dawn looking down on the clouds shrouding our view of the valley below. We made it to the foot of what we named the "Old Bones Ridge Run" on the southern flank of Fremont. After a pit at around 10,000ft that revealed 10" of fresh pow on top of a well consolidated mix of rain crusts, heavy snow and dense "pencil" ice crystals on grass. The ECT Revealed a weakness around 60 cm down (below two bridging ice layers) that did not propagate across the column.
We hiked upward and found a set of tracks that first appeared to be bobcat tracks. As Ramiro and i hiked further (around 8 am) we picked up on tracks again that we followed (up the ridge we were going anyway). After ten minutes more of hiking i noticed something under a tree with large cat tracks leading to it, upon closer examination we discover a partially frozen elk carcass that had be carefully excavated. My dog Biscuit tentatively sniffed the carcass, then backed away. I notice a set of fresh tracks that appeared to be bounding downhill toward a copse of trees. At this point we made a hasty retreat uphill and away from what we assumed were lion tracks. Both of us were reenergized with fear!
The clouds rose with us as we climbed and protected the the lushes pow up through the meadows. Before reaching the ridge and topping out at 11,500 ft we were treated to magnificent Bristle Cone forests covered in rime and powder. Just as we sat down for lunch around 12ish the clouds rose further to reveal the IB in all its glory. Icy clouds drifted by dancing and spinning in the sun. The climb took over five hours (3,000 ft) the decent was twenty minutes and change along one of the the most beautiful ridge lines on the Mtn.
Routes, debrief, pictures.
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