Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Last Peak Of 2014! Cervidae Peak 12-30-14.

Partners: N/A.

Stats: Distance 4.58 Miles.  Total Time 4:00.  Summit 4,987.  Elevation Gain 1,900 Feet.

Gear Notes: Cold weather layering and pacing for Mount Rainier with a 25 pound pack.

The Idaho Summits gang is preparing for the annual Moonlight To Cervidae Hike.  We would have been on board but a sweet Christmas gift left us with tickets for Reckless Kelly on New Years Eve.
Not to mention that The Bronco's are playing in the Fiesta Bowl, which would likely mean that I wouldn't be able to walk very straight, let alone up a 1,900ft hike in the dark and cold.

Cervidae Peak is a great training hike.  It's like an outdoor stair master.  For some comparison, it's way better than an indoor stair master.  I've been wanting to try out my possible cold weather layering options that I plan on using for a Mount Rainier attempt in 2015.  I also wanted to get one last peak in for 2014.  Cervidae Peak seemed like the logical choice.  Plus factors:  1. It was really cold and kind of windy.  2.  I would likely need snow shoes and get to break trail.  Temp 19F.  Winds south approx 10mph.  Mostly cloudy. 

Upon seeing the peak, I almost left my snow shoes in the car, but I figured that I would haul them for the added weight and I was also hoping I would need them.

Low on the route the snow was fairly thin.  Just before the route bends to the north, the snow was deep, dry and loose.  There were also plenty of deep drifts to post-hole though.  As I gained elevation, the wind also picked up.  I tend to run way hot when hiking, so cold weather is a bit of a challenge. You want to move, but not too fast because you don't want to sweat.  My lower body layers are dialed in, right down to my boots, I think.  Upper body, there are three temps.  Hot, cold and colder.

Adjust that, hood on, hood off, hat on hat off, gloves on, hands too cold, gloves back on, remove mid weight base layer, keep light soft shell on, add shell jacket...

This was the toughest hike I've ever had of Cervidae.  Deep loose snow , heavy drifts and no one to share the work with.  I've been up here about 20+ times now and in dry conditions, usually hit it in about two hours car-to-car.  Not this time.  With snow shoes on, I kept at it.  After an 8.5 mile run the previous day, my legs were a bit sluggish and my right knee was very sore.  I almost turned back.

The clouds descended on the summit and I had a near white out on top.  It was cold.  Like hands numb after 2 minutes out of my gloves cold.

View off the top.
This summit was well worth the effort!

Looking south from the top.

Charging back down the hill helped warm me up and I gave special attention to pack down the trail for the Idaho Summits gang planning to head up on the following night.

What a great last peak of 2014!

I left a message for ya'll!

Looking up form low on the route. 

Overall, I think my layering system should work for Rainier.  I think the biggest issue might be my right knee.  I should probably have someone take a look at that.  My routes tend to meander a bit, but it should save you some effort in getting up this hill.

It's been a fun year.  Cheers!

Have a great Moonlight to Cervidae friends!  

Happy Trails!

-Granola,  Out

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