This August, my partner and I decided to climb a mountain we had passed many times on the highway. Located in Colorado, in the Ten Mile Range, Mt. Flecher is a 13er. Due to some possible thunderstorms in the morning we did not start our journey until around noon that day.
With minimal information online, we were going in a little blind. We followed a trail for about a half a mile and then just headed up towards the ridge. When it started to turn from class 2 to class 3, we discovered there was a sort of trail that went through the scree field. We followed this up the mountain. As it started to get dark, we decided to stay true to the ridge and followed it all the way up. When it started to turn into class 4, we decided to put in protection since it was dark by that point.
We finally got to the saddle of the mountain and started to head up the last push. We were tired, hungry, and ready for a long nap. When we finally made it up to the top, we made a rock bed and set up the bivy sack and sleeping bag. It was already 11 at night but we had to make some food before we went to sleep. Unfortunately, as we started to pump the fuel for the stove, the pump broke. All we had to eat was dehydrated food so we had to find a way to boil the water.
We were at over 13,000 feet so boiling water was already going to take forever. We managed to make a stove out of a metal water bottle we had with us. It seemed to take forever to get the water to boil, but finally we had some dinner. By then it was 3 in the morning and we wanted to get an early start the next day. We both squeezed into the bivy sack and did our best to get some sleep.
We woke up at 6 to watch the sunrise, which was a pretty shade of pink, then we went back to sleep for a few more hours. In the morning we looked around, really seeing what it was we had climbed up. Ultimately, we decided that the route we had taken up might not be the best way down. We decided to follow the neighboring ridge for a little bit and then take a gully down.
We set off on a class 4/class 5 ridge, setting pro when needed. Things were going well, and we were almost to our gully when a storm rolled in. Once the snow started to fall, we knew it was about to get real. We still had to make our way down a steep scree field in a snow storm. The rock was slick and it was hard to move fast. We finally made it off the rock, with plenty of slips and bruises to prove it, and we thought we were home free.
But we discovered the “grass” we were standing on was not only too steep and wet to walk down but also cliffed out. With little to no visibility and dark falling, we had little to no options. We walked along the mountain towards a trail until we finally made it to flat land. We had to bushwhack through bushes and willows until we finally made it to the trees. Low on food, water, and energy it was the hardest walk out of the woods I have ever done. We finally made it back to the car at 2 in the morning; we were practically soaked to the bone but too tired to care.