High Camp

These next several shots are the view from high camp.  This to the left was our most prominent view, across the stream.  Just more sheer granite. 

It was about 50 yards off of the main trail, but we still could see travelers on it-- though they were few and far between.  It was a good half mile above Como Lake, which was lovely but over-populated with 4WDs and family reunions. 

From the stream by high camp, looking north towards Blanca, which is the last nodule going right to left (south to north) on the ridge line you see above.

Ned, Rich, and Marc in the foreground preparing the fire ring.  The peak in the background between the trees is Ellingwood Point, which we wanted to double-bag, but did not.

The stream next to high camp.

Adam, Marc, and Ned setting up shop.

(Yes, Mom and Dad, that's the same tent you bought me all those years ago.)

We thought it was going to storm pretty hard the first night.  We specifically set up the tent so early because the winds and clouds were behaving dramatically.  As soon as the tent was up, a grand wind defiantly flattened it to about half its normal height.  Thankfully, that was the last of it.

Dinner camp fire, first night.  When you're not doing something useful like packing or setting up camp, just about the only thing to do is huddle for warmth and talk.  But talking is good, considering we always have quality company along.

This camp site was pretty well established as well, and, being well above tree line, there was very little wood to be had.  We huddled pretty hard both nights.  This photo is utterly emblematic of the mountains: See how the sun is shining so brightly on the other side of the stream?  And yet see how Ned and Marc both have their arms crossed for warmth?  Doesn't make any sense, does it?  But that's how it is.

Rich and I are leafing through a copy of National Geographic he brought devoted to Everest, which of course makes our expedition look like Sunday school.  At 29,000, you're only breathing 30% of the oxygen you are at sea level, and you're actively in the process of dying above 26,000 feet.  I've yet to meet anyone (myself included) who has any climbing ambitions that lofty.

In addition to all of their Austin College lore, Ned is on the staff of a particularly colorful Texas state senator, whom he imitates painfully well.  I'm pretty sure I laughed more on this trip than I had in a long time.

Next: The Peak