Thursday, July 9, 2015

Freel Peak from Armstrong Pass

Freel Peak
Desolation Wilderness - Carson Range
Elevation 10,886
Freel Peak is probably one of my very favorite peaks I've ever done. Not only was it an adventure getting to the peak at over 10k feet, but the scenery was beautiful. We had a crazy weather day, lightning, thunder and a race to get to the peak and down before it got to us. There aren't many peaks in the area that are this high and we could definitely feel when we were over the 10k mark. It's a long day, but totally worth the effort. It's about a 10 mile hike that we made 13 with a wrong turn, oops!  About 2,600 ft of vertical gain. 
I'm sure I'll be back to do this one again. 

uh oh. It's already raining and we haven't even started...


We approached this from the Armstrong Pass. It's quite a ways in on a dirt road and a little hard to find, but a Ranger was nice enough to direct us when we were getting close. 


Rain gear? check. I think we may need it. So, we hit the trail. 


The sky was clearing and the scenery was beautiful. 






Views galore


And very cool rock formations


The clouds don't look too happy, but it hasn't come this way.... yet. Still enjoying the views. 


The trail is pretty well defined in most areas and well maintained. We didn't have any trouble following it. 




The trail changes several times from rocks, to sand, to dirt. 


And now the lightning and thunder begins... It was definitely getting closer and we didn't want anything to do with it being on our mountain, especially when we were about to be above the tree line. We definitely were moving much faster now. 


more changes in the trail. 


And the sand begins...


Whew, still on the right trail...


We are headed up there!! And in a hurry before the storm gets to us!


The last part heads up through this last bit of trees before you get to the sand, again. It goes from being a fairly moderate trail to a very steep grade from here to the peak. 


This was very cool. Like a sandy bowl. The peak is getting closer. Thankfully we didn't have to go into this area. The sand is very loose. 


The trail to the peak and wham. The elevation hit me. We are just at about 10k here. All of a sudden my peripheral vision disappeared. Had to take things slower and keep breathing deeper. Felt ok, so we pushed on. 

Amazing how many little flowers are hiding out in the granite. There were very petite, but so pretty. 

The peak is in sight!


We made it!! It was a bit cloudy, so the view was obstructed, but we had moments of clearing and the view is amazing!!


There was a small cairn, we made it BIGGER!!


The wall of clouds moving across the area. 


Peak selfie = Pelfie? Me and my goofy hat...


We added a little bit to the peak. 10,888 now!! :-)
There is a pretty large clearing at the top with a wind break made out of these rocks. 

And of course a peak register box. 

My good friend Kara was in surgery today having a double mastectomy. She's fighting the fight. And what a strong woman she is. I was definitely thinking of her while we were up there. Thought I would offer up a little something at the top to help give her strength. She should be out of surgery by the time we get down the mountain. 


Making our way back down and in a hurry. Looking back at the peak. So cool!!


Cool rock formations. This one looked like a face to me. 


The last picture before the storm really hit. Torrential downpour just as we got into the truck. We JUST made it!!

What an incredible day! Thank you Freel Peak for allowing us to admire your beauty. I'll be back here again in the near future. 

This is the route we took. I marked where we made a wrong turn, but didn't put it on the tracks. We added 3 miles to our day by missing the right turn. 




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