Ashley(new wife FYI) = Working a school program.
14ers = not happening without my 14er partner.
Instead, I decided to knock off a Centennial peak. The Centennials are the highest 100 peaks in Colorado. They consist of the 14er list, and then a number of 13ers.
I debated heading out in the early AM and doing either Mount Edwards or Fletcher Mountain. I'd be going solo, so I wanted to keep it less than class 3, and to an area that I was pretty familiar with. Fletcher was my top choice, but it was all dependent on the weather. When I woke up at 3:30 AM, Fletcher looked great until noon or 1:00 - sounded perfect!
The route up Fletcher starts at the Blue Lake Trailhead - which happens to be the trailhead that Ashley and I did Quandary Peak via the West Ridge in 2012. In fact, the majority of the route is the same with the exception of the direction you go when you actually reach the saddle between Fletcher and Quandary's West Ridge.
I hit the road at 4:25AM, got gas @ 4:30AM, a Starbucks in Idaho Springs at 5:00AM, drove through Breckenridge @ 6:00 AM, made it to the TH @ 6:30AM and was hiking @ 6:45AM.
|Bombing up the Blue Lakes road to the dam.|
|Hitting the trail - it's easy to follow until essentially the "rust" gulley, from there it's straight talus hopping.|
|Reaching the first upper meadow.|
|Looking back to the east from the first upper meadow.|
|The route to the upper ridge in the distance.|
|The meadow has a ton of small pools of water and brooks running through it.|
|Typically you can climb the "rust" gulley up to the next level - however today it was still completely full of hard snow. I checked it out, but without spikes I wouldn't risk it. Instead, scramble up to the left.|
|Looking back east again, from a bit higher.|
|Looking up at 14er Quandary's west ridge area.|
|The summit of Fletcher Mountain finally shows.|
|Quick break before pushing up to the ridge.|