As usual, Brent showed up at 6:10 and we were on the road by 6:15. We rolled into the parking lot at about 7:10 and boy was it frosty! The sun was supposed to be up at 7:18 but with all the clouds out east, it didn't matter. We donned the packs and headed out into the frosty dawn. Soon we encountered the most scary aspect of the whole day: icy trails. I spent quite a bit of time regretting not bringing my shoe chains. Unfortunately, I left the camera on the kitchen table so all I have to show for the day is these crappy cell phone pics. It looks like I need to clean my lens! Here is Brent on the icy approach. It looks mellow but the trail part was pure ice and falling in those boulders would probably leave a mark.
Brent takes the rack for the next pitch. After a bit he find the bolt marking the next belay. Since he still had about half a rope left he also decides to try to wrap two pitches into one. Unfortunately, the second half did not go quite as smooth. Since there is no distinct path, it is hard to find the bolts marking the belays and he kind of got a little lost looking for the next bolt. And then he ran out of rope. But after a bit of simulclimbing and traversing around he finally landed on the bolt and brought me up. By this time the sun had burned through the clouds and we stopped shivering.
The rest of the route was pretty much more of the same. I managed to wrap the next two pitches into one. Then it was a short wandering pitch for Brent and finally my last pitch to the summit. The last 30 feet to the summit did grab my attention. It turned into a fairly smooth slab with no options for gear. This bit of the route does get an R rating but it went fine. Here is a shot of Brent pulling up to the summit.
We got back to the car with that proud summit feeling and met Molly at Mountain Sun for some burgers and brews to celebrate. Being an relatively new Colorado resident I am still enthralled that we can get on an 8 pitch route in January. In Iowa, the cold made it hard to climb 50 feet!