Spread Eagle Peak - 13423' - East Ridge class 2
This was one interesting climb that taught everyone some lessons about group dynamics and herd mentality. Jed posted a thread on the 14ers site about a big group climb of Spread Eagle Peak with the potential for other peaks as well. This was back in the beginning of March which means it was going to be a winter climb. So many people were interested and by the time the time rolled around, we got to the trailhead to find like 15 people getting ready to climb before dawn. Some had camped out at the trailhead. There were in fact so many people here that a local called the police to see why so many people were here. He was shocked to see all of us crazies getting ready to climb a peak this time of year. So we all started up the trail about 15 in all and is was quickly clear there were going to be many different speeds of people. One girl in the group had never hiked in the winter before and didn't have correct hand and foot wear (which we never realized until after the climb). She ended up with minor frostbite from the climb. It was Abe, Jed, Sarah, Doominic and I in the front group while a few couples lagged behind. To make the climb even busier, another group of eight or so was coming up a little later. It took for ever to get to treeline as Abe and I did most of the trail-breaking in waist deep snow. This was very tiring but after about 4 hours of thrashing we made treeline and we were able to put the snowshoes away since the bare ground was exposed due to lots of wind. After another couple hours battling the single digit temperatures and gale force winds Abe and I made the summit first with Jed and Sarah shortly behind. Abe decided to continue to Cloud Peak while the rest of us turned around after a short break at the summit. I ended up descending myself and passed by Brian who stayed back with a couple of the slower ones. They still had a long way to go. To make my day that much more exciting I missed the snowshoe path on the way down and had to thrash my way down making another trail. Luckily it's much easier going down! I caught up with our path in the valley floor and met back up with the rest of our front group and waited for the rest of the group to come out. Lots of stuff went on after the fact and I have left out much of the gory details of what happened during the climb. This climb also made lots of people (who weren't there) angry but lesson learned, big group climbs like this won't be planned anymore.