Cupid Peak from Loveland Pass. Grizzly Peak from Cupid Peak.
Class 1 & 2 primarily. Grizzly has some class 3.
5.9 miles round trip
3,050ft of elevation gain
Hike time: 3hrs 30min
Jon and I rolled out of bed at 3:30am, ate a sandwich and hit the road. By sunrise we were pulling into the parking lot for our hike. Cupid Peak to Grizzly Peak. We wanted to start introducing some harder terrain, which we read Grizzly Peak would have. This hike we introduced something new to our gear list. Trekking poles! And my, what a difference they made when the slopes got steep. Which they did...immediately :) The hike up to Cupid started with a very long and very angled up hill march. It made time go fast being able to keep checking behind us- views of alpine peaks and vast mountains as far as the eye could see. All covered in that wonderful sunrise pink.
Summiting Cupid was super straight forward. Just a simple hike up a few rollers and there ya go :) We were delighted by the many marmots and chipmunks who greeted us along the way.
From all angles we had really beautiful views. And once again, we had the trails to ourselves. The joy of starting early. As we descended Cupid, we saw Grizzly. And we both were a little speechless- this was a large mountain. And the terrain looked rather challenging. There is this thing that happens, at least to me, frequently. I'll look at some photos online, read some trip reports and info and then I feel like I know what I'll be dealing with. But then when I am face to face with the mountain I've sought out, I get anxious and a little antsy. They're always overwhelming. They're always large. They're always strikingly gorgeous and wild. And sometimes it is so hard to believe that in a matter of hours, if all goes well, I will be standing on top of it.
Once we came off of Cupid, we had to go over one large hill and then we'd be at the base of Grizzly Peak. Everything was a little steeper and longer than we'd imagined, which is basically par for the course. There were marmots everywhere. A marmot wonderland. Literally, my favorite kind of wonderland.
As we approached the base of Grizzly, the terrain changed. To directly up. A little hiking, a little scrambling and a few sections of simple, yet exposed, class 3. I put my camera away when we arrived at a saddle of sorts. Something I don't ever like to do, but safety comes first. And boy, was I starting to get a little nervous. The first class 3 of the season was complete with brutal winds and plenty of slick-rock.
Within two minutes of putting my camera into Jon's backpack, we came across a group of five mountains goats, chillin' so hard on the slopes of talus. So we paused, I grabbed my camera and took a few photos. I honestly had never been this close to a mountain goat and I was terrified. We were precariously perched on a weirdly angled rock and the goats had babies. I wasn't so sure they would continue to ignore us. But they did, and the experience was glorious. They are hands down the most majestic animal I've ever had the pleasure to share space with.
The last stretch of Grizzly Peak was a sharp scramble of about 60 feet. It was a difficult scramble for me, mentally. There was a lot going on in my brain. A mix of excitement, euphoria, rattled nerves and a fear of heights that was screaming at me. When we arrived at the summit, everything was right. We ate a sandwich and took in the views that surrounded us. A summit to ourselves. A romantic moment of feeling tiny, joyful and whole.
The downclimb was a lot for me to wrap my head around. And isn't that always how it goes? Anyone can go up, but going down; having to see everything below you- this is the worst fear for those of us who hate heights. The wind picked up considerably and I booty scooted a great portion. No shame. For the first class 3 of the season, I am just happy to have gained the experience.
I loved this day. It was exhilarating and a spectacular taste of what's to come. Seeing those mountain goats has stuck with me. What magic.