Tuesday, August 18, 2009

How to get a car stuck on a mountain

So I figured I should explain the last post a bit. Our plan for last weekend was to hike Gray's & Torrey's Peak on Saturday and camp that night and then drive back to Denver on Saturday. We actually woke up at freaking 5 am on Saturday to get there and when we got there at 7:30 it was like Disneyland. Seriously, cars, people, dogs, kids, everywhere. The road up to the trailhead is about 2.5 miles and is a disaster. It's dirt, steep, and filled with huge ditches and bumps. It takes a 4wd vehicle and some serious menuvering to make it up there. On Saturday the road was so crowded that we ditched the car and hiked up the road. However, the weather was so bad that we had to turn back after about 5 miles.

The road to Gray's.
Hiking up the road to the trailhead. That's Gray's Peak between the trees.

We decided not to camp that night since we were already soaking wet and instead to drive back up really early Sunday morning to do the hike. I realize that sounds crazy, but I really wanted to hike a 14er this year and August is pretty much the last good month to do that before the weather makes it nearly impossible.

So Sunday we woke up at 4 am. Yes, 4 am. When we got to the nasty road there weren't a lot of people there. Charlie has a manual Jeep Patriot. It's not trail rated but it does have 4wd. As we started up the road there were some pretty tricky spots, we were going so slow that even in 1st gear he had to use the clutch. Basically, we got to the top (barely) & Charlie's clutch smelled awful.

Gray's and Torrey's
Gray's on the left and Torrey's on the right.

Then came the good part. We had great weather on Sunday. We hiked up to the summit of Gray's in about 3 hours. I will say that after about 12,500 feet I definitely noticed the lack of oxygen. Once we got to the summit, I ate a granola bar and about 5 minutes later lost all feeling in my hands. My fingers were completely white and I couldn't feel anything. A friend mentioned the fact that it was probably just that I ate something. Basically, my body took the blood from my hands and sent it to my stomach. Stupid granola bar. Anyway, that scared the crap out of me and we decided to hike back down instead of doing Torrey's. I got feeling back in my hands at about 12,000 feet.

Dunkin waiting.
Switchbacks on the way up. They went on FOREVER. Dunkin was waiting for me. :)

Henry on Gray's.
Henry at the summit. He's standing on the tallest mountain on the Western Continental Divide, 14,270 ft.

Us. I love how Henry's ears are blowing in the wind.

View from the other side.

Henry & his dinner.Henry loves anything he can chase. These squirrel/chipmunk dudes were taunting him. Really, they would sit at a safe distance and scream at him. It drove him nuts.

You can see our car in this picture. Only at this point we had no idea it wasn't planning on starting.

We got back to the car and ..... it wouldn't start in gear. Basically we burnt out the clutch. We were 2.5 miles from anywhere with a cell signal, and had our car stuck on a road that I couldn't imagine a tow truck making it up. We hitched rides down to the bottom & started calling tow truck companies. Basically, we have Geico & we have roadside towing with our plan. However, they refused to pay for the tow down the mountain. We'll see about that. I was not happy with them & I'm definitely going to fight that. I was also annoyed because I was trying to have them get us a rental car and they told me they couldn't help me since it was Sunday. I hung up on them.

6.5 hours and no car.
Waiting for a tow for 6.5 hours. We all got a little bored.

We finally found a towing company that said the could get the car off the mountain. They showed up 6.5 hours after we had finished hiking with a tow truck and an off-road Trailblazer that they said somehow they were going to push/pull our car down the road. Something I didn't want to watch. One of our friends came and picked us all up and drove us home. I think Charlie's planning on repaying him with a few rounds of golf.


J said...

Wowza!! What an adventurous weekend! I am glad that you guys are alright...I hope you can figure out the jeep situation soon!

New England Girl said...

Those photos are gorgeous, but I'm not sure I'd want the hike if it meant I had to deal with all of the trouble afterwards! I hope the jeep isn't too expensive to repair. At least you'll be able to laugh about all of this a few months from now! :)

Kat said...

But yay you climbed a 14er!! So awesome! Congrats, girl! :) You make me want to play in the mountains. I'm inviting myself to come visit you before you leave CO because everything I hear about it sounds so awesome.

Taryn said...

Ouch. I am sorry to hear about that- but you got some awesome pictures, no?

Hope the insurance thing works out. Good luck!

Emily said...

oooh, that sounds awful. Glad you guys are okay, and hope the car gets better!