...continued from previous post
After the longish climb there was a bit of a descent and that was pretty fun. The dirt road was not too technical, but I had to avoid and hop over some sand and loose rock. After the decent we could see the route up to the summit. I stopped for a bit, sucked down a Gu packet and took this picture of the remainder of the route. As the pictures illustrates, there was sort of a flat section before a pretty hefty climb up to the summit.
Another picture from a little further towards summit:
We traveled along the flat section and went down a pretty steep decent that was quite difficult for me. There was lots of loose rock and think I bailed at least once trying to get down. We then arrived at the last part of the climb that has a series of very steep switch backs all the way up to the summit. I started the climb and after the second switchback I was struggling big time. I took a couple of breaks and tried to ride some more, but it was no use. I had nothing. Zilch. Destroyed…I just couldn’t get any energy to push the peddles or suck in enough air. I got off the bike and decided to push it the rest of the way up the steep and loose switchbacks. After pushing for some time, I decided it was pointless to bring the bike any further, at this altitude I just was not able to ride anymore. I left my bike leaning up against a rock and would walk the rest of the way, I would guess about half a mile and 500’ from the summit.
I hiked up a few more switchbacks and arrived at a snowfield that was blocking the road. At this point you pretty much had to scramble up a section of loose rock to get back to the path.
I was definitely feeling the high altitude and my steps were a bit labored. I pushed up back onto the road and hiked up a few switchbacks and reached the summit. It took almost 4 hours to reach the summit. Even when you consider the rests and picture breaks, we were not exactly blazing up to the summit.
Here is picture of me at the summit:
At the top there is a small building and we were able to catch some shade and I tried to eat a half of a sandwich. I had a bit of a headache and had some trouble digesting the sandwich. Trying to eat the solid food was a mistake. On the decent my headache started to get worse and I began to feel a bit nauseous. I hiked down to my bike and then navigated the remaining switchbacks. By this time my head was pounding and each bump I went over started to really hurt. My belly began to churn and I was in the “just get me the “futc” home mode….
I tried to climb up the hill after the switchbacks and had nothing in the tank, so I pushed the bike up the hill very slowly. I finally reached the flat section and got on the bike and rode some more. My head was pounding and I was really feeling quite green and had to pull over. Resting was not helping and I eventually “lost” my sandwich and most of the fluid I had sucked out of my Camelback over the past couple of hours. Wretching at 13,000’ was not fun. Quite humiliating actually, when you consider that I was passed by a couple of hikers in their 60’s at this point who seemed to be doing quite well. However, this good news is that after I called to the goddess of “chuck”, I did feel much better. As I descended my headache started to subside, and thankfully the last two miles down to the research station was all downhill.
Anyway, that’s my ride report. Hopefully somebody will get some amusement out of my suffering
I would definitely recommend this ride. However, if I attempt again, I will definitely spend a few more days camping near the start of the ride to get more acclimatized to the high altitude. I will also not try and eat any solid foods at the summit. Some aspirin will also be stuck in my pack if I try any additional high altitude riding as well.
Thanks for reading