Stone Mountain (7,625′) | Viestenz-Smith Mountain Park
Loveland, CO | 02/17/19 | 8.77 miles | 2,186′ gain
Nearly two months ago to the day, I climbed Stone Mountain for the first time. (You can read about that here.) I saw perfect conditions that day and great temperatures. This time we weren’t quite as lucky.
The Round Mountain Trailhead had been closed for weeks due to some logging occurring in the area. It was supposed to open back up on the 16th, so when some friends decided they wanted to do this trail, we hoped that it would be open when we arrived. We had a backup hike just in case, but luckily the gate was open and we were excited to be the first people there.
It was pretty cold when we arrived (~25*) but we warmed up quickly on the steep walk up the trail. We enjoyed stopping at every overlook to soak up the gorgeous views and catch our breath.
I was expecting the summit scramble to be easier for me this time since I’d done it before, but I found myself just as nervous and unsure of myself. I had to force my limbs to move and I pulled myself up the stone slabs as quickly as possible so I didn’t have to think about it too long.
The temperatures dropped around the time we summited, and we watched snow clouds head our way. We signed the summit register and had a quick snack, then descended. I was worried about the descent since I was so nervous going up, but I actually did fine and we all descended without incident. A successful summit!
Shortly after we arrived back on the main trail, it started to snow. Just a few flakes at first, but then it started to come down harder and harder. Eventually the trail was white and we were slipping and sliding on the snow covered rocks. We shook our heads at the few people who were heading up into the snow, and were thankful to arrive back to the car where we could warm up.