Out of all the mountains I have ever climbed, Mt. Lady Washington is definitely the least cool. First off, Its named after George Washington’s wife, who probably never climbed a mountain and/or had an orgasm in her life. (she might be wearing a bathrobe in this picture!?)
Second, with the exception of the Martha Couloir, and some ice on the south face that is fabled to form once every couple years, the mountain is a rounded pile of shitty rocks and boulders that sits next to the awesomeness that is Longs Peak.
The plan was to solo Martha (WI2-3, M1-2, 5.6), and then run over and solo the North Face of Longs Peak (5.5, m2-3). This would make for a nice long day, with about 5000 ft of gain, and some incredible views to boot. I left my new house in Longmont (about 10 miles north of Boulder, CO) at 4am and arrived at the Longs Peak trailhead around 5am. I was running late since Martha is south facing and my goal was to be off the route by 8am at the latest to avoid ice and rock fall. In order to move faster, I ditched the 7mm tag line and bail gear I had in my pack( 2 x 30ft cordalettes, set of stoppers, 4 loose carabiners, 2 knifeblades), and my snowshoes, which I planned to ditch at a trail junction and use only for the descent through soft snow. All I had left in my pack was my ice tools, a primaloft jacket, helmet, treking pole, harness with ice tool tethers, and some chocolate bars.
When I got above treeline, I was greeted by Colorado’s most infamous mountain dweller…wind. It was pretty heinous and after about 1/2 mile, I turned around, gave up, and said “fuck it.” I took about ten steps before I proverbially slapped myself in the face and told myself to suck it up and at least hike to the base of the route. Martha starts on the North side of the Longs/Meeker/Lady Washington cirque, and the wind was slightly less terrible, so I decided to start up the couloir, which hopefully would be guarded from the wind since its a deep gash in the mountain. Unfortunately, spindrift and ice balls kept funneling down the chute, and I had to take advantage of the lulls to safely make moves unroped, and shoot some video.
The Couloir proper ended after about 700 feet, and featured 4 distinct cruxes consisting of AI 2-3, and some M1-2 moves. None of the cruxes lasted for more than about 5-7 moves, and were separated by sections of 60 degree neve snow. After the technical sections were behind me, the wind really started to pick up. I turned up my music and went into berserker mode! I topped out Mt. Lady Washington (13, 281ft), at 8am on the dot, 1 hour after starting the climb, in the strongest wind I have ever encountered. Luckily it was blowing in the direction of my descent. I ran down the eastern tallus slopes and hard packed snow and never looked back, lest my eyes be blown out of their sockets. I got back to my van at 9:45am, clocking in at about 4.5 hours c2c.