Guadalupe Peak – take two, and finally in the rearview mirror.

When the NOAA weather forecast looks like this, you know it’s going to be fun:

URGENT – WEATHER MESSAGE
National Weather Service Midland/Odessa TX
151 PM CDT Tue Mar 29 2022
…HIGH WIND WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 1 PM CDT /NOON MDT/WEDNESDAY…
* WHAT…West winds 45 to 55 mph with gusts up to 75 mph expected.
* WHERE…Guadalupe and Delaware Mountains, and Davis Mountains.
* WHEN…Until 1 PM CDT /noon MDT/ Wednesday.

It’s a good thing I have quality hardshell clothing and I weigh a lot. 75mph gusts would blow Colette right on over to Kansas along with Dorothy and Toto. After spending last night hunkered down in the Pod getting blown around in the rest area up the road, I’m ready to be done with this wind!

But I keep reminding myself that if I just suffer through this, I never have any reason to come back to Texas again in my lifetime. That’s some pretty good motivation.

8.4 miles, under 3000 feet of elevation, no ice and snow, and an 8,571 foot peak – if it weren’t for this windstorm it would just be an easy walkup.

The old saying is that everything is bigger in Texas. I think that’s just their trucks and their egos, because it certainly isn’t their highpoints. AllTrails rates this as strenuous, but I’m guessing none of these people go to Colorado (and we don’t want them anyway).

What starts as gale-force wind turned to an ice storm somewhere around 7,500 feet, with crazy square ice chunks blowing out of the clouds on the west side of the mountains. I don’t think I’ve ever seen square chunks whipping through the air, and with this wind I’d bet they would cut you open on exposed skin. Again, I’m thankful to have good hardshell gear.

Everything sticking out of the ground above this is quickly coated in ice – trees, shrubs, even cactus. Cold, but very cool to see. Almost like walking through an ice sculpture garden.

The minute you descend below the cloud bank, the ice stops and you’re back to desert mountain views. I passed a few people on their way up, I figure they’ll have their own stories to share about crazy mountain weather.

Texas in the rearview. It’s a nice feeling to have that highpoint done!

Morning Shadows

Morning Shadows
Beautiful long morning shadows as I head up the Guadalupe Peak Trail.


Crystallized

Guadalupe Peak - Crystallized
Everything rising above the ground up here is frozen solid.


Blue and White

Blue and White
The ice coating on all the trees is a start contrast to the brown rock and grasses.


Chunks

Chunks
Thick chunks of ice on this pine.


South Side

Guadalupe Peak - South Side
South facing slopes have most of their ice melted off by the Texan sun.


Slice Through

Slice Through
Tan rock through frozen shrubbery.


White White White

White White White
I can’t describe just how cool the ice sculptures are.


American Airlines

American Airlines
The summit monument was obviously donated by American Airlines.


Socked In

Guadalupe Peak Socked In
The minute you hit the summit it’s completely socked in by clouds and ice.


Switch Sides

Switch Sides
One monument, two sides.


Frozen Cactus

Frozen Cactus
Pretty cool to see the spines on this prickly pear cactus frozen solid.


Cloud Wrap

Guadalupe Peak Cloud Wrap
The clouds quickly wrap around the mountain and envelop everything.


Driving Wind

Driving Wind
Another cool thing is the layers of ice on the windward side of the trees at the summit.


The Drop

The Drop
I say remove the bridge, and remove a lot of tourists.


Mountain Views

Mountain Views
As you descend, the scenery quickly changes back to Texas mountain scrub.


Pine Springs

Pine Springs
The Pine Springs campground in the lower left, and vast nothingness to the horizon.


Summit Video


A quick video at the socked-in summit


Fairytale Ice Sculptures


Such Cool Ice Sculptures!