After enjoying the fairly easy approach to Pacific Peak about a month ago, I decided to return to Mayflower Gulch to try Atlantic Peak. The results of the hike were much different and I turned around at 12,800'. Winds were strong in Highlands Ranch, Colorado, throughout the night, but I decided to head out anyway with a reasonable forecast in the mountains. I left home around 5:30 and was hiking by 7:30.
The approach was uneventful and the trail was well packed with limited new snow in quite some time. I didn't even put my snowshoes on until turning up Pacific Creek. I picked up a faint trail and didn't have too much trouble post-holing. By the time I reached 12,000', I had to stop and add a layer to both my upper and lower body. It was cold and somewhat windy, but I pressed on.
After 400' more of climbing, I made it too a large flat shelf where I could see the west ridge of Atlantic Peak and was introduced to much stronger winds. Things didn't look good and the ridge was getting pounded by brutal winds. This was frustrating because Fletcher Mountain and Pacific Peak didn't appear to have the same situation. I took a few photos and knew that my day was likely over.
I climbed a few hundred more feet to see if the wind would relent if I stayed on the south side of the ridge. I quickly learned this wasn't going to be the case as I often had trouble standing let alone climbing. I retreated to my snowshoe cache and hiked back down to Highway 91. Although I didn't summit, it felt good to be in the mountains. Physically I was holding up and I was relatively warm except my face, I just couldn't compete with the wind.