Chattering teeth and aspen leaves filled the silence of dawn. Fog from our breath and an army of rising goosebumps quickly informed us: Summer's over. As Jeff and I set out for a long morning in the alpine, I was filled with nostalgia for the mountains ahead of us. Layers of green unfolded upwards revealing towering orange peaks. Surveying the the dark green foliage blurring past me, I felt the forest preparing its transformation. Soon, the trees will explode into impossibly vibrant hues as they surrender another year's work to Winter. Everything in this place will adapt to a new way of life. And I, with eager eyes tracing the ridgeline, will soon find myself here again; strapping a different set of tools to my feet to wander out into the miraculous expanse I call my backyard.

As we continued on to our trailhead for the day, my nostalgic feelings for autumn were shattered as the day's work scrolled into view. Prestigious Mount Audubon rose intimidatingly above the treeline. Inviting us, challenging us to test our mettle upon its talus-ridden Southeast ridgeline. Hiding just behind Audubon, our objective for the day sat warming in the morning sun: Paiute Peak.
Above, the author returns from a subpeak of Pauite Peak. Photos by Jeff Jones.

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