Meeker is a near-14er south of Longs, and Dreamweaver is a classic moderate ice line. Having been somewhat timid in what I have climbed since last June, I thought it was time for a bit of a challenge. Glancing at the SummitPost page, I saw that I should start at 3 AM. Reading further, I saw that the approach was supposed to take 4-6 hours, which is insane. It’s about 4 miles to Chasm Lake, and if that takes you 4 hours, you’re in trouble.
I started at 5:30, and was back by 11:00; as a solo, it is a short day for anyone in reasonable condition. It felt like a good first alpine ice solo, and while it’s a beautiful line, I wouldn’t consider the climbing “classic”. It may have more ice in some conditions, but I can’t figure out how. It had already melted out in one section, but was still mostly snow.
Cresting the ridge with the outhouse where the Keyhole and Loft routes split, I got my first view of Dreamweaver, and was somewhat intimidated. It looked skinny, steep, and possibly melted out over some short rock steps. But couloirs usually look steeper than they are, and I had crampons and two tools with me, so I went ahead with it. As I neared the base, I saw a prominent boot-pack — this is evidently a popular route — and was grateful for it when I found that the snow at the base was soft enough to posthole, despite cold-ish temperatures the night before.
The staircase continued all the way up the couloir, which was mostly snow, with 5 short ice problems and a section of bare rubble and rock near a window in the Flying Buttress, the prominent fin to the right of the route. The crux was probably the third ice problem, below the bare spot, which had a rock bulge in the center and lots of thin ice. However, none of the steps was terribly difficult.
It was surprisingly calm and pleasant on the summit, allowing me to savor my food of choice: Daddy Ray’s off-brand apple bars, made with (among other things) Real Fruit. They were on sale for 1000 cal/$ in Westcliffe.
The descent was mostly a breeze. After scrambling over boulders and snow to the Loft, I enjoyed a massive glissade most of the way to the Chasm Lake trail, harvesting someone’s water bottle along the way. After a short detour to look at Longs’ Diamond face across Chasm Lake, I cruised the trail back, passing several hikers getting a late start for somewhere. I probably should have tagged Longs and/or Lady Washington to make it a full day, but I have already done the former, and the latter is an unimpressive rubble pile.