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Towering Over Telluride: Ajax Peak

Friday – Saturday, September 13-14, 2019

This weekend Diane and I had another concert to go to on Saturday evening, so just like when I climbed Red Mountain #2 a few weeks ago, I decided to climb another easier peak in the San Juan Mountains on Saturday morning so that I could return home in the early afternoon. I’ve had Ajax Peak (12,785) near Telluride on my to-do list for a while, and that looked like it would be the perfect quick and easy mountain to summit this weekend. Ajax Peak may not be a very high peak by Colorado standards, but it is a prominent sight when you are in the town of Telluride, and I believe it is also a popular hike from town since there is a good trail all the way up to the summit. The peak sits along the ridge separating Ingram Basin from Savage Basin and is down below Telluride Peak (13,509), which I climbed at the end of last summer. Of course, I was not planning on climbing Ajax Peak from Telluride like most people do, instead I planned to drive over Black Bear Pass and spend the night in Ingram Basin where I would start my hike in the morning.

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Destined To Fail: A Failed Attempt at Longs Peak

Friday – Monday, September 6-9, 2019

I took a day off from work to climb Longs Peak, but all I climbed this weekend was Cupid (13,117). Earlier this year when I was making plans that required permits in advance, climbing Longs Peak in Rocky Mountain National Park with an overnight stay in the Boulderfield was near the top of my list. While I know that many people climb Longs Peak in a long day, that is not the experience I was looking for and I was looking forward to spending a night in the Boulderfield before the climb. I was able to secure a permit back in March for this Sunday night and had hoped that this popular route wouldn’t be too crowded on a Monday in early September after Labor Day. Since I was unsure about my climbing ability and the exposure along this route, I invited my friend Jackson and his fiance Amy along to join me on this trip because I know that Jackson likes to climb and scramble. Unfortunately, this would not end up being my year to climb Longs Peak. Not only were we unable to make it to the Boulderfield on Sunday because of the weather, but even if we had made it up there I know that I would not have been able to climb the Keyhole Route on Monday morning since there was snow overnight and the route was covered in ice. I guess winter in the high country has arrived! Maybe I’ll give it another shot next summer…

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Weminuche Wanderings: West Ute Lake Loop

Continental Divide Trail: Hunchback Pass to West Ute Lake
Labor Day Weekend | Friday – Sunday, August 30 – September 1, 2019

Since we just spent last weekend along the Continental Divide in Wyoming, I figured it would be nice to spend some time along the Continental Divide Trail in Colorado this weekend. Since Labor Day is a popular holiday in the mountains of Colorado I planned a backpacking loop into an area of the Weminuche Wilderness that I hoped would not be very busy so we could try to avoid the crowds. The plan worked out great as we only saw a couple of other people all weekend and had plenty of solitude! As for the trails we hiked, they required more bushwhacking and route-finding than I expected, so that might be another reason why we didn’t run into too many people.

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The Wind Rivers: Cirque of the Towers

Wednesday – Saturday, August 21-24, 2019

After our first backpacking trip into the Wind River Range for The Great American Eclipse two years ago it was time that we finally headed back for a another one. Since we had some pretty good conditions on that last trip (weather and mosquitoes) we planned to go at the same time of the year. Of course, since we had already visited Titcomb Basin and Island Lake on that previous trip, this time I really wanted to check out the Cirque of the Towers. I had originally planned this trip to be a four day loop that would take us past Big Sandy Lake into the Cirque of the Towers and then over Texas Pass to Shadow Lake, but things didn’t quite go as planned and we ended up not completing the loop. It was still an amazing trip and we both really enjoyed our time spent in the Cirque of the Towers!

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Grand Basin Traverse: The Basins of Mineral Creek

Black Bear Pass to Columbine Lake
Saturday, August 17, 2019

This weekend I decided to skip the peak bagging for a minute and just wanted to go on a nice hike in the high country through the upper basins of Mineral Creek near Silverton. I have wanted to hike to the turquoise blue waters of Columbine Lake for a long time but I didn’t really want to follow the steep trail that everyone else does, so I decided that I would drive up to Black Bear Pass and then hike over to the lake by passing through a couple different high alpine basins and maybe stop at a couple of passes along the way. Now after hiking this route I’ve got to say that it was pretty amazing! One of the nice things about this hike is that it was all above treeline and pretty much stayed between about 12,600 feet and 13,000 feet. There were a lot of ups and downs along the way, but it didn’t feel like I was climbing a steep mountain and the route offered spectacular views in all directions right from the beginning. This Grand Basin Traverse takes you through Mineral Basin, Porphyry Basin, Silver Cloud Basin and Mill Creek Basin on your way to Columbine Lake. Along the way you have the option of climbing up to two different passes for views into Mud Lake Basin and Bridal Veil Basin, plus you will also pass by Porphyry Lake, Bullion King Lake and a number of other small tarns along the way. This is definitely the way to hike to Columbine Lake!

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