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Imogene Pass Peaks

Friday & Saturday, September 14-15, 2018

This weekend I decided to stay close to home and only go out for one night since I needed to spend some time getting prepared for an upcoming river trip that I’m leaving for in a few days. I ended up going on an quick overnighter into the San Juan Mountains between Ouray and Telluride so I could hike to the summit of a few peaks near Imogene Pass. It’s actually been a few years since the last time I drove up to Imogene Pass, so I was looking forward to checking it out again. I left after work on Friday, stopped for a quick dinner in Delta and ended up making it to the top of Imogene Pass shortly before sunset. During my drive up to the pass I did have to wait for a group of 18 Jeeps to pass me since I guess the Jeep Jamboree was going on this weekend. I would also have to wait for another large Jeep Jamboree group on my way back down on Saturday. From the pass I watched and photographed the sunset before driving back down into Imogene Basin and finding a spot to camp for the night.

After leaving work of Friday I made it to Imogene Pass shortly before sunset.

Imogene Pass

The sign at Imogene Pass.

Imogene Pass Sign

Watching the sunset from 13,114 feet over Little Cone (11,981) and Lone Cone (12,613).

13,000 Feet Sunset

There must have been some smoke in the air because the light got really red right before the sun went down. This is a view of T7, which is one of the peaks I planned to hike on Saturday morning.

T7 Sunset

I stopped at the nearby overlook after sunset for a view over to Corkscrew Pass and the Red Mountains. The Earth Shadow was very well defined and vibrant this evening.

Corkscrew Pass

The Earth Shadow and my Jeep parked at the overlook before I headed back down to find a campsite.

ADVENTR Earth Shadow

On Saturday morning I woke up about and hour before sunrise and drove back up to the overlook near Imogene Pass in the dark and early dawn light. I quickly shouldered my pack and started hiking so I could catch the sunrise from up on the ridge. Surprisingly, it was only about 44 degrees this morning at this elevation which was rather nice and comfortable, and there was not much wind at all. It was a nice morning to be up in the mountains!

While not quite as vibrant as the previous night, the Earth Shadow this morning was still very well defined when I reached the overlook near Imogene Pass shortly before sunrise.

Imogene Pass Earth Shadow

Here’s a closer look at Chicago Peak (13,385) and Mount Sneffels (14,150).

Chicago Peak & Mount Sneffels

I quickly climbed up the ridge to Fort Peabody and made it just before the sun came up. Fort Peabody was built by the Colorado National Guard in 1904 during the height of statewide labor disturbances and was abandoned in 1908. The structure was restored in 2010.

Fort Peabody

From up on the ridge I had a nice view over to Lizard Head Peak (13,113) and the rest of the San Miguel Mountains.

Lizard Head Peak

Then the first light of the day struck the peaks of the Sneffels Range including Cirque Mountain (13,686), Teakettle Mountain (13,819) and Potosi Peak (13,786).

Sneffels Range Sunrise

Chicago Peak and Mount Sneffels at sunrise.

Mount Sneffels Sunrise

After watching the sunrise from Fort Peabody, I started hiking along the ridge towards Telluride Peak (13,509), my first destination this morning.

Telluride Peak at Sunrise

The views were pretty amazing as I hiked along the easy ridge.

Morning Peaks

The final ridge to the summit of Telluride Peak.

Telluride Peak Ridge

There was no view of Telluride from the summit, but there was a good look back to Imogene Pass on the other side of Savage Basin.

Imogene Pass Switchback

From Telluride Peak I continued along the ridge above Ptarmigan Lake on my way to PT 13510.

Above Ptarmigan Lake

One last look back at Telluride Peak from the other side.

Looking Back at Telluride Peak

I could see Wetterhorn Peak (14,015) and Uncompahgre Peak (14,309) on the horizon through the haze.

Uncompahgre

Following the ridge to PT 13510, which is the high point on the left.

PT 13510

The peaks of the Sneffels Range on the horizon viewed from the summit of PT 13510.

PT 13510 Summit

From the summit I could look down on Ajax Peak (12,785), which was one I had hoped to climb this year, but that doesn’t look like it’s going to happen. Maybe next year…

Ajax Peak

I also had a good view of Trico Peak (13,321) and Black Bear Pass from the summit.

Trico Peak

From this summit I could actually look down into Telluride, which was just coming out from the shadow of Ajax Mountain.

Telluride

Since I had never hiked to Ptarmigan Lake before and saw some interesting mining ruins from above, I decided to hike down there on my way back instead of following the ridge.

An overview of Ptarmigan Lake with the summit of T7 in the upper right. If you look closely maybe you can see my Jeep parked at the overlook above the lake?

Ptarmigan Lake

This was the main building that had caught my eye from above.

Ptarmigan Lake Building

A look inside the main room.

Interior Room

This bedroom looks like it may have been built on as an addition to the main building. The old bedspring on the floor looks like it was comfortable…

Guest Room

This old boiler was located on the shore of Ptarmigan Lake below the building.

Ptarmigan Boiler

One last look at the building as I started hiking back up the closed road to the overlook.

Mining Structure

On my way over to the summit of T7 I had a good look down into Commodore Gulch.

Commodore Gulch

Looking back to Ptarmigan Lake with PT 13510 above on the right.

PT 13510 Over Ptarmigan Lake

The rugged ridge connecting T7 (13,359) to T8 (13,315).

Ridge To T8

From the summit of T7 I also had a good view down into Spirit Gulch, which I just hiked up a couple of weeks ago.

Spirit Gulch

A view from the summit of T7.

T7 Summit

After hiking down to my Jeep I drove back down into Ouray and then headed back home. It was a nice short trip into the San Juan Mountains and probably my last one of the summer.

>> Imogene Pass Peaks Photo Gallery

2 Comments

  1. John
    John September 17, 2018

    Phenomenal post, as always. Your consistent drive to pursue such a dynamic lifestyle is inspiring.

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