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Category: Climbing

Western Edge of the San Juans: Groundhog Mountain

Saturday & Sunday, August 1-2, 2020

After spending Saturday morning hiking along the Calico Trail in the Rico Mountains I wanted to hike one more quick and easy 12er on Sunday morning before I headed back home. Since I’ve been avoiding the busy high peaks in Colorado this summer, I thought I’d make this the Summer of 12ers! After watching Groundhog Mountain on the horizon over the past couple of weeks, I thought it would be a fun to climb Lone Cone’s closest neighboring peak, especially since I figured it probably doesn’t see too many visitors. So after visiting Colorado’s only geyser on Saturday afternoon I drove further west towards the fringe of the San Juan Mountains and found and excellent campsite at the edge of Black Mesa which offered me a great view of the San Miguel Mountains. I ate my dinner and hoped for another spectacular sunset from this great vantage point. I wasn’t let down as the following photos will attest!

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Middle La Sal Peak: Mount Mellenthin

La Sal Mountains Peak Bagging | South Mountain from Medicine Lakes
Friday – Sunday, July 10-12, 2020

This weekend I continued my annual tradition of spending an early summer weekend peak-bagging in the La Sal Mountains near Moab. Usually I try to make this my first peak-bagging trip of the season, but this year that honor goes to Trappers Peak in the Flat Tops. Since I have now hiked all of the popular peaks in the La Sal Mountains, it is time to get started on the more obscure ones, and this trip I thought it was finally time I went for Mount Mellenthin, also known as Middle La Sal Peak, which is the second tallest peak in the La Sals after Mount Peale. I was originally planning to hike Mount Mellenthin after floating the Moab Daily a couple of weeks ago, but I had to cancel those plans when I came down with some sort of allergic reaction after getting off the river. I was looking forward to getting back into the La Sals this weekend, especially since there was a heat wave in the area and I hoped to stay cool at higher elevations!

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Flat Tops for the Fourth: Wall Lake & Trappers Peak

Headwaters of the White River | The Flat Tops Wilderness of the White River Plateau
Independence Day Weekend | Friday – Saturday, July 3-4, 2020

After spending the last couple of weekends on the river it was finally time to start heading up into Colorado’s high country for the short summer season! This weekend Diane and I decided to head up to visit the headwaters of the White River in the Flat Tops Wilderness, where I hoped we could find a little solitude over this popular and busy holiday weekend. Although I’ve gone on a few day hikes into the Flat Tops Wilderness before, this would actually be our first backpacking trip into Colorado’s third largest wilderness area and I was looking forward to it!

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Celebrating 25 Years: Ouray Ice Festival 2020

Saturday, January 25, 2020

Last year I wasn’t able to make it to the annual Ouray Ice Festival since I was busy exploring the Paria Plateau that weekend instead, but this year I made sure to spend a few hours at the festival on Saturday morning since it’s the 25th Anniversary of the event! I left home early on Saturday morning, grabbed a quick breakfast on my way out of town and arrived at the Ouray Ice Park just in time to watch the beginning of the Elite Mixed Climbing Competition. After watching a few of the ice climbers on the competition route from the bridge, I wandered around the vendor booths and then watched and photographed other climbers on the ice in the Uncompahgre Gorge. I left in the early afternoon and grabbed a Mocha Shake from Mouse’s before heading west into Utah for the remainder of the weekend.

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La Plata Mountains: Centennial Peak

Plus A Failed Attempt at Hesperus Mountain
Friday – Sunday, July 19-21, 2019

I have been looking forward to this weekend since early March when I was able to secure an overnight reservation for the Jersey Jim Fire Lookout Tower on Sunday night, and since I was going to be in the area I decided to spend the weekend peak-bagging in the La Plata Mountains. As usual, I left right after work on Friday and headed south into the San Juan Mountains with a quick stop in Delta for dinner. I drove over Red Mountain Pass to Durango and then headed west to Mancos where I took the West Mancos Road into the San Juan National Forest and found a spot to spend the night in Spruce Mill Park just after dark. It had been a long day and I was planning to get an early start the next morning, so I went right to bed.

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