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Category: Highpointing

Over the Edge: Island in the Sky

Grand View Point Trails: Murphy Trail Loop, Murphy Point & Gooseberry Trail
Saturday & Sunday, November 2-3, 2019

After finishing up hiking all of the official trails in the Needles District of Canyonlands National Park last year I figured that it was time for me to get started working on my remaining trails on the Island in the Sky. While I have already hiked most of the official trails on the top of the mesa, I had not hiked any that descended down to the White Rim, so I wanted to change that this weekend. I figured a good starting point would be to hike a couple of the shorter trails that start from Grand View Point, including the Murphy Trail, Murphy Point Trail and Gooseberry Trail. It’s kind of funny, although the Island in the Sky is the closest district of Canyonlands to me, it’s also the one that I’ve spent the least amount of time in. I think I’m going to make it my goal to finish hiking my remaining trails in this district of Canyonlands within the next year. Let’s see how many I can squeeze in over the winter!

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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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Mount Columbia via Frenchman Creek

Saturday & Sunday, August 10-11, 2019

I had such a nice time in the Sawatch Range a couple of weeks ago when I climbed Mount Yale that I decided to return again this weekend with Diane so we could go on an overnight backpacking trip along Frenchman Creek and climb Mount Columbia (14,073) on Sunday morning. Since we didn’t have a long hike ahead of us, we slept in later on Saturday morning before heading out on our way to the Arkansas River Valley. We stopped at K’s in Buena Vista for lunch and then from there it was a quick drive over to the Frenchman Creek Trailhead at the boundary of the Collegiate Peaks Wilderness. When we arrived I was pretty surprised to find that there were no other vehicles parked there, plus we would not seen anyone else on the trail all weekend. It was a little bit strange, even for a non-standard route on a 14er, especially on a weekend on this side of the mountains, but I’m not complaining!

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Three Out of Three: Red Mountain No. 2

National Summit Day | Final Peak on the Abrams – Anvil Ridge
Friday – Saturday, August 2-3, 2019

Over the years I’ve viewed the summit of Red Mountain No. 2 from many different vantage points; reflected in Crystal Lake from Ironton Park, along the Jeep road to Corkscrew Pass, while exploring the old mining buildings of the Red Mountain Mining District below, and from the top of many of the surrounding peaks in the area. This weekend I had a concert to go to on Saturday evening so I was looking for a peak to climb that was pretty short and close to home. Since I’d already climbed Red Mountain #1 and Red Mountain #3 I figured it was finally time to finish off the trio. Not only would this be my third and final summit of the Red Mountains, but Red Mountain #2 was also the only peak along the ridge on the east side of the Million Dollar Highway between Abrams Mountain and Anvil Mountain that I had not climbed yet, so it would be nice to finish that ridge, too. This turned out to be a fitting hike for Saturday morning since it was apparently National Summit Day, even though Red Mountain #2 is not a ranked, high or popular peak. Those are my favorite kind!

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