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Category: Mountaineering

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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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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Collegiate Peaks in the Clouds: Mount Yale

Sunday, July 28, 2019

After spending Saturday hiking along the Continental Divide near Lake City, it was time for my main objective this weekend to hike my first 14er of the year! I had decided that I was going to give Mount Yale (14,196) in the Sawatch Range a try and found a spot to camp just up the road from the Denny Creek Trailhead on Saturday evening. I was pretty tired when I arrived and was planning on an alpine start, so I fell asleep before the sun even set for the day. Surprising, I actually slept very well overnight which is rare for me on the night before a big climb, so I’m not complaining! I did wake up briefly a few times throughout the night and heard that it was raining out which concerned me a little since there had been no rain in the forecast and I was hoping it wouldn’t impact my hiking plans this morning. I ended up waking up at 3:45am (my alarm was set for 4:00am) and was wide awake and ready to go, so I got up and headed over to the trailhead to start my hike. I was on the trail by 4:30am and hiking in the dark with a little help from my headlamp. I looked up to the sky and saw there were some stars, so I figured that the storms overnight must have already cleared out.

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