Category: Mountaineering

Southwest Ridge | Saturday & Sunday, August 5-6, 2017

A view of Sayres Peak (13,738) at sunrise as I hiked to the summit of La Plata Peak.

Last fall during my drive to the trailhead for Mount Elbert (14,433), I got a nice view of La Plata Peak as I was descending Independence Pass shortly before sunset and thought to myself that I should make time to climb that peak soon. That thought has stuck around in the back of my mind for the last year and I finally decided to make it happen this weekend since I had good luck with Culebra Peak (14,047) last weekend.

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Culebra Peak | Friday – Saturday, July 28-29, 2017

Diane hikes along the cloudy ridge on our way to the summit of Culebra Peak.

Last year after hiking my first 14er in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains I thought it would be nice to come back again this year for another one. After looking at my options earlier in the year I decided to try and get two permits to hike Culebra Peak (14,047) at the southern end of the range within Colorado. Culebra, which translates to serpent or snake in Spanish, is most likely named for the long snake-like ridge that leads up to its summit which is visible from the west. For those not familiar, Culebra Peak is the southernmost 14er in Colorado (only about 9 miles from the New Mexico border), the highest point in the Culebra Range, and is completely on private property which was originally part of a large Mexican Land Grant that dates back to 1844. This area of Colorado has a very unique and controversial history and I highly recommend that you check out this page on Summit Post to learn more about the timeline of this property. What pushed me over the edge to try for Culebra this year was the fact that the ranch it is located on has been for sale for a while and there is no guarantee the future owner of the property will continue to allow access. I figured that I’d like the opportunity to try and climb this peak now with it’s uncertain future.

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Bent Peak & Carson Peak
Saturday & Sunday, July 22-23, 2017

Low clouds cling to the hills along the Continental Divide looking toward the Rio Grande Pyramid.

Next weekend Diane and I are scheduled to climb our first 14er of the year, so this weekend we decided to head down to the Continental Divide near Lake City so we could hike a couple of 13ers to help us prepare. The weather on Saturday was predicted to be wet and stormy early but Sunday morning was looking good, so we planned to hike the 13ers early Sunday and tried to find something a little lower and in the trees for Saturday.

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Saturday & Sunday, July 8-9, 2017

Following the Rico – Silverton Trail through South Park on our way back from The Colorado Trail.

Diane and I spent the past weekend in the San Juan Mountains near Silverton getting in a little high elevation hiking. We left home early on Saturday morning and drove all the way to the end of the Bandora Mine Road in the South Fork of Mineral Creek and found a campsite shortly before arriving at the trailhead. We quickly setup camp and then started hiking up the Rico – Silverton Trail to it’s intersection with The Colorado Trail. There were a lot of wildflowers along the trail, especially in South Park along with some patches of snow over parts of The Colorado Trail, including a big drift across Rolling Mountain Pass. When we reached the high point of the trail I climbed to the summit of an unnamed 12er that offered great views of Engineer Mountain, Jura Knob and the surrounding area.

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Whipple Mountain & Last Dollar Mountain
Independence Day | Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Diane hikes through a hillside of lupine as we descend the Whipple Mountain Trail.

This year for Independence Day Diane and I woke up early and drove down to the west end of the Sneffels Range near Telluride to climb a couple of mountains just off the Last Dollar Road. We started out by hiking up the Whipple Trail to the summit of Whipple Mountain (11,922) which was about 1.5 miles in length with 1,500 feet of elevation gain. It was mostly up an easy trail lined with wildflowers and then the last section from the saddle to the summit was on a faint track through a forest where the mosquitoes were pretty terrible. We enjoyed the view from the summit over toward Wilson Peak, El Diente Peak, and Lizard Head for a little bit and then hiked back down to the trailhead.

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