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Category: Mountaineering

Red Mountain Pass Peaks

Friday – Sunday, July 10-12, 2015

June was a busy month for me that prevented me from spending much time outside and then I got sick over the long Independence Day weekend, so it’s been quite a while since I’ve been out hiking and camping and I really needed to get back into the mountains this weekend! Since I’m a little out of shape, I thought it would be a good idea to start out the season hiking a few easier peaks near Red Mountain Pass this weekend that I’ve thought about climbing for years. Diane and I left after work on Friday and drove through Ouray to one of our go-to campsites in Mineral Basin. We quickly setup camp at 11,600 feet elevation and were soon sleeping. I know that some people have trouble sleeping at higher elevations, but I almost always sleep well over 10,000 feet and this night was no exception.

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Courthouse Mountain

Fall Colors 2014
Saturday & Sunday, September 20-21, 2014

On Saturday, Diane and I headed back down to the San Juan Mountains again so we could climb to the top of Courthouse Mountain in the Cimarron’s . While this mountain is short compared to the surrounding peaks in the area at only 12,152 feet, it is uniquely shaped and has over 1,000 feet of vertical prominence. It’s also a very distinguishable peak near Owl Creek Pass that is often photographed, especially in the fall when the surrounding mountainsides are changing colors. I have seen this mountain in the skyline for many years when I would drive to Ouray and Silverton, and decided it was finally time to climb to the top a few weeks ago when I had a different view of it during our hike into Wetterhorn Basin. While there were afternoon storms predicted after 3:00pm today, we didn’t need to get too early of a start for this hike since it’s a relatively short trail, clocking in at just under 2 miles, but it climbs almost 2,000 feet of elevation in that short distance.

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Leon Peak

Mesa County High Point
Thursday, September 4, 2014

Since I had the day off from work I decided to go on a short hike close to home today. While I doubt I’ll ever try to complete all the county high points in Colorado, I thought it might be nice to at least climb the highest peak in Mesa County where I reside (and maybe a few of the surrounding counties, eventually). After a little research I found that Leon Peak on the Grand Mesa is the highest point in Mesa County at 11,236 feet and that it was a pretty short hike without too much elevation gain from a nearby campground. It would be a perfect hike to complete in a couple of hours this morning.

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A Drive Around the San Juan’s

Labor Day Weekend | Sunday & Monday, August 31 – September 1, 2014

After our overnight backpacking trip into Wetterhorn Basin we decided to stick around the San Juan Mountains for one more day and drive a few of the high mountain passes and trails around Silverton. After lunch in Ouray, we drove over Red Mountain Pass and found a campsite up in Mineral Basin. While I was pretty sure we’d be able to find one of our usual campsites in this area open, I was surprised to find that there was no one else around considering it was Labor Day weekend. We had the area to ourselves for the night. We spent a few hours resting in camp before driving up to a few passes in the late afternoon to catch the sunset. The fast-moving clouds that had been around all day made for another spectacular sunset!

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Wetterhorn Basin

Labor Day Weekend | Saturday & Sunday, August 30 – 31, 2014

When I asked Diane what she wanted to do over Labor Day weekend she suggested that we go on another backpacking trip. I guess it’s safe to say that she enjoys backpacking since she only went on her very first trip back in June. After a little research we decided on an overnight backpacking trip into Wetterhorn Basin within the Uncompahgre Wilderness. We figured it probably wouldn’t be too busy in this area over the holiday weekend because most people climb Wetterhorn Peak from the other side.

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