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Tag: mineral basin

Grand Basin Traverse: The Basins of Mineral Creek

Black Bear Pass to Columbine Lake
Saturday, August 17, 2019

This weekend I decided to skip the peak bagging for a minute and just wanted to go on a nice hike in the high country through the upper basins of Mineral Creek near Silverton. I have wanted to hike to the turquoise blue waters of Columbine Lake for a long time but I didn’t really want to follow the steep trail that everyone else does, so I decided that I would drive up to Black Bear Pass and then hike over to the lake by passing through a couple different high alpine basins and maybe stop at a couple of passes along the way. Now after hiking this route I’ve got to say that it was pretty amazing! One of the nice things about this hike is that it was all above treeline and pretty much stayed between about 12,600 feet and 13,000 feet. There were a lot of ups and downs along the way, but it didn’t feel like I was climbing a steep mountain and the route offered spectacular views in all directions right from the beginning. This Grand Basin Traverse takes you through Mineral Basin, Porphyry Basin, Silver Cloud Basin and Mill Creek Basin on your way to Columbine Lake. Along the way you have the option of climbing up to two different passes for views into Mud Lake Basin and Bridal Veil Basin, plus you will also pass by Porphyry Lake, Bullion King Lake and a number of other small tarns along the way. This is definitely the way to hike to Columbine Lake!

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Wetterhorn Peak

Saturday & Sunday, August 22-23, 2015

Over the years I have spent a lot of time in and around the Uncompahgre Wilderness of the San Juan Mountains, and every time I do I usually see the massive Uncompahgre Peak looming above all the other mountains along with it’s shorter but more rugged neighbor, Wetterhorn Peak. I have wanted to climb Wetterhorn Peak for a long time, but the class 3 route to it’s summit combined with exposure had stopped me from trying until I gained more experience. For years I have looked at photos and videos of the final climb to the summit and thought that there was no way I’d be able to do that, so I kept putting it off. After a few years of hiking easier fourteeners, it was finally time for me to attempt my first class 3 route and I knew it would have to be on Wetterhorn.

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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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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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Bear Creek & Bridge of Heaven

Saturday & Sunday, July 26-27, 2014

After staying up late on Friday night to catch a concert in Grand Junction, we slept in a little later on Saturday morning before driving down to Ouray to get some hiking in for the weekend. The plan was to hike two trails that have been on my list for a number of years. I have planned to hike both of these trails on previous occasions, but something has always come up and prevented me from doing so. We started out by hiking the Bear Creek Trail just outside of Ouray along the Million Dollar Highway. I did manage to hike a short section of this trail a few years back, but was short on time and didn’t get very far. This time we were planning on hiking to the Grizzly Bear Mine and back since we started later in the morning and knew the afternoon storms would be moving in soon.

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