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Tag: ptarmigan

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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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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Montezuma Peaks

Colorado Adventure | Sunday – Monday, August 5-6, 2018

After spending the weekend backpacking in the Gore Range with Diane, we parted ways on Sunday afternoon and I headed over to the Front Range near Montezuma to climb a few mountains as I continued my Colorado Adventure. After an early dinner in Dillon I drove up to Loveland Pass on the Continental Divide so I could hike to the summit of Mount Sniktau (13,234). Even though there had been storms earlier in the day and there were still plenty of clouds moving around, the weather was looking favorable for the climb and I was hoping that the clouds interacting with the light would make for some nice conditions. My legs were still pretty tired from our hike back down from Gore Lake in the morning so I was moving pretty slow, but the weather did hold out. However, once I reached the ridge I was struck by some very strong and brutal winds blowing across the Divide and I had to make use of a couple of rock shelters that I passed along the trail.

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Carson Saddle Peaks

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

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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Top of the Rocky Mountains

Mount Elbert & Missouri Mountain
Friday – Sunday, September 16-18, 2016

After only hiking one new fourteener this year, I knew I had to get out this weekend to at least try to get another one or two in before snow started sticking around in the high country. It’s been a couple of years since the last time I visited the Sawatch Range, so I thought it would be a good idea to head that way for a change. Then I figured that I might as well go for Mount Elbert (14,433), the highest peak in Colorado and the Rocky Mountains. It’s second only to Mount Whitney (14,508) in the contiguous United States.

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