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Tag: san juan triangle

Little Giant Basin Peaks

Fall Colors 2020 | King Solomon Mountain & Little Giant Peak
Friday & Saturday, September 25-26, 2020

After spending a few days last week on a relaxing river trip through Meander Canyon in Canyonlands National Park, it was time for me to squeeze in one last visit to the mountains before I start heading back into the desert until next summer. Earlier this year I had set a personal goal to try to hike at least 30 summits this summer and I was at 29 as of Friday, so I needed to get in at least one more peak to meet that goal. Since I also needed to start preparing for another long trip starting next weekend, I wanted to stay closer to home and decided to try to climb a pair of peaks from Little Giant Basin near Silverton on Saturday morning. As usual, I left right after work on Friday and took the Million Dollar Highway from Ouray to Silverton. The fall colors were looking very nice this weekend, so I stopped for a couple of photos along the way…

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Along the Continental Divide: Stony Pass Peaks

Saturday & Sunday, August 22-23, 2020

After spending the morning hiking to a couple peaks along the Colorado Trail near Kennebec Pass in the La Plata Mountains, I thought it was time to visit a couple of 13ers that I had missed on a previous visit to Stony Pass a few years ago since I got sidetracked that day helping a mountain biker get to the airport in Durango. After grabbing a quick lunch in Durango I headed back to the heart of the San Juan Mountains near Silverton and drove up to the Continental Divide at Stony Pass in the late afternoon. I found a spot to camp for the night and rested for a little bit. As sunset approached I hiked up the Hardrock 100 route to the summit of Hardrocker (13,214) so I could watch the light show. I made it up to the summit a bit earlier than I had planned, but since the summit was large and grassy I just laid down for a while and enjoyed the comfortable temperature and beautiful scenery from the top.

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Among Giants of the Uncompahgre: Matterhorn Peak

Uncompahgre Wilderness: Between Uncompahgre and Wetterhorn Peaks
Friday & Saturday, August 14-15, 2020

This Sunday Diane and I have a camping permit secured for an overnight backpacking trip to the popular Conundrum Hot Springs near Aspen, but I didn’t want to skip out on hiking at least one new peak this weekend, so I thought I’d try to find something quick and easy to hike on Saturday morning before I returned home to pack for the overnighter. Since I haven’t made it back to the Uncompahgre Wilderness yet this year, and it’s probably my favorite wilderness area close to home, I figured doing something in that area would be a good choice. After looking over my maps I settled on hiking Matterhorn Peak (13,590) which has been on my to-do list for far too long. What better way to spend the morning than hiking in between two of my favorite 14ers!

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Towering Over Telluride: Ajax Peak

Friday – Saturday, September 13-14, 2019

This weekend Diane and I had another concert to go to on Saturday evening, so just like when I climbed Red Mountain #2 a few weeks ago, I decided to climb another easier peak in the San Juan Mountains on Saturday morning so that I could return home in the early afternoon. I’ve had Ajax Peak (12,785) near Telluride on my to-do list for a while, and that looked like it would be the perfect quick and easy mountain to summit this weekend. Ajax Peak may not be a very high peak by Colorado standards, but it is a prominent sight when you are in the town of Telluride, and I believe it is also a popular hike from town since there is a good trail all the way up to the summit. The peak sits along the ridge separating Ingram Basin from Savage Basin and is down below Telluride Peak (13,509), which I climbed at the end of last summer. Of course, I was not planning on climbing Ajax Peak from Telluride like most people do, instead I planned to drive over Black Bear Pass and spend the night in Ingram Basin where I would start my hike in the morning.

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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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