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Tag: sawatch range

Holy Cross Wilderness: Fancy Lake & Holy Cross City

Saturday & Sunday, September 21-22, 2019

Although I wanted to try to climb Mount of the Holy Cross (14,005) with Diane this summer, we just never found the time to squeeze it in. Still, I wanted to get in at least one short backpacking trip into the Holy Cross Wilderness this year since I really haven’t spent much time in the northern Sawatch Range before, so we decided to go on an easy overnighter to Fancy Lake this weekend. From Fancy Lake I would also be able to revisit the 1880’s ghost town of Holy Cross City which I first visited way back in 2005 by driving the rough 4×4 road in my Jeep. Now that it’s getting late in the season, this will probably be our last backpacking trip into the mountains for the year since it’s starting to cool down and it’s time to get back to exploring the Colorado Plateau!

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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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Collegiate Peaks in the Clouds: Mount Yale

Sunday, July 28, 2019

After spending Saturday hiking along the Continental Divide near Lake City, it was time for my main objective this weekend to hike my first 14er of the year! I had decided that I was going to give Mount Yale (14,196) in the Sawatch Range a try and found a spot to camp just up the road from the Denny Creek Trailhead on Saturday evening. I was pretty tired when I arrived and was planning on an alpine start, so I fell asleep before the sun even set for the day. Surprising, I actually slept very well overnight which is rare for me on the night before a big climb, so I’m not complaining! I did wake up briefly a few times throughout the night and heard that it was raining out which concerned me a little since there had been no rain in the forecast and I was hoping it wouldn’t impact my hiking plans this morning. I ended up waking up at 3:45am (my alarm was set for 4:00am) and was wide awake and ready to go, so I got up and headed over to the trailhead to start my hike. I was on the trail by 4:30am and hiking in the dark with a little help from my headlamp. I looked up to the sky and saw there were some stars, so I figured that the storms overnight must have already cleared out.

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Mount Shavano & Tabeguache Peak

Colorado Adventure 2018 | Thursday & Friday, August 9-10, 2018

After spending the morning hiking around Hancock Pass, I headed down to Pitkin and then made my way over to US 50. My original plans were to head off into the San Juan Mountains for a couple of days before returning home, but I decided to stick around the Sawatch Range for one more day so I could hike to the summit of Mount Shavano and Tabeguache Peak on Friday morning before the weekend crowds arrived. Since I had been hiking in the mountains all week and I was pretty well acclimated by this point, I figured this would be a great time to climb these two fourteeners. So instead of heading south into the Cochetopa Hills, I headed east over Monarch Pass.

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Hancock Pass Peaks

Colorado Adventure 2018 | Wednesday & Thursday, August 8-9, 2018

After climbing a few 13ers in the Mosquito Range on Wednesday morning and then stopping for lunch in Buena Vista I headed up the road along Chalk Creek toward St. Elmo into the Sawatch Range again. My plan for Thursday morning was to climb a pair of 12ers from Hancock Pass, but since it was still early in the afternoon I had some time to explore for a little bit before finding a campsite for the night near the pass. I started out by driving up to the Pomeroy Lakes Trailhead since I hadn’t been up to this area in over ten years. When I reached the end of the road I wandered around a little bit and found a nice overlook of Grizzly Gulch. This view brought back memories of the one time I drove to Grizzly Lake and needed to use my winch to make it up there. The overlook area was connected to the ridge of nearby Chrysolite Mountain which looked like a fun climb to the summit, but the weather wasn’t looking too great at this time or I might have tried it. Thankfully, the smoke was finally starting to clear out a little bit as the afternoon clouds and storms moved in, so I was able to get a good view of the surrounding peaks.

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