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Tag: west elks

Beckwith Pass

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Since I’ve spent the past two weekends visiting the San Juan Mountains near Ouray, Diane and I decided to make our way over to Kebler Pass today for a little hiking in the West Elk Mountains near Crested Butte. We started just outside of the Lost Lake Slough campground and hiked up the gentle trail to Beckwith Pass, which is a low pass between East Beckwith Mountain (12,432) and the Antracite Range. While the trail never broke 10,000 feet of elevation, there were plenty of clearings that offered great views of Ruby Peak (12,644) and Mount Owen (13,058) in the Ruby Range all the way to Marcellina Mountain (11,348) and The Raggeds. I wasn’t sure what to expect with this trail but the scenery was much better than I had anticipated, plus the wildflowers were just starting to bloom. We will definitely be back to check out some of the other trails in this area, especially in the fall when the colors are changing.

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Castle & Conundrum

Friday & Saturday, August 14-15, 2015

I had originally planned to climb Castle and Conundrum Peaks last Sunday, but after getting a taste of altitude sickness for the first time on Saturday evening I had to cancel those plans and head home. Hoping that it was a one time thing, I decided to go back again this weekend and try again. I left after work on Friday afternoon and drove right to the trailhead with only one quick stop at Grind in Glenwood Springs for dinner. I wanted to camp lower on the Pearl Pass Road this time to try and prevent any issues with altitude sickness but found that all the designated sites were already taken when I drove by around 6:30pm. I kept driving up into Montezuma Basin hoping to find someplace lower to camp, but everything I passed was already occupied, even the spot I had setup camp at last weekend. Finally, I found a nice flat spot just below the Montezuma Mine at 12,300 and setup camp for the night. It was higher than I wanted to camp this time, but I really didn’t have any other options.

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Ute Trail

Sunday, February 8, 2015

After spending yesterday in Utah I decided to try hiking some new trails closer to home today. While I have been to the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park a number of times, I realized that I have completely neglected the Gunnison Gorge National Conservation Area just downstream. That sounded like a nice place to hike today, especially since I have been talking to my friend Jackson about running that stretch of the Gunnison River in the future. My original plan for the day was to start out by hiking down the Chukar Trail. This is a short one mile trail that descends 560 feet to the main boat put-in to run this stretch of the river. If you plan to run this section by boat, you either need to carry your gear down this trail or you can hire a company to have it packed down by mule.

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Fall Colors in the Elk Mountains

Fall Colors 2014
Saturday & Sunday, September 27-28, 2014

Since we had seen some early fall colors in the San Juan Mountains last weekend, we decided to head over into the Elk Mountains this time to check on the fall colors there for my annual Fall Colors weekend. I planned to visit a few locations I have been to before and then try out a few new ones. We left early Saturday and took a late morning drive along Kebler Pass and over Ohio Pass before turning around and heading back out the same way. We then drove over McClure Pass and found a campsite along Prince Creek near Carbondale before continuing up along Capitol Creek to catch the sunset over Capitol Peak (14,130 feet).

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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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