National Summit Day | Final Peak on the Abrams – Anvil Ridge
Friday – Saturday, August 2-3, 2019
Over the years I’ve viewed the summit of Red Mountain No. 2 from many different vantage points; reflected in Crystal Lake from Ironton Park, along the Jeep road to Corkscrew Pass, while exploring the old mining buildings of the Red Mountain Mining District below, and from the top of many of the surrounding peaks in the area. This weekend I had a concert to go to on Saturday evening so I was looking for a peak to climb that was pretty short and close to home. Since I’d already climbed Red Mountain #1 and Red Mountain #3 I figured it was finally time to finish off the trio. Not only would this be my third and final summit of the Red Mountains, but Red Mountain #2 was also the only peak along the ridge on the east side of the Million Dollar Highway between Abrams Mountain and Anvil Mountain that I had not climbed yet, so it would be nice to finish that ridge, too. This turned out to be a fitting hike for Saturday morning since it was apparently National Summit Day, even though Red Mountain #2 is not a ranked, high or popular peak. Those are my favorite kind!
An imposing view of Abrams Mountain (12,801) which towers over the Million Dollar Highway as you leave Ouray on the way to Red Mountain Pass. I had left after work on Friday and decided to make a few stops along the way to my intended campsite.
It’s been years since I stopped at the overlook of Bear Creek Falls under the highway, but I had some extra time this evening.
Then I stopped and took this photo of Red Mountain Creek on my way to Ironton Park.
Of course, I couldn’t resist visiting the shore of Crystal Lake to get a view of the Red Mountains reflected on the calm water.
Then it was time to drive up the Corkscrew Gulch Road.
There was quite a bit of avalanche debris that had been cleared off to the sides of the road.
There was also a large snow drift along the road that would probably have kept it closed if it hadn’t been plowed.
Looking up to Red Mountain No. 1 (12,592) from Corkscrew Pass.
From the top of the pass there is a good view over to Velocity Basin and Storm Peak (13,487).
Warm light on my Jeep at Corkscrew Pass shortly before sunset.
After sunset I spent the night up at Corkscrew Pass so I could get an early start in the morning without having to drive very far. Unfortunately, I had some trouble falling asleep and laid awake for a while watching distant lightning flashes in the sky to the east. Maybe it’s a good thing that I couldn’t fall asleep, because if I did I would have missed the huge and bright purple fireball meteor that streaked across the sky right above me and left a trail of smoke behind it! I had never seen anything like it before, and I’ve watched quite a few meteor showers over the years. It seemed so close, but maybe that’s because I was at over 12,000 feet? It was definitely an amazing sight to see! Afterwards I did eventually fall asleep and got some rest before sunrise.
I woke up before sunrise on Saturday morning to catch a little alpenglow on the Red Mountains before I started hiking.
Magenta clouds over Hayden Mountain (13,139).
First light on Telluride Peak (13,509) over the ridge I would be traversing in a little while.
Red Mountain No. 2 Sunrise
A morning view of Sultan Mountain and Grand Turk.
The Needle Mountains on the horizon.
In order to get to the summit of Red Mountain #2, I first had to climb a higher point (12,596) along the ridge.
From the highpoint I just had to follow this ridge over to the summit.
It was a fun hike along this ridge.
At the saddle looking up the final climb to the summit.
Here’s a view from near the summit looking back over the ridge to Red Mountain #3 (12,890).
There wasn’t a view into Ironton Park from the actual summit, so I walked a little further to the end of the ridge.
Looking over Dry Gulch to Storm Peak on my hike back.
Clouds were starting to build over the surrounding peaks as I returned to the pass.
After returning to my Jeep I drove down to Cement Creek and Silverton before heading back home. It was a short but fun day in the mountains!