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Category: Mountaineering

Three Baldy Mountains in the West Elk Wilderness

Friday & Saturday, September 9-10, 2022

This weekend I needed to be home on Sunday to get prepared for an upcoming river trip, but I still wanted to make sure I got out into the mountains for a hike on Saturday morning. I was originally thinking about heading up into the San Juan Mountains somewhere, but the weather forecast for that part of the state wasn’t looking too good, so I had to look elsewhere for a more favorable forecast. After getting a little taste of the West Elk Wilderness on our failed backpacking trip last month, I decided to head back up into the West Elk Mountains this weekend to hike a couple ‘Baldy Mountains’ from the southern end the range. Since Diane and I had hiked though part of the very scenic Mill Creek valley last time, this time I wanted to stay high on the ridges above treeline for more expansive views of the area.

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Rabbit Ears Range: Parkview Mountain Fire Lookout

Fire Lookouts Extravaganza | Thursday, September 1, 2022

After visiting a couple Fire Lookouts in the morning, I made my way back to North Park in the afternoon via the Cache La Poudre River and Cameron Pass and then headed south over Willow Creek Pass. Just on the other side of the pass I drove up the switchbacks of an old mining road that joined up with the Continental Divide Trail on the southern flank of Parkview Mountain, which at 12,296 feet is the highest point in the Rabbit Ears Range. On top of Parkview Mountain is the final Fire Lookout that I planned to visit on this trip and it’s also the second highest lookout in the United States after the one on top of Fairview Peak in the Sawatch Range. I was originally planning to camp near the end of the road and then hike to the summit in the morning, but since there were still three hours until sunset and the weather was looking good, I decided to hike up this evening.

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Medicine Bow Peak in the Snowy Range

Wednesday, August 31, 2022

After spending my first night at the Spruce Mountain Fire Lookout Tower I got up extra early on Wednesday morning so I could drive to the nearby Snowy Range and hike to the summit of Medicine Bow Peak, which at 12,013 feet is the highest peak in this small but spectacular subrange of the Medicine Bow Mountains. After leaving the Fire Tower, I dropped down into the Centennial Valley and then followed the Snowy Range Highway, which is also known as the Great Skyroad, up to the Lewis Lake Trailhead near Libby Flats. As I passed through the small town of Albany, I swear I saw a Ringtail Cat cross the road in front of my Jeep, but it was too dark out for me to be 100% certain. I arrived at Lewis Lake just in time to catch the pre-dawn alpenglow and then a beautiful sunrise, but as I was making my way to the shore of the lake I had to give wide berth to a couple of moose that were grazing right near the trailhead.

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The Crest of the Henry Mountains: Mount Ellen

Henry Mountains Peak Bagging | Friday – Sunday, June 17-19, 2022

After spending the last two weekends on the river, it was time for me to start off my summer season up in the mountains since it’s been getting pretty warm down in the desert. For the past couple of years I have started my mountain season in the La Sal Mountains, but this time I decided to change things up and spend the weekend in the Henry Mountains instead since I haven’t spent any real time in that range for quite some time and I’ve been wanting to get back. This time I invited my friend Jared along, and even though I warned him I would probably be hiking very slow this weekend since I haven’t done much real hiking lately- especially at elevation, he still wanted to come along, so we planned to meet at Wickiup Pass after work on Friday evening.

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Highpoint of the Grand Mesa: Crater Peak

Goodenough Reservoir Peaks: Mount Darline & Mount Hatten
Friday & Saturday, September 24-25, 2021

After spending a few days on the Green River earlier in the week, I would be leaving for a full week of exploration on the Colorado Plateau this upcoming Friday, so this weekend would be my last opportunity to get into the high country for some peak-bagging to finish off the summer season. I needed this to be a quick trip near home so I could be back by Saturday afternoon to start preparing for the upcoming trip to southern Utah next week, so I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to hike to the highest point on the Grand Mesa. Although I have already hiked to the old fire lookout on Leon Peak (11,236), which is the highest point in Mesa County and located on the Grand Mesa, Crater Peak (11,327) in Delta County is actually the highest point on the Grand Mesa.

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