Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Quandary Peak 2017

Route Name: East Ridge
Trailhead Elevation: 10,850 ft.
Summit Elevation: 14,265 ft.
Distance: 7.13 mi.
Elevation Gain: 3,396 ft.
Start Time: 8:57am
Summit Time: 10:36am (5 minutes on top)
End Time: 11:51am

Trip Report:

My wife and I were fortunate to have an 8pm flight out of Denver to head home which meant that on our last day out in Colorado we actually had time to go out and do something.  Of course, for me, this meant hiking and climbing.  I had initially been looking at a large hike if the time would allow it.  One of my leading thoughts was to attempt Torreys Peak from Loveland Pass.  I didn't have 4WD and the prospect of getting into the trailhead mess in Stevens Gulch just wasn't enticing so the standard routes weren't good.  From Loveland Pass though I could be dropped off, hike the ridge to Torreys, possibly on to Grays, and then down to the standard route trailhead.  I would like then trail run the road out and then be picked up.  It was ambitious, but, it would need an early start.  Today didn't quite work out that way.  Thus Quandary rose to the front as an option.  I had done this in 2014 where I went all in for a speed ascent and it went well.  Today's plan was to help pack up the family camp in the Buena Vista area by 8am, drive over to the Quandary trailhead, get dropped off, and then hike til noon.  

Monday, July 24, 2017

Huron Peak 2017

Route Name: Northwest Slopes
Trailhead Elevation: 10,567 ft.
Summit Elevation: 14,003 ft.
Distance: 6.84 mi.
Elevation Gain: 3,407 ft.
Start Time: 6:28am
Summit Time: 9:18am (46 minutes on top)
End Time: 11:58am

Trip Report:
There is arguably no other 14er in Colorado with better summit views than Huron Peak.  You can see all the Collegiate Peaks, the Elks, and beautiful nearby 13ers like Ice Mountain and the Apostles.  You also really have no interruptive views of cities or any other civilization other than some faint views of mountain roads.  When I was on Huron in 2009 with my brother we spent almost 40 minutes on the summit.  Today I wished to go for the same.   Earlier in our vacation I had only taken 2 minutes on Uncompahgre's summit because of impending storms and the need to get my boys down the mountain.  Just yesterday on Princeton I only took 10 minutes because of my habitual need to keep moving, and some imposing clouds.  Today, I was hoping for a great Huron summit stay.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Mt. Princeton 2017

Route Name: East Slopes
Trailhead Elevation: 10,884 ft.
Summit Elevation: 14,197 ft.
Distance: 7.99 mi.
Elevation Gain: 3,295 ft.
Start Time: 6:10am
Summit Time: 10:52am (14 minutes on top)
End Time: 2:32pm

Trip Report:
For my father and I, many fresh memories were existent of Princeton having been up there just 9 years ago.  I usually describe it with one accurate phrase "a big pile of rocks".  We were staying in the Buena Vista area and this appeared to be a good choice to take my young boys on while also taking advantage of my Dad's 4WD truck to cut the distance down.  We know this isn't the easiest of the 14ers in the area, but with the 4WD we could make it close enough.  My youngest son had a rough experience on Uncompahgre and we could see he wasn't ready for another hike so we left him at home.  My older two accompanied us on this climb and did really well.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

CDT: Cottonwood Pass to UN12792

Route Name: Continental Divide Trail / Colorado Trail
Cottonwood Pass Elevation: 12,196 ft.
High Elevation: 12,792 ft.
Distance: 4.42 mi.
Elevation Gain: 1,236 ft.
Start Time: 9:08am
Summit Time: 10:45am (4 minutes on top)
End Time: 12:08pm

Trip Report:
On this day we were given the opportunity to make hiking plans with my Aunt and Uncle who live out in Colorado.  Initially they had suggested a peak reachable from Monarch Pass but the weather in that area was less than favorable.  This steered us toward a hike from Cottonwood Pass, which with slightly better weather report, and a shorter drive, seemed the more reasonable choice.  We made plans to meet at the pass at 9am and to hike out 2 miles along the Continental Divide Trail/Colorado Trail to an Unnamed summit at 12,792 feet.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Hartman Rocks Trail Run

Looking for a trail run near our campground in Gunnison, I noticed that I would be able to run some roads just to the south and pickup what looked like a trail system. As I researched this further I realized this was a very organized trail system called Hartman Rocks Recreation Area. This seemed to be the gold mine I was looking for. As I got going this morning I did one final look at things and realized a quick drive down the Airport road from the Gunnison KOA where we stayed would be put me at the main base area trailhead. So I drove on over.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Uncompahgre Peak 2017

Route Name: South Ridge
Trailhead Elevation: 11,415 ft.
Summit Elevation: 14,309 ft.
Distance: 8.02 mi.
Elevation Gain: 3,200 ft.
Start Time: 6:46am
Summit Time: 11:25am (8 minutes on top)
End Time: 2:20pm

Trip Report:

Since beginning the 14ers in 1991 I have enjoyed in recent years making returns to the hikes done in those early years now so long ago.  Uncompahgre Peak was just my 3rd 14er summit back in 1992.  There are large parts of the hike I don't remember including the beautiful hike into the upper meadows.  I do remember the cliffy plateau nature of the summit area and the precipitous drops off the north side.  Our 1992 hike was especially unique in that we were involved in the rescue of a hiker who had had an accident.  I was hiking with my brother, father and Uncle.  As we approached the summit a hiker came up from behind us.  They had noticed my uncle had a radio antenna sticking out from his pack and asked if we could help.  They had been ascending a steep slope west from one of Uncompahgre's saddles and a girl in their group had an accident. I can't remember if it was a rock falling or if she simply feel and hurt herself.  My uncle helped coordinate via HAM radio with one of the county sheriff's and eventually a helicopter was brought in to help extricate the hurt climber.  We spent quite a lot of time up on the saddle of Uncompahgre that year.

Monday, July 17, 2017

North Vista Trail to Exclamation Point (Black Canyon NP)

Route Name: North Vista Trail
Trailhead Elevation: 7,703 ft.
Distance: 3.06 mi.
Elevation Gain: 321 ft.
Start Time: 4:22pm
Exclamation Point: 5:20pm
End Time: 6:19pm

Trip Report:

For our first afternoon out in Colorado we were looking for a good hike at Black Canyon National Park.  We hadn't been here since 2005 and when we were here last we did some short hiking along the south rim.  Ahead of time I had done some research on the options and the North Vista trail looked intriguing.  I could also see Exclamation Point as a viable turnaround point.  It didn't show up on all maps but just looking at the route on Google Earth I could actually see the bits of trail segment out on the point and so it looked like a go.

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