Aug 7 2012

Paradise Divide

Saturday & Sunday, July 28-29, 2012

The Original Trip Report on ADVENTR.CO

On Saturday morning, Amanda and I took a leisurely drive over Kebler Pass to spend a nice and relaxed weekend in the Elk Mountains just outside of Crested Butte.

On our way, I stopped a few times along Kebler Pass to take photos of the many aspen trees found here.


Aspen Chaos by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

A view along Kebler Pass Road. It’s been a few years since I came this way to photograph the fall colors, so I think I might need to return again in a few months…


Kebler Pass Road by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

After reaching Crested Butte, we continued through town and then followed the Slate River up to the Paradise Divide. This was where we were planning on camping, so we found a spot and setup our tent before the afternoon storms started. We had a great view from camp!


Paradise Camp by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

After setting up camp, we took our time and drove down into Paradise Basin and then continued over Schofield Pass and then to Gothic. When we made it back to Crested Butte we stopped at The Brick Over Pizzeria for an early dinner and then drove back up to camp to relax for the evening.

As we drove back up Paradise Basin, I stopped for a photo of the dramatic light on Mount Baldy.


Paradise Basin by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

There were a lot of clouds in the sky blocking the light at sunset, but some light did manage to peek through for a few minutes…and I was there waiting to catch it.


Mount Baldy Reflection by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

A closer look at the beautiful light striking Mount Baldy.


Mount Baldy by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

While waiting to see if the sun would make another appearance, this rainbow appeared over the Slate River Valley, and I was able to catch it’s reflection in the pond.


Rainbow Reflection by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Here’s another Mount Baldy reflection I took before hiking away from the small pond for the evening.


Another Reflection by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr
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Jul 30 2012

Grays & Torreys Peaks

Saturday, July 21, 2012

The Original Trip Report on ADVENTR.CO

I left work at 11:00am on Friday, finished loading up the Jeep and made my way east on I-70 to the Front Range. One of my personal goals for the year was to hike to the top of three 14ers, so I decided to try and hike the Grays Peak and Torreys Peak combo to knock two more off of my list. I made it to the Stevens Gulch trailhead around 3:00pm and found a nice campsite nearby. Had I arrived later in the evening, I doubt I would have been able to find a nice campsite right near the trail. There were a few sprinkles of rain in the afternoon, but they only lasted for a short time. I spent much of the evening reading and relaxing. The sky stayed overcast until I went to bed around 9:00pm, so I didn’t even bother taking any photos around sunset.

My campsite with a nice view in Stevens Gulch. Grays Peak is visible in the distance.


Stevens Gulch Camp by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

My alarm woke me up bright and early at 4:00am on Saturday morning. After having a quick breakfast of oatmeal and getting my pack ready for the hike, I was on the trail at 4:30. I started the hike up Stevens Gulch under a canopy of stars with the silhouettes of the surrounding mountains just barely visible. There were a few other people on the trail at this time, but they were pretty far ahead of me, so I was by myself for a while. It was nice, especially since I knew the trail would be packed full of people in a few short hours. The stars soon faded as the dawn light arrived. As I was nearing the base of Grays and Torreys I was treated to the first light of the day striking both peaks as the sun was just rising in the east. I took a few photos of the peaks glowing orange before starting my climb up to the top of Grays Peak.

Just as the sun started to rise, it gave Torreys Peak a purplish glow for less than a minute. Luckily my camera was handy.


Early Torreys by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Then the mountains in front of me were bathed in amazing warm light. It was an incredible sight and made me wish I had dragged my heavy DSLR along with me. The mountain lit up in this photo is Torreys Peak.


Torreys Sunrise by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Here’s a view with Grays Peak on the left and Torreys Peak on the right. The angle and location of this photo makes Torreys look much higher, but Grays is actually three feet taller.


Sunrise Hike by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Another view of Torreys Peak from further along the trail as the warm light has started to fade.


Cairn & Torreys by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

When I reached the summit of Grays Peak there were only 4 others up there, which was nice since I would notice later in the day that were a lot more people up there. Grays Peak, at 14,270 feet, is the highest point on the Continental Divide in the United States and is also the highest mountain in the Front Range.

There were only four people on the summit of Grays Peak when I arrived. As I hiked down later, I would look up here and see a much larger crowd.


Grays Summit by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

The view from Grays summit over Chihuahua Gulch and Ruby Mountain towards Peru Creek.


Chihuahua Gulch by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr
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Jul 3 2012

Uncompahgre Peak

Saturday, June 30, 2012

The Original Trip Report on ADVENTR.CO

At 14,309 feet, Uncompahgre Peak is the highest point in the San Juan Mountains and the 6th highest in Colorado. It was also our destination this morning.

After work on Friday, Jackson and I loaded up my Jeep and headed south to the San Juan’s. We made a quick stop for dinner in Montrose and then we were soon passing through Ouray and turning off the highway on the rough road following the Uncompahgre River and Mineral Creek. Next we found ourselves driving at just under 13,000 feet as we crossed Engineer Pass and dropped back down along Henson Creek. When we reached the rough road that follows Nellie Creek we turned onto it and climbed a few thousand feet again until we had reached the boundary for the Uncompahgre Wilderness area and the trailhead to Uncompahgre Peak. We quickly setup camp in what was left of the twilight and got to bed early.

Bright and early on Saturday morning we were up and having a quick breakfast before starting the hike. As we entered the wilderness our surroundings were still in the shadows, but occasionally we would catch a glimpse of Uncompahgre Peak lit up with a golden early morning light. Next time I will have to get an earlier start so I can take a few photos of that (and also bring along my DSLR).

Uncompahgre Peak lit up with golden light on a cloudless morning.


Uncompahgre Sunrise by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Uncompahgre Peak…that way!


Intersection by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Easy trail through the alpine tundra.


Path to Uncompahgre Peak by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

This butterfly was warming up in the sunlight along the trail.


Sunning Butterfly by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

After gaining the main ridge around 13,000 feet we followed it towards the peak.


Ridge to the Summit by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

This marmot was sitting in the sun while the rocks behind were in the shade.


Marmot in the Sun by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Looking down on the trail we just ascended with a cool-looking unnamed peak in the background.


Unnamed Peak Below by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Starting up the most difficult section of the trail. Just some Class 2 scrambling required.


Rocky Area by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Finally we reached the summit. Jackson taking photos in the background.


The Summit by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Jackson on the summit. We couldn’t see the Grand Mesa because of smoke from the wildfires on the horizon.


Jackson on Uncompahgre by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr
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Nov 16 2011

Mount Garfield

Monday, October 17, 2011

The Original Trip Report on ADVENTR.CO

Living in Grand Junction, I see Mount Garfield towering above the Grand Valley almost every day. Every now and then I think to myself that I should finally hike up to the summit, but since I usually seem to spend most of my time exploring Southern Utah, I always put it off. Finally, I decided to stop putting it off and set a date to hike it before the days got too short this year. My friend Jackson was supposed to join me on this hike, but he got sick and ended up not going, so I did the hike alone. Right after work I headed straight to the trailhead and got started on the climb. I managed to summit just before sunset and made it back down to the Jeep just before I would have needed to get out my headlamp. It certainly was a climb, but it was also a nice hike that’s close to home.

A warning at the beginning of the trail. This sign is actually wrong, the hike is shorter than 2 miles. There is a lot of quick elevation gain on this trail.


Mount Garfield Trail by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

The start of the climbing.


The Beginning by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

The trail continues to climb this ridge quickly.


Follow the Ridge by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Looking back towards the Grand Mesa.


The Mesa by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

The view back down to the trailhead.


Trail Below by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

A nice view over Palisade as I climb higher.


Palisade View by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

The trail does level off a few times. It’s a nice break from the constant climbing.


Flat Trail by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr


Boulder Field by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr


Looking Back by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

The trail follows the base of the cliff here.


Along the Cliff by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

View of the Book Cliffs west of Mount Garfield.


Book Cliffs West by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

The view of the summit of Mount Garfield. There is sometimes an American Flag flying here, but not this time.


Mount Garfield Summit by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

View of the Grand Mesa over Palisade from the top.


Palisade by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

I was treated to the orange glow from the sunset on the Book Cliffs as I started the hike back down from the summit and I finished up in the last of the twilight.


I-70 Sunset by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

>> Mount Garfield Photo Gallery


Aug 6 2011

Mount Sneffels

Saturday, August 6, 2011

 

This morning I set out with my friend Jackson to climb my second 14er (after climbing Handies Peak last year). We got a very early start and drove to the upper trailhead in Yankee Boy Basin. Unfortunately, about halfway up, Jackson started not feeling so well and had to turn around. I continued on by myself to the summit (well, there were plenty of other people on the trail with me). There were a few sections that scared me a bit, but I was able to face my fears and continue to the top…..and then make it back down again. It was a beautiful day and I had a great time and am glad I was able to accomplish this goal I set for myself this year 🙂

 

Gilpin Peak
Gilpin Peak

A view of Gilpin Peak from the trail in the early morning light.

 

Start of the Climb
Start of the Climb

An early and easy section of the trail.

 

Hiking Towards the Spires
Hiking Towards the Spires

View towards Blue Lakes Pass from the trail.

 

Blue Lakes Pass
Blue Lakes Pass

Now a view down on Blue Lakes Pass from the top of the first chute I had to climb.

 

The Upper Chute
The Upper Chute

Looking up at the second chute I needed to climb up from the saddle.

 

Climb Through the Snow
Climb Through the Snow

Looking back down through the section of snow I had to climb up. It was easier than it looked to get up, but I certainly didn’t want to go back down this way. Luckily, I didn’t have to since I followed a group back down a different way.

 

People on the Summit
People on the Summit

Looking up the final climb to the summit….plenty of people up there.

 

The Blue Lakes
The Blue Lakes

View from the summit down on the Blue Lakes.

 

At the Summit
At the Summit

Me at the summit.

 

Yankee Boy Basin
Yankee Boy Basin

A view down into Yankee Boy Basin on my way back down.