Aug 7 2012

Paradise Divide

Saturday & Sunday, July 28-29, 2012

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


Jul 30 2012

Grays & Torreys Peaks

Saturday, July 21, 2012

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


Jul 3 2012

Uncompahgre Peak

Saturday, June 30, 2012

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


Nov 16 2011

Mount Garfield

Monday, October 17, 2011

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


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.