Posts Tagged ‘Backpacking’

Mountaineering – Gladstone Peak (13,913 ft)

Saturday, July 26th, 2014

Gladstone Peak from Base of Wilson Peak
Gladstone Peak taunting us as we stand near the base of Wilson Peak.

Upper Bilk Basin Lake at 12,060 ft
The Unnamed Lake at 12,060 ft and the view of Lizards Head

After a serene evening in Upper Bilk Basin, we awoke to sky full of stars. It was a good sign. Who knows, maybe it would be a clear day. I thought we had a really good chance for the summit, since we were only a couple miles away.

We arrived at the unnamed lake, at 12,060 ft at 6am. The lighting was flat and so the view of Gladstone and Wilson Peak was fuzzy. We headed up to the obvious saddle between Gladstone and Wilson Peak, getting suckered by some cairns.

Then, as we neared the base of Wilson, we realized we were too far from Gladstone. We were hoping to hit the ridge only 0.5 miles from the summit of Gladstone…and now we were about a mile away!

Oh no! My heart sunk. We had wasted quite a bit of time. We looked at the long ridge separating us from our destination and it just looked icky. Rather than take a chance traversing the entire ridge, we descended back to the lake to try again. Maybe in the brightness of full sun, we’d see the proper route.

Gladstone and Wilson Peaks from Lake at 12,060 ft
Panorama taken from the Lake, showing Gladstone Peak on the left and Wilson Peak on the right!


Mountaineering – Backpack Into Bilk Basin

Saturday, July 26th, 2014

Sunshine Mesa Trailhead - Apres Gladstone Peak
Clare, Meredith, and Helen at the Sunshine Mesa Trailhead

After climbing Teakettle Mountain on Thursday, I found myself in an enviable position. I was in the San Juan Mountains, at the beginning of a weekend, with a reasonable weather window in the near future…Time to climb some more mountains! Giddyup!

Approaching the Bilk Creek Crossing
Lucky for me, Helen and Meredith were thinking the same thing…and before we knew it, the three of us were on our way to Telluride. More specifically, heading to the Sunshine Mesa Trailhead for a backpack into Bilk Basin.

Upper Bilk Basin Camping - Clare's Spot
Would the good weather hold? Would we have the energy, after Teakettle? Would we be thwarted by the treacherous, unsettled chosspile of a mountain that some refer to as Sadstone?

The litany of potential failings raced through my mind as we trundled up Sunshine Mesa road. The road was muddy, steep, and slick. Was this a forbearance of things to come?


Mountaineering – Ice Mountain & North Apostle

Saturday, August 3rd, 2013

The Apostles In Summer
The Apostles

Ice Mountain Summit (13,951 ft)
Ice Mountain Champions

North Apostle From Ice Mountain
The Ridge to North Apostle from Ice Mountain and the 14’er Huron in the Background

Doug on the Summit of North Apostle
Doug enjoying the view of Huron (behind him) from North Apostle.

Doug and I left Denver mid afternoon on Friday, drove to the Apostles trail head, backpacked in a few miles, and camped above 11,000 ft. We woke up at 4:30am, climbed Ice Mountain and North Apostle, packed up camp, and hiked back to the trail head (in hail & rain), and drove back to Denver. A most excellent 24+ hours!


Mountaineering – Mt. Bierstadt, Northeast Face Via Abyss Lake

Saturday, July 20th, 2013

Mt. Bierstadt USGS Summit Marker

Climbergirl on Summit of Mt. Bierstadt (14,060 ft)

Every weekend, there are hundreds of people summitting Mt. Bierstadt via the standard West Slopes, from Guanella Pass. I was purposely putting off climbing Mt. Bierstadt because of my dislike for encountering hoards of people in the wilderness. Back in 2008, I had climbed Mt. Evans via the 2nd Apron and that was super fun…until I got to the summit and encountered the masses.

Flexing Our Muscles Below the Sawtooth

In talking with Erin about this, she suggested we overnight at Abyss Lake and climb Mt. Bierstadt from the Northeast side. We talked about doing the Sawtooth over to Evans, while we were there, as it looked like a bunch of fun.

Doing Mt. Bierstadt via Abyss Lake, turns the experience into an overnight backpack, which adds a bit of adventure and a great deal of mileage. It was 23.4 miles round trip with about 4,600 ft of elevation gain.


Pigeon and Turret Peaks, San Juan Mountains, Day 1

Thursday, August 9th, 2012

Clare Riding the Rails
Clare the Trip Leader Ensuring All Aboard!

Big Smiles Aboard the Train
Erin Riding the Narrow Gauge

Tom On His Way to Ruby Creek Basin
Tom Leading the Pack into Ruby Lake Basin

As part of the CMC Centennial Celebration, I led a trip into Ruby Lake basin to climb Pigeon and Turret Peaks. Most people access these reclusive peaks by riding the Durango and Silverton narrow gauge train to the Needleton station which is the trailhead for Chicago Basin, Needle Creek Drainage, Ruby Lake Basin, and Noname Creek.

I was very excited to be taking Linda & Tom, Georgia, Jeffrey, Steve, Nancy, and Erin into this secluded and remote location. Steve was coming from the East Coast, but had spent several weeks in Estes Park acclimatizing. Jeffrey was coming from Telluride and participated in one of my trail runs as preparation. Erin had been hiking and climbing with me all summer. Everybody else had participated in the Tenmile Peak trip, so I knew we had what it takes to do the climb. The question was, would we prevail with weather and route finding?