Posts Tagged ‘Telluride’

Mountaineering – Wilson Peak (14,017 ft)

Sunday, August 3rd, 2014

Success on Wilson Peak
Clare, Mark, and Seth on the summit of Wilson Peak

Clare Scrambling on Wilson to Gladstone Ridge
Scrambling on the North Ridge of Wilson Peak. Gladstone and Mt. Wilson are behind me.

After climbing Dallas Peak, Seth, Mark, and I were hungry for more rock scrambling. There are so many mountains in the San Juan Range, one could spend hours deliberating…

However, having done Gladstone less than a week prior, and spending a couple days staring at Wilson Peak from the south side, I proposed we do Wilson Peak. Lucky for me, the guys were on board!

Strategically, by bagging Wilson Peak now, the next time I was in the area I could focus on El Diente and Mt. Wilson without having to cram all three peaks into one long weekend.


Mountaineering – Dallas Peak (13,809 ft)

Saturday, August 2nd, 2014

Blue Lake and Mt. Sneffels Panorama from Dallas Peak
Blue Lake and Mt. Sneffels Panorama From North Side of Dallas Peak

Fortunately, it did not rain over the course of the night. Maybe we would have dry 5th class climbing!

Dallas Peak Topo Map With Waypoints
Our Route with Waypoints

At 4am, Uwe made the rounds, making sure everybody was awake. In complete darkness, I emerged from the tent. Everybody was ready and excited. Would this be our lucky day?


Mountaineering – Backpack To Base of Dallas Peak

Friday, August 1st, 2014

High Camp Below Dallas Peak at 11,340 ft
My Cozy Campsite, at 11,340 ft

Dallas Peak Shrouded in Clouds
View of Dallas Peak from Camp

I am a planner. I spend countless hours pouring over details; analyzing and collecting data about mountains. Executing a carefully planned trip to the point of success is a thrill like none other!

However, this summer, I missed an opportunity, big-time!

I was in Ouray and Telluride 7/23-7/27. Then, I drove home to Denver. Five days later, I returned to the San Juans! Why didn’t I just *stay down there*? To suffer an extra 16 hours driving in the car; when I could have been climbing mountains instead…HOW could I miss something so obvious???


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?