27 March 2017

Stardate 2016.236

After one-night of snow and freeze, yellow aspen leaves become history.

A Few Elk Summits

It could be argued that much of my life has been lived in a cyclic fashion; especially extracurricular activities. I enjoy high mountain adventure, road and mountain biking and canyoneering. I'm currently at a crossroad of leaning more toward mountaineering once again. Thinking about Colorado's high mountain thin, cool-air gives me warm fuzzies all over. Go ahead — roll your eyes.

Colorado's sprawling San Juan Mountains are my favorite range of sub-ranges. Double fuzzies are doled out for the San Juans. I'll leave the San Juans for down the road. Arguably my second favorite range is the Elk Range. The Elks are home to seven Fourteeners (six if you're adamant about the 300-foot rule; i.e., there must be at least 300 feet of elevation difference between adjacent peaks to be an "official' 14er). I'm not quite that anal.

I climbed the Elk 14ers in the 1990s and wouldn't mind revisiting some of the more isolated areas of the Maroon Bells — Snowmass Wilderness. Exquisitely beautiful landscapes and often horribly terrifying loose rock is to be found here.

A north-to-south stretching range, the Elk 14ers north to south are:
Capitol Peak (14,130 ft, rank 29)
Snowmass Mountain (14,092 ft, rank 31)
North Maroon Peak (14,014 ft, soft rank — it doesn't meet 300-foot rule)
Maroon Peak (South Maroon, 14,156 ft, rank 24)
Pyramid Peak (14,018 ft, rank 47)
Castle Peak (14,265 ft, rank 12)
Conundrum Peak (14,060 ft, rank 47 — doesn't meet 300-ft rule)

Below is a northerly view of Snowmass and Capitol from the summit of North Maroon.

The next pic is looking down the south ridge of South Maroon from the summit.

The view of Snowmass and Capitol from the summit of South Maroon is magical.

Yes, there is a loose, intricate, and time-consuming route up the South Ridge to South Maroon's summit.

In the next pic, the view is of Pyramid's intricate northwest face.

Below, we were watching morning sun-hit on the Bells, Snowmass and Capitol from Pyramid's summit.

That's it for now. Sorry I don't appear to have summit shots from Snowmass, Capitol, Castle or Conundrum in a digital format. Yet.


23 March 2017

Stardate 2017.225

Colorado Trail Segment 1 — Out and Back
Prepping for the Summer and Ride the Rockies

I had not ridden into the heart of Segment 1 of the Colorado Trail (CT) for quite some time. I had a Tuesday off and decided to give it whirl. I write about the ride up Waterton Canyon to upper Lenny's Bench all the time. Beyond Lenny's exists an entirely different animal. Yes, lots of hike-a-bike down into and up out of aptly named Bear Creek; followed by medieval sections of forest heavy in haunting spirit, a siren if you will.

Segment 1 of the CT is 16.8 miles in length (Kassler start) with an elevation gain of 2,830 feet to the 7,517-foot high point at mile 12.6. I didn't start in Kassler and rode 15.2 miles to the high point. I turned back at the high point. A handful of photos follow — enjoy!

The first 6.7 miles of dirt road parallel the South Platte River, and the road is a service access road for Denver Water. The road also is the roadbed used by the Denver, South Park and Pacific Railroad, built in 1877.

It's time for some trail.

I'm about to begin the big drop down to Bear Creek from upper Lenny's.

After the decent to Bear Creek, it's time to climb the other side on ball bearing rock.

There was old ice that should be covered by new snow upon reading this post.

Bring on the singletrack. The most difficult climbing was now behind me.

Cathedral Spires (8,520 ft) rise to the west. Yes, there are spires there. The area is closed to rock climbing in the spring for raptor, including Peregrine falcon, nesting.

'Tis the wind season and its aftermath.

This pic kind of shows how large some rock steps were. Upper center is a patch of ice.

This is the flowy descent down into the bowels of Bear Creek.

Stay tuned for more lizarding...


16 March 2017

Stardate 2017.205

It's Baa'aaack

Hi all! Well, the white stuff returned. South aspects melted, and north aspects shivered. Better yet, there was no ice layer under the snow, so it was relatively easy to ride. For the most part I was able to stay on top of the snow, which was a tad packed from previous use.

A couple inches of snow remain in the shady aspects.

The retreat from upper Lenny's Bench begins. The tree roots were a bit wet and hazardous going down.

Snowcatcher and I made the lottery for 2017 Ride the Rockies. The blog docket will be more active.

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