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.


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