August 26th, 2012
David did a big traverse with us in the Weminuche a month ago and decided he needed some more. For round two we decided to go for 8 days, climb a peak and spend some time in the very remote Ten Mile basin.
Day 1: David and I took the train to Elk park and hiked up the Colorado trail to the beaver ponds at 10′000′.
Day 2: We left the Colorado trail, crossed Elk Creek and headed south into Vestal Basin on the rough climbers trail.
Day 3: Summit day. We got up early and climbed Arrow Peak then headed back down to camp. David upgraded from having “Mad Skills” to having “Crazy Mad Skills” on the climb.
Day 4: We headed back up to the upper bench then traversed over to Vestal lake and over the strenuous Vestal-West Trinity saddle. Then descended to camp at the west side of Balsam Lake in Ten Mile Basin.
Day 5: Rest day at the seldom visited Balsam Lake.
Day 6: We continued the southern trend and hiked up and over the Peak 5/Peak 6 saddle into upper Noname Basin. Then dropped down to the second tier of Noname to camp.
The “Bruce Traverse” is a high alpine traverse that runs from the Vestal/West Trinity saddle down into Ten Mile and then exits Ten Mile at the saddle between Peak 5 and Peak 6. It’s named after a great explorer of the Weminuche.
Day 7: David and I hiked down Noname to a great campsite at the confluence of Noname creek and the Animas River.
Day 8: We finished the hike out along the Animas to Needleton and caught the north bound train to Silverton for lunch. Then caught the bus back to Durango, finishing off a great trip!
The blog post from our first adventure can be found HERE.
David it was great climbing, hiking, talking and joking with you! Game for next summer?
August 10th, 2012
Kevin, Larry and Jerry all came to do a backpacking trip dubbed the ‘Best of the Weminuche’. I have spent a lot of time in the Weminuche Wilderness over the years, and I would have a very hard time coming up with an alternate 5 day backpacking trip that has the combination of great trails, amazing views, multiple basins and superb camping that this trip has. To top off the great trip Kevin, Jerry and I climbed Windom Peak(14,082′) on the last day before running down to catch the train back to Durango.
Thanks for the great trip guys! I hope to see you in the mountains again!
July 27th, 2012
David has been hiking in the Weminuche for years. In fact this was his 9th trip to the area.
Day 1: David and I got dropped off in Cunningham Gulch and hiked up to the Highland Mary Lakes and camped near Verde Lake. A group passed us with two lamas and a baby which is not something you see everyday in the high country. That evening the fish were jumping like crazy in Verde Lake.
Day 2: The next day we walked over the Continental Divide and camped at the beautiful Kite Lake.
Day 3: From Kite Lake we hiked up and over Hunchback Pass(12,492′) and into the Vallecito creek drainage. Then headed west into Stormy Gulch to camp for the night. And as the name implies we got rained on that evening.
Day 4: It’s hard to beat the views in Stormy Gulch with Storm King, Silex and the Guardian to your south. We hike in between Silex and Storm King then in between Peak 8 and Peak 7 to camp at a lake on the south side of Peak 8 for the night.
Day 5: A high traverse then over Jagged pass, put us in the top of Noname Basin. We camped at 12,400′ with spectacular views of Monitor Peak, Peak 13 and Animas Mountain.
Day 6: A short day. We hiked to lower Noname.
Day 7: We hiked the rest of the way down Noname creek to the Animas River then followed the Animas south to Needleton to catch the afternoon train back to Durango.
It was great time hanging out with David! Although it’s hard to have a bad time when you are surrounded by and moving through that kind of terrain. Hope to see you soon David!
July 4th, 2012
Andy and Scott recently joined me on an 8 day Alpine Leadership course.
Day 1: We started out at X-rock where we rock climbed in addition to learning climbing technique, belaying, rappeling, basic anchors and traditional gear placement.
Day 2: We climbed Snowdon via the West Buttress and descended the Northeast Ridge to the Northwest Couloir. All in all a great day where we learned about the basics of short roping and the kiwi coil. That afternoon we drove up to Silverton and hiked into Ice Lake Basin.
Day 3: We woke early and learned about self arresting, and cramponing technique, before climbing Fuller and Vermillion.
Day 4: We started out the day by climbing Golden Horn. We then descended and learned about snow anchors, before heading back to camp and hiking out to the van. Lunch in Silverton, then driving up the pass to camp at the trail head for Vestal Basin.
Day 5: We hiked in to Vestal Basin and set up camp. Then learned about/practiced knot tying, and cravasse rescue techniques.
Day 6: We climbed Vestal Peak via the Wham Ridge. Then learned about navigation in the mountains.
Day 7: We hiked out to the van, and headed back to town to switch out some gear and take a shower.
Day 8: We drove up to Ouray and climbed an apline ridge just south of town called Lightline. Andy and Scott got to practice the skills they had learned throughout the week, anchors, short roping, belaying, rappeling to name a few.
Great trip guys! I hope to climb with you both again in the future!
June 10th, 2012
Robert just came out and joined me in some Fast and Light climbing. I had planned a standard solid itinerary but in quickly became apparent that standard was not what Robert came to Colorado for.
Day 1: We drove up to Andrews Lake and hiked into Snowdon planning to climb it on day 2. We got to our campspot ahead of schedule and decided to go for the summit. On the way down we went over snow school(self arresting, snow anchors, etc.). A full day ahead of scedule we decided to nix the day 3 plan of climbing North Twilight and go rock climbing at X-Rock and East Animas instead. So we packed up and headed down to Andrews Lake to camp for the night.
Day 2: We got up early to drive to Durango and get gear. We were climbing a 2 pitch route at X-rock by 7:30am. A few more laps and it was time to drive across the valley and head up to East Animas. A few more laps and a few trad leads for Robert, and it was time to head to Ouray and get ready for the Snake Couloir on the north side of Sneffles.
Day 3: We were walking away from the car at 5am. The Snake Couloir was in great condition we were on top at 11:15am. Much welcomed glissading down the East Slopes route got us back down to Blaine Basin. From there a short hike and we were back at the car.
All in all it was a great trip that goes to show the more you put in, the more you get out.
Thanks for working hard Robert!
April 12th, 2012
Keith had climbed Snowdon multipule times but had never been up the West Buttress or down the Northwest Ridge. We decided to make a day of it. Keith left Farmington early in the morning and picked me up in Durango on the way North to the mountains. The route was in great condition and the weather was perfect, it’s hard to not have fun with a combo like that. Below are a couple pics from the day. Enjoy!
March 21st, 2012
Julie is training to climb Nun and Kun in Kashmir this summer. Julie came up to Durango and climbed with me in January during an Intro to Mountaineering course. She just returned last week for some more. We started out with two days of ice climbing. Day one in Cascade Canyon going over the basics, and day two in Ouray at the Skylight area and a little in the Ice Park. We then headed up to Snowdon to learn some crevasse rescue, how to ascend a fixed line, team rope travel, make a summit bid, and do some winter camping. On the fifth day we made a summit bid, but turned around part way up because of the avalanche conditions. We hiked back to camp, packed up, and were back in Durango by noon so we switched out gear and went rock climbing at X-Rock for a few hours. The last day we headed back to Cascade Cayon for some more ice climbing, before Julie started the drive back to Flagstaff.
Great climbing with you Julie!
March 11th, 2012
Erin came down from Boulder to learn some skills and gain some experience in the world of winter mountaineering. Since it was only her we tweeked the itinerary to fit her needs. We started out with a half day of ice climbing in Cascade Canyon. Then drove up the pass and hiked into our Engineer camp in the afternoon. The next day was a skills day in which we went over avalanche rescue, snow anchors, self arresting, techniques for walking with crampons, etc. On day three we got up early and climbed Engineer Mountain! We had perfect weather the whole time which makes it hard not to have a good time! Good climbing with you Erin, I hope to climb with you again in the future!
March 11th, 2012
I picked up Chris at the airport in Cody on Wednesday night. On Thursday morning we were climbing ice in South Fork, which is a mecca for ice climbing. Chris and I climbed great multipitch ice for three days. Below are some photos from the trip. I look forward to doing it again next year Chris!
February 22nd, 2012
Over Presidents day weekend we had a great group of people attend an Avy 1 Course. Below are some photos from the last day of the course, taken around Molas Pass.