Category Archives: Colorado Adventures

Mount Silverheels Colorado

Mount Silverheels 13,822′ – Trip Report

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Downloads: GPX File | KMZ File for Google Earth Mount Silverheels checks in as Colorado’s 96th tallest ranked summit. At 13,822’, it’s technically a Front Range mountain, but as a hike, it’s more like a classic Sawatch Range Peak: long, gentle, slopes that top out on a rounded summit with spectacular views. Silverheels is somewhat tucked away, despite its hulking presence from popular vantages points such as Boreas Pass. As a result, there are no established hiking trails to the top. What it lacks in popularity it makes up for…

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Little Bear Peak, Colorado.

Little Bear Peak – Trip Report – Colorado 14ers

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Ah, Little Bear Peak, so we meet again. This 14,037’ summit in the Sangre de Cristo Range has a well-earned reputation as having the most difficult standard route out of all of the 58 recognized 14ers in Colorado. As a fellow climber remarked on her way off the mountain, “It’s a beast!”.   This is true. Little Bear is a beast. Climbers have two options for reaching the summit. A summer climb involves class 4 scrambling on very loose and unreliable rock, especially by the standard Southwest Face / West…

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Sugarloaf Mountain Boulder Colorado.

Trials of Life, Backyard Edition

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I never know who to root for in those predator / prey nature specials. Usually, the narrative is set up so that if you’re introduced to the lion first, you root for the lion. If it’s the gazelle, well then you’re hoping it speeds away to live another day. In real life, the roles of hero and villain are more subjective. Now that we have a small piece of genuine wilderness in the Boulder foothills, we have an unedited look at the trials of life. I’ve lived in Colorado 17…

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Daruma doll in Colorado. What a creep!

Best Summit Hikes: Denver to Vail Now Out!

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To order a copy of my new guidebook Best Summit Hikes: Denver to Vail please follow the link to Amazon! Only $9.99! And please feel free to leave feedback on Amazon – thanks, thanks, thanks! Having a book published is a unique experience. For months or even years, it’s your raison d’être, a project that requires focus, creativity, and in my case, a lot of time outdoors. Then there’s the photography, the map making, the fact checking, and regulations. And finally, back and forth with editors, designers, and then… radio silence. Life…

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Bard Creek Trail Colorado

Colorado’s Ghost Trails

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A long-forgotten hiking trail became the catalyst for my new book project. The as-of-yet unnamed guidebook looks at the excellent mountain hikes that are close to the I-70 corridor between Denver and Vail. Its inspiration was a faint but well-defined trail that etherealized in the forests at the foot of Bard Peak. In the past five years, I’ve spent a lot of time exploring the area east of Herman Gulch (Watrous Gulch / Bard Creek Trail). While the peaks such as Mount Parnassus and Wood Mountain are the stars of…

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Mammoth Reservoir Winter

Bob’s Creepy Cabin via Nebraska Hill

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To get the most out of an adventure, it’s sometimes best to forego exhaustive research and simply head into the unknown. This philosophy has applied to my current quest to summit Nebraska Hill, an 11,534 ft. peak that registers on exactly nobody’s radar when it comes to Colorado’s mountains. It’s an easy enough peak to reach in the summer: simply drive up a 4×4 road, park, get out and walk over a flat plateau to its non-descript summit. In the winter however, it’s a trickier nut to crack. I recruited…

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Wichita State UNiversity plane crash by James Dziezynski

Wichita State Plane Wreck & Mount Bethel – Dry Gulch

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Distance to Plane Wreck: 1.2 miles; 600 vertical feet Distance to Mount Bethel / Snow Fences: 2.9 miles / 2,280 vertical feet  Over the years, I’ve visited quite a few plane wreck sites in Colorado. None may be as fascinating or sobering as the wreckage of the 1970 Wichita State University crash. As the crow flies, the debris field is less 0.2 miles from I-70. The hike along an unmarked (but easy to find) trail is about a mile and the area is still densely littered with twisted metal. Because…

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Sawtooth ridge traverse

Sawtooth Ridge Traverse – Colorado

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It’s surprising that in all my years in Colorado, I hadn’t gotten around to doing the Sawtooth Traverse. This classic route is a class 3 scramble between the 14,060 ft. summit of Mount Bierstadt and the far west shoulder of 14,264 ft. Mount Evans. The Sawtooth is usually climbed south to north, starting at Mount Bierstadt. The exit from the Sawtooth offers several options: traverse 1.2 miles over Mount Evans (and its sub-peak, 14,256 ft. West Evans), hike 0.7 miles to the 13,842 ft. top of Mount Spaulding or simply…

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BAld Mountain summit

Bald Mountain via Boreas Pass from Breckenridge

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There are 27 mountains in Colorado bearing the official name “Bald Mountain”; the 13,684 ft. one is their king. As the highest of the Balds, its also likely the baldest — when hiked from Boreas Pass, there is only a smattering of trees before breaking into alpine tundra. Despite easy trailhead access and proximity to Breckenridge, not many people visit its lofty summit — which is a shame, because the views are among the best I’ve seen in Colorado. Maybe it’s the mundane and uninspiring name that keeps people from…

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Silver PLume Mountain

Silver Plume Mountain via 730 Mine Trail

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Directions to 730 Mine Trailhead: From I-70, take exit 226 to Silver Plume. Since most people will be coming from Denver on west bound I-70, I’ll give the directions from that point of view (it’s easy enough to apply them to the east bound exit). At the end of the exit ramp take a right towards main street. Note that the paved road you see immediately off the exit is NOT Main Street! Go down a block on this road to the intersection with Main Street, a dirt road. Take a…

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What views!

Republican Mountain & Sherman Mountain – Colorado Trip Report

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Ever since Fremont and I climbed Bard Peak as part of our Watrous Gulch adventure, I’ve had my eye on seldom-visited Republican Mountain. Republican is one of a trio of lower elevation summits southeast from the small town of Empire, Colorado (the others being 12,287 ft. Sherman Mountain and 12,477 ft. Silver Plume Mountain). There wasn’t much information on hiking this peak, which meant it was either a lousy summit or people just didn’t go there. Luckily, it turns out Republican is a fine hike and a worthy “secret” summit. The approach…

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Whale Peak summit ridge

Whale Peak 13,078 ft. Trip Report

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Editor’s note: I’ve done my best to avoid every corny “whale” pun I could think of. I hope you find the pictures ok, I’d hate to have to hump back up there in these conditions. Summit Elevation: 13,078 ft. Round Trip Distance: 6.8 miles (Gibson Lake trailhead route) Difficulty: Moderate. Off-trail hiking with a few steep, non-exposed sections Hiking Time: 5 – 7 hours Directions: Take U.S. 285 to Park County Road 60 (Hall Valley Road). This turn off is 4.3 miles north of Kenosha Pass and 3 miles south…

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