Category Archives: Travel and Adventure

Little Bear Peak, Colorado.

Little Bear Peak – Trip Report – Colorado 14ers

By | Colorado Adventures, Travel and Adventure | No Comments

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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Beautiful wilderness.

Can the Outdoors Industry Save the Outdoors—and Its Own Soul?

By | Philosophy, Travel and Adventure | No Comments

Before you read this article, let’s agree that the marketing wizards who came up with the concept of “power couples” deserve a place on the podium of “worst campaign ideas ever”. Or maybe a seat at the table in one of the lesser rings of hell. More on that later. My friend and colleague Doug Schnitzspahn recently penned a compelling editorial at Elevation Outdoors about the future of the outdoors. It’s a great read and it brings up some difficult truths about the outdoors industry. Honest conversations can be tricky…

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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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Mystic and fremont colorado border collies

Writes of Passage

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This blog has been a little quiet lately. I haven’t had time to write because I’ve been spending all my time writing. It’s a good problem to have. Most of the work has been split between my editorial work over at RootsRated (a great outdoors adventure resource) and the creation of my new Colorado summit hikes guide. It’s gotten especially hectic this month thanks to the bizarre and persistent rain that stymied a good month and a half of the typical Colorado hiking season. The accompanying thunderstorms and slow snow…

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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

By | Colorado Adventures, Travel and Adventure, Trip Reports | No Comments

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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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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Rosalie Peak Colorado front range

Rosalie Peak via Tanglewood Creek

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13,575 ft. Rosalie Peak doesn’t see a lot of visitors, which is somewhat surprising considering its proximity to Denver (about an hour’s drive). As 13ers go, its a straightforward class 2 mountain. Summitpost.org has this to say about the peak: Rosalie Peak, the 207th highest peak in Colorado, is the southernmost thirteener in the Mount Evans Wilderness. When viewed from Denver, it’s the rounded summit on the left end of the Evans Massif. It is named for Rosalie Bierstadt, wife of the famous painter of Western landscapes, Alfred Bierstadt. Originally,…

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Japanese Dragon

Lingering Dragons

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Though I’m now three months removed from my adventures in Japan, there are still so many moments and memories that swirl around in my mind. Stepping into another culture is one of the most profound ways to expand your beliefs and hopefully, take in a little bit of what you’ve experienced to better yourself. There is an incredible sense of pride in Japan, but it is expressed quietly. To the foreigner’s eye, it manifests itself in clean cities, polite citizens and diligent workers. It was an eye-opening contrast to America’s…

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Whale Peak summit ridge

Whale Peak 13,078 ft. Trip Report

By | Colorado Adventures, Travel and Adventure | No Comments

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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Fremont border collie on the summit of Mount Edwards.

Get the Word Out!

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Please excuse the radio silence on behalf of the Mountainous Words blog for the past few weeks. There’s been big things afoot here in Boulder. Where to start…? Long story short: if you’re making your livelihood as a writer in 2013, you better get with the times. I love print, love the smell of books, love having shelves of them to gaze at, love weathered paperbacks that have traveled the world with me. And I work in print (and will likely continue to do so), so I hate to see…

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Saskatchewan dog sledding

Saskatchewan Winter Adventures

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I’m midway through my winter adventure in Saskatchewan. Along with photographer Bart Deferme, I’ve been fortunate to plunge into this wild, wonderful landscape in the southern boreal forest in the heart of Canada. I was intrigued because I knew little about central Canada and while I expected it to be up my alley for adventure, it’s been even better than I hoped. It’s a quiet place and the stillness is reinforced by the biting chill (average temp has been around minus 25° F) but oh so lovely. There’s been little…

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