Peaks: Jupiter Mountain (13,830′), Windom Peak (14,082′), Sunlight Peak (14,059′), Mount Eolus (14,083′), North Eolus (14,039′) Dates: July 2-3 2016 Trailhead: Purgatory Flats (8,740′) Distance: ~ 40 miles Elevation Gain: ~ 11,000′ Time: 36 hours Group: Andrea Sansone, Andrew Hamilton, Charlie Nuttelman, Danielle Joy, Elizabeth Stevens, Dillon Sarnelli
My first trip into Chicago Basin was in the summer of 2013. Back then the objective was simple. Check off Colorado’s 4 most remote 14ers and make it safely back to the train in one piece. By all accounts the weekend was a success, but one thing was certain. I’d be back in the Wemi sooner than later. Over the years that followed I’ve made good on that promise, with each trip a constant reminder that the Weminuche, the granddaddy of all Colorado’s wildernesses, is hands down in a class all by itself.
Recently I had the privilege of sitting next to Elizabeth Stevens and Ryan Kushner at dinner during our annual reunion with the Jansen family. At the time Elizabeth mentioned she had 15 or so 14ers remaining and could use some partners as Ryan would be off in Pakistan for 2 months climbing something I can’t even try to pronounce. 🙂 Not being one to ever really turn down a Wemi trip, I gladly accepted the invitation.
Spanish Creek. For 48 hours it remained untouched this winter until a brave and unsuspecting foursome went to work during the wee hours of Christmas Eve. By noon we weren’t even approaching treeline. We never stood a chance. For the next 30 days Spanish Creek would remain untouched.
Peak: Kit Carson Peak (14,165′) Date: January 23, 2016 Trailhead: Spanish Creek (8,260′) Distance: ~11 miles Elevation Gain: ~ 6,000 ft. Participants: Natalie Moran, Dillon Sarnelli Time: 16 hours
“Scree Hell”. We’ve all heard it. This mountain sets the bar so high, it’s how we measure every other scree descent in Colorado. It couldn’t be that bad, right? Yeah it is. I learned that back in 2012 on a 2 year blitzkrieg to finish the 14ers. It was a solo Sawatch slammer of a weekend that included the standard routes on Shav, Tab, Harvard and that infamous descent of Columbia. Four whole 14ers in one weekend. A feat only a noob could appreciate.
These days my main criteria seems to revolve around the path less traveled. And so three days into 2016, one day removed from the coldest New Year’s Day ascent of Massive ever recorded, and just 24 hours before tax season semi-hibernation, I found myself at the Harvard Lakes TH. I’ll be honest, until I did some homework, I didn’t even know Columbia had a southeast ridge. This probably has something to do with the fact that the ridge itself is almost 5 miles long and wraps around the entire Collegiate Peak Wilderness before reaching Columbia.
Peak: Mount Columbia (14,073′) Date: January 3, 2016 Trailhead: Harvard Lakes Distance: 12.5 miles (1/4 mile below TH) Elevation Gain: ~ 5,000 ft. Participants: K Bessler, Dillon Sarnelli Time: 12 hours
By the time I finish this trip report it’ll be calendar winter. TR’s on the .com have long since dropped off into hibernation. The forum posts almost seem intelligent and even respectful. Soon it will be Christmas and New Years and bowl games, oh my! Heck in 10 days it’ll be tax season, but who’s counting.
48 hours before the shortest day of the year, Brando, Kristine, Kona and I found ourselves in a small pull off just off Fremont Pass. The objective, bicentennial 13er Mount Arkansas. Unfortunately, there would be no blue snowflake for Kristine, but I think she still had a good time. 🙂
Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.
Peaks: Spencer Peak (13,087′), Grand Turk (13,160′), Sultan Mountain (13,373′) Date: October 24, 2015 Trailhead: Little Molas Lake Distance: ~ 9 miles Elevation Gain: ~ 4,000 ft. Participants: Taj, Dillon Sarnelli