Wandering the Southern Weminuche

Peaks: Sheridan Mountain (12,795′), Sheep Mountain D (13,070′), Point 13,105′ (aka “Peak 22”), Emerson Mountain – West (aka “Peak 21” – 13,085′), Emerson Mountain – East (13,140′)
Date: July 17, 2017
Where: Weminuche Wilderness
Trailhead: Endlich Mesa (11,600′)
Distance:  ~ 17 miles
Elevation Gain:  ~ 5,000 ft.
Participants: solo
Time: 9 hours

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Exploring the Neighborhood – Pagosa Peak

Over the weekend I jumped in the car and headed for the cabin in Pagosa. I didn’t know what the plan would be given the forecast. Didn’t care. Worst case scenario I’d sit in a hammock all weekend, beer in hand, and catch a few sunsets. If I’m being totally honest, I really just wanted to test the new hammock. 🙂

Pagosa Peak had taunted me for all of 2015. I googled it a few times, but info was limited. Coming from Denver I had a hard time just figuring out the forest roads. Not to mention I wanted to hit it in winter and didn’t know whether or not that was even logistically possible. What could one see from up there I wondered?

Peak: Pagosa Peak (12,640′)
Where: Weminuche Wilderness
Participants: solo

  • August 7, 2016 – “Standard” route via the 2WD summer “trailhead” (8,700′): 11.5 miles, 4,000′ gain. (FYI – From the 4WD trailhead (10,170′): 3.5 miles, 2,500′ gain)
  • February 28, 2016 – From the winter road closure (8,200′), then standard route: 16.5 miles, 4,500′ gain.
Route Overview – winter and summer. (Click to Enlarge)

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A Return to Chicago Basin

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.

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Taj’s Day Off

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

Route Overview (click to enlarge).
A winter Wemi wonderland. Grand Turk (L) and Spencer Peak (R) in the foreground from the summit of Sultan Mountain. Background – Wemipalooza.

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