Trails from Molas Pass to Vestal Peak

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iquack08
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Trails from Molas Pass to Vestal Peak

Postby iquack08 » Mon Jun 24, 2013 11:32 am

I'm planning to free solo, day hike Vestal Peak, probably, in early August. The 20-ish miles RT is just the distance to not warrant backpacking but, instead, my preferred method - light and fast. I don't have a set date, but I have a half-month window to wait for the perfect weather to do this. However, even with perfect weather I prefer to start a couple of hours before sunrise.

So, my question is how broken in are the trails from Molas Pass to the base of Vestal Peak? It doesn't take much to lose a trail when night hiking, and I would like a heads-up if the trail will be somewhat difficult to follow at night. From the earlier trip reports, there seems to be a little difficulty in route finding. However, there was no mention of this in the later trip reports. I have a GPS, so this question is mostly to save me time, energy, and frustration. I want an idea of how long I want to night hike without having too much trouble staying on trail. Thanks!
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rijaca
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Re: Trails from Molas Pass to Vestal Peak

Postby rijaca » Mon Jun 24, 2013 1:44 pm

The trail from Molas Pass to Elk Park, and the trail up Elk Creek to Vestal Creek are uber-highways. The trail up Vestal Creek can/may be difficult to follow due to downfall (its been a few years since I was last up there).
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Re: Trails from Molas Pass to Vestal Peak

Postby evolve » Mon Jun 24, 2013 1:49 pm

You'll be on the Colorado Trail from Molas all the way to the beaver pond. Trail is great and easy to follow. Once you start into Vestal Basin proper it gets more difficult. The trail isn't terrible, but not as well worn. You'll be dealing with a lot more dead fall and overall tougher terrain.

I did almost this same hike a couple of years ago. I only made it to the basin however. I started early, something like 2 AM and made great time until I left the Colorado Trail. I slowed down quite a bit from there. The real kicker is coming back. The section from the river / Elk Park back up to Molas is switch back, after switch back, after switch back, after switch back, ... A lot of elevation gain at the very end. It was brutal, kicked my a.
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iquack08
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Re: Trails from Molas Pass to Vestal Peak

Postby iquack08 » Mon Jun 24, 2013 4:20 pm

rijaca wrote:The trail from Molas Pass to Elk Park, and the trail up Elk Creek to Vestal Creek are uber-highways. The trail up Vestal Creek can/may be difficult to follow due to downfall (its been a few years since I was last up there).


That's exactly what I wanted to hear. It will definitely be daylight before I pass Vestal Creek, so that part shouldn't be too much of a concern.

evolve wrote:The real kicker is coming back. The section from the river / Elk Park back up to Molas is switch back, after switch back, after switch back, after switch back, ... A lot of elevation gain at the very end. It was brutal, kicked my a.


I read it's about another 2,000 feet of elevation gain. I'm going to try to keep that in mind and resist any temptations to do Arrow Peak, even if I feel up to it right then. That kicker at the end will not be fun.
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Re: Trails from Molas Pass to Vestal Peak

Postby mattpayne11 » Thu Jun 27, 2013 9:05 pm

Do Arrow, you won't regret it. It is awesome. Watched sunset from there. Top 3 experience of my life.

The trail is not too hard to find and honestly it is easy to follow up the basin if you ask me. My intel's a few years old though.

http://www.100summits.com/trip-reports/item/152-vestal-peak-and-arrow-peak-the-grenadier-ranges-finest.html

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