Roads: California Gulch, Hurricane Pass, Placer Gulch
Mileage total: 6.9
Elevation total: 3,706'
Partners: Bob, Kate, Valerie
I'm relaxing in the back of my truck, reading book #4 of Game of Thrones, as the Finncutters and Valerie arrive from their day on Half Peak. We have a nice evening eating our dinner and have lively conversation to pass the time before bed. With the forecast of storms likely after 7am, it will be an early start!
Our camp for the night - Photo Credit: Valerie
4am rolls around too quickly once again, as we start up the grassy slope towards our first peak of the day, Houghton Mountain. Ahhhh Houghton Hall at SUNY Fredonia, brings back so many memories of my 4 years spent in the science building on campus. How could I pass up a peak with the same name?
We arrive on the summit for barely first light, after a fairly easy rolling ridge.
First light on Houghton, looking at Animas Forks Mountain
Summit ridge to Houghton
We don't stay long, as there is a distance to go before the next peak, if we are to get it done in time before 7am! Only navigational challenge on the way to Tuttle, is to find the grassy gully on the south side of the ridge. Otherwise, it's a nice stroll to the next peak along rolling grassy tundra.
Roads around California, Placer on left, California on right
Another look back at Houghton
Making our way towards Tuttle
Flowers on the way up Tuttle, looking up California Gulch
Grassy ascent of Tuttle, avoiding nasty scree
Me hugging the love of my life... snow! - Photo Credit: Bob/Kate
Still looking back at Houghton
Ridge over to tuttle
On the summit of Tuttle, we get 3G data service to update our weather forecasts for the day (since our last updates were on Wed night). Well, the weather has changed, and in our favor! No storms till 4pm. Of course, we don't quite believe 4pm, so we will still keep an eye on weather and keep moving.
From Tuttle, we get a good view of some other peaks on our radar, like Brown Mtn A, California and Hurricane. Hmmm which one next? Let's go for the ranked one first, Brown. Bob likes the named but unranked peaks, maybe we can get to those later...
Looking at Hurricane and Brown Mtn A
Some flowers on the way down, maybe the skies will clear?
On the way down Tuttle, the sun makes a few brief appearances from behind the clouds, so we feel better about continuing on. At least we will have a vehicle close by most of the day! We jump in the Finncutter 4x4 and make our way up California Pass, and then onto Hurricane Pass to find our closest access point to Brown Mtn. Looks like a short jaunt! Let's go!
Route up Brown. Up, take a left.
Started to see lots of these
Kate contemplating our day
Valerie walking back down the ridge
Kate and Valerie walking back to the Bob & Kate love shack
The ridge up unranked Hurricane looks long, and we've gotten lazy. Let's drive over to Placer Gulch and go for a ranked peak! We run into a little 4x4 traffic, but not too bad. Once we confirm we are in the "closest spot" to start up Hanson Peak, we gear up and head up the mining road up to the saddle. From there it's a scree fest to the summit. At least boot skiing down the scree will be fun!
Route up Hanson Peak
Some lovely flowers
Scree ridge to Hanson Peak
The Finncutters and I start to make our way over to California Mtn, but with the clouds and the length of up and downs required for this unranked peak, our enthusiasm wanes. Let's go for one more ranked peak before the storms hit!
Red California... maybe another day
Pt 13,075 in the middle ground with the dark rocks on top
Summit of Hanson - Photo Credit: Valerie
Valerie on Hanson Peak
Ah, Pt 13,075. It's so close, and so tiny! Storms are coming (around noon, it would seem, NOT 4pm) and so we speed hiked this 13er in under 20 minutes car to car. Not bad for our fastest 13er
Summit area of Pt 13,075
Looking over to Hanson Peak from 13,075
Our grassy route up Pt 13,075
After our lovely day of 13er mini golf, we head into Silverton for some much needed libations and refreshments! Ahhh 4x4 Love!
Day 1: Cinnamon Pass 13ers - 4x4 Love Part I
Day 2: California & Placer Gulch 13ers - 4x4 Love Part II
Day 3: Stony Pass 13ers - By Bob
Day 4: Kendall Mountain Group - 4x4 Love Part IV