| Three Pointer: Hoosier and the Reds
Hoosier Ridge: 13,352‘ (352nd)
Red Peak (A): 13,215‘ (NR)
Red Mountain (C): 13,229‘ (457th)
11+ miles, approximately 3000‘ vertical (lots of false summits)
With the weather for Sunday looking like it would be pretty good, I decided to make it up to myself for not summiting Elbert with the WEE group last week by taking in a nice ridge run from Hoosier Pass. Of course true to form, I arrive at the pass to windy overcast conditions and a light snow. So much for nice weather! Oh well, its early, maybe if I just get started my luck will change along the way. The first part of the hike keeps me ascending into the clouds, but as I turn around I notice that Lincoln and Bross have managed to break through the clouds and are covered in a nice pink alpenglow:
Meanwhile, I am still hiking into the clouds, and now that I am getting above the trees a nice cross wind has decided to join them. Its still early, I‘ll just keep going and see how this plays out. Soon I see sun ahead, and what appears to be the top of the clouds. Lucky me, all this time I thought it was a lingering weather system from Saturday, nope, just a morning inversion hung up around the Divide:
Quandary above the inversion:
Of course now that I can actually see where I am going, I discover that despite crossing 3 or 4 false summits already, there are many more to go. Luckily the sun is out and even the winds are disappearing. More to do with the fact that I am changing direction and heading north. Somewhere off in the distance one of those false summits has to be a real one!
I keep making good time with a routing of climb a few hundred feet, drop a little, climb some more, drop some more. Soon I am standing on what has to be the FINAL false summit, at least if I can read my topo map correct it is! The true summit of Hoosier Ridge is now in view, with its neighbor Red Peak A peeking out from behind:
I make my way to the summit, 4 miles plus from the car and only 3 hours of climbing time. It may be bumpy, but at least the ridge is gentle! I have a snack and survey my options. Do I want to climb Red Peak A? Its not ranked, and wouldn‘t you know, there is another false summit in the way. I probably won‘t make a special trip for that one, might as well get it while I am here! One last look back at Silverheels from behind the rime covered summit cairn and I am off:
The ridge to Red Peak A is really gentle, about 3/4 mile out and back. Leading the way is a large herd of Bighorn Sheep that probably noticed me and got scared off. Those guys can move, I don‘t think it took even 5 minutes for them to cross that distance. Me it took more like 20. From here there are good views to Boreas Pass and Bald Mountain
Now that I have come this far, why not go for Red Mountain C too and make it a three peak day? Luckily it is possible to skirt around the summit of Hoosier Ridge on the way, saving at least a little more altitude gain. The descent to the saddle is mainly on grass and talus covered in yesterday‘s snow. From here the slopes steepen some, and get more snowy. Red Mountain C has a lot of snow on its east face! Also a potentially sketchy cornice, which today was fine, but is something to keep your eye on if you attempt this peak in winter.
I am now a solid 5 miles from my car, and the ridge has turned so far north that I am practically directly across the valley from Quandary. In fact I would argue that Red Mountain C has the best view of Quandary from any high peak. What do you think?
After a short break and re-fuel, its off to the daunting task of the descent. How many false summits do I have to reclimb? I lost count... Luckily each one gets a little lower than the last! First things first, re-climb Hoosier Ridge. Again, it is possible to avoid climbing all the way to the summit, but only when the face is reasonably free from snow to avoid any potential slide danger. Today it was mostly talus with light snow, no slide danger:
The descent takes a good 2 hours, and a little after 2pm I am breaking out of the trees to the rush of cars and trucks passing over the Continental Divide. I prefer walking along it myself, but I am kinda strange like that. Now that the sun is out and the clouds are gone, I can get a good view of Red Mountain C (left) and Hoosier Ridge (right) off in the distance as I get in my car and head home after a successful day in the mountains!
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):