| SarahT / Talus Monkey reunion hike
Ruby Mountain – 13,277
Cooper Mountain – 12,792 (unranked)
From Peru Creek TH: 9.8mi, 3500ft
Partners: Dominic & Talus Monkey
I hadn't hiked with (or even seen) Talus Monkey for nearly a year so this was sort of a reunion hike. The Talus Monkey hates "the evil white stuff" as he calls it and was looking for a reasonably short hike that wouldn't involve any wallowing. Ruby seemed like a good option.
It took us a bit longer than it should have to find the Peru Creek TH because none of us had ever been to the area. If you're paying attention, it is actually well marked. The three of us started hiking up the well packed Peru Creek Road around 7:25. It had previously been tracked by sleds, skis, and snowshoes and the going was easy.
Although previous TR authors have reported climbing the south or southwest slopes of Cooper Mountain and traversing the gentle ridge to Ruby Mountain, we decided to investigate a different option: hiking further up the road and ascending to the saddle between Cooper and Ruby. We initially came up with this alternative as a solution to the "where can we stash our snowshoes and not have to return over Cooper Mountain" question. As it turned out, this was not the solution at least Dominic and I were looking for (we carried our snowshoes the whole way) but it worked out fine.
We left the road after slightly more than 3 miles at an elevation of 10,800 ft and climbed (with snowshoes) northeast to reach the gulley between Cooper Mountain and Ruby Mountain. Once in the gulley, Dominic and I parted ways with Talus Monkey – Dominic and I heading toward Cooper Mountain (snowshoes required) and Talus Monkey (sans snowshoes) up Ruby's dryish south ridge.
At first Dominic and I aimed toward the Cooper – Ruby saddle, but then steered ourselves more directly toward Cooper Mountain. We could see Talus Monkey hopping his way up Ruby Mountain. The wind was picking up and we stopped to gear up before reaching the summit. Once we topped out, the views were stunning – MUCH better than I'd been expecting. Nearby Grays and Torreys looked very nice – I always love seeing the 14ers from a different perspective. I could also clearly see many other summits that I had once stood on: Grizzly D, Edwards, Argentine, and Square Top.
After not much more than a pause we started the short jaunt over to Ruby. We could see that Talus Monkey was still working his way to the summit but was nearly there. Out of laziness we kept our snowshoes on but we could have easily gotten by without them. From the Cooper – Ruby saddle only 600 feet of elevation gain stood between us and Ruby's summit. The last couple hundred feet was very dry and forced us to remove our snowshoes. We found Talus Monkey lying in a divot in the snow on the summit in an attempt to get out of the wind. We all took a short break to refuel take a few pictures.
The descent back to the Peru Creek Road was short and sweet. We headed south and then a bit west off of the summit and began glissading west into the gulley at around 12,800 ft. Talus Monkey traversed closer to the Cooper – Ruby saddle before starting his glissade. Both options worked out well and we lost approximately 1000 ft in no time. The snow was in good shape – soft enough that getting out of control wasn't really possible. The slope became gentler and we hiked for a short period down the gulley. Talus Monkey exited to the east to retrieve his snowshoes while Dominic and I caught another shorter glissade almost all the way back down to the road. Being first, I was eating a crapload of snow and in attempt to reposition my feet/body to cure this I ended up doing a flip. The snow was soft and forgiving and I found it to be quite comical.
We met Talus Monkey back on the road and started the easy walk back to the TH, which we reached around 1:55 for a total round trip time of 6.5 hours. All in all, this hike was much more enjoyable than I thought it would be. I think that this is a great area – easy access and great views.
pictures & route map: