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 Peak(s):  North Arapaho Pk  -  13,502 feet
South Arapaho Pk  -  13,397 feet
"Old Baldy"  -  13,038 feet
 Post Date:  08/22/2010 Modified: 02/20/2014
 Date Climbed:   08/21/2010
 Posted By:  Brian C

 Fourth of July Fun in August   

Stats

Peaks Hiked:
South Arapaho - 13,397
North Arapaho - 13,502
"Old Baldy" aka Point 13,038

Mileage: about 10

Elevation Gain: just under 4,000 feet

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Feels Like Fall Up Here

My wife and I are both teachers and were excited about the awesome forecast after our first week back with the kiddos. Not wanting to have to spend hours in the car to go hiking, we chose the wonderfully close Indian Peaks. As my low-clearance Mazda wormed its way through the potholes up to the Fourth of July trailhead, we couldn't help but notice early signs of fall. Chilly, breezy, and some changing colors all marked the start of my favorite hiking season in Colorado. We were lucky to get a front-row parking spot with our late arrival and quickly started up the trail at 8am.

The views of the Indian Peaks appear immediately as the trail ascends toward the Fourth of July mine.

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Having mostly hiked in the IPW by Brainard Lake, I'm not sure of all the mountain names but would like to hike some of these stunning peaks.

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We passed a few other parties on our way past the mine, but we were happy to see the trail fairly unpopulated. We made short work of the trail up to the Arapaho Saddle where we had to stop and layer up against the chilly wind.

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The views of both Arapahos and the Arapaho Glacier are complemented by many other peaks, including Longs Peak in the background.

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The final slopes up to South Arapaho's summit were the only steep hiking we encountered. We tried to stay close to the edge to experience the views.

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Nice flowers.


The summit of South Arapaho appeared quickly, and we only stopped briefly to chat with another hiker enjoying the summit.

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Looking across the ridge


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Traverse

Although the traverse is short and rated class 3, we had heard mixed reviews and rumors of it being dangerous class 4 at times. With the weather looking good, we put on our helmets and headed out. The first bit is very easy and goes quickly. We soon reached the first class 3 step and had no problem following the many orange painted arrows marking the route. Some of the arrows are very faded but they are easily seen if you keep an eye out.

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First scrambling step with arrows.


We both felt the traverse went fast and nothing exceeded class 3. There were a few points where the route dropped below the ridge briefly, but we never had trouble with route finding. Here are photos from the rest of the way...

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10 foot slab. Not as bad as some photos make it look.


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Crux downclimb.


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Almost to summit plateau


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Old can found along the way


About 40 minutes (no speed records today!) after leaving South Arapaho, we strolled up onto North. The cairn up there was huge! We had only passed one party returning over the ridge, so we had the summit all to ourselves.

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Eventually we had to head back over the ridge. I would say the crux of the route is simply remembering to allow enough time for the return trip. Luckily, we had beautiful weather and plenty of time to return safely. It takes about the same amount of time to traverse back to South Arapaho. The return was uneventful, and soon we were back on South Arapaho's summit and talking about the possibility of summiting Old Baldy from the Arapaho Saddle.

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Looking back towards South Arapaho


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Happy scrambler!


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It's because I'm bald, isn't it?

Back at the saddle, we decided to give Old Baldy a go. The weather was building a bit, but it seemed to be moving away from us. We set a 30 minute turn around time and headed up the slope. We hiked next to each other to help reduce our impact on the trail-less tundra. A mere 15 minutes later we happily topped out. Old Baldy quickly became my favorite summit of the day. The views of Arapaho Cirque were spectacular, and the summit had a very secluded feel. The register revealed that Old Baldy is only summited every few days, so clearly he must be lonelier than his popular neighbors. My camera batteries died at this point, but I was able to snap two last shots from the summit.

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Views from "Old Baldy"


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Nice Day

The hike out was uneventful, and it was a great day. The lower trails were much more crowded with folks heading up to Arapaho Pass. The Arapaho traverse is an excellent route and would be a great intro to ridge scrambling. Snow would make it much more serious, but in dry conditions, it's a great route for someone getting into scrambling. Old Baldy is a great addition to this hike, but it most people don't take advantage of the opportunity. With the minimal amount of time it takes to visit, it makes me wonder why. This is an excellent way to get 3 13ers, and I would highly recommend it.

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Fun day out with my wife!



Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
 


  • Comments or Questions
SenadR


Great     2011-01-05 10:27:04
Did Arapahoes in '06, it's fun climb!


susanjoypaul


Sold!     2010-08-22 22:09:22
Love it... this 13er trio is going on my short list, Brian.
And that shot of you and your wife is just awesome. Nothing beats a happy couple - in helmets :-)


Brian C


Thanks Susan     2010-08-23 08:48:42
It was a blast and I'm really lucky my wife enjoys doing this stuff too!


Steve Knapp


Love the IPW     2010-08-23 14:28:39
Nice job on those, especially adding Old Baldy on. Most people forget about that one (like I did my first time) and have to go back since it's a ranked 13er. The other peaks you are looking at include Neva and Jasper, also a very fun outing. I've got one more trip to do up there before the snow gets deep - Skyscraper Pk and 12660.



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