Pt 12585 and Pt 12752 from Loveland Pass
Distance : 5 miles
Elevation : 2150'
Total Time : 3 hours
Colorado Mines Peak and Mt. Flora from Berthoud Pass
Distance : 6.5 miles
Elevation : 2450'
Total Time : 4 hours
How is it possible that William Shatner was ever perceived as "cool" and "attractive"? I mean, has he ever had a hairstyle that wasn't outdated? I may be Picard fan, but I don't think I'm being too unreasonable in thinking that Shatner was not quite as cool as people think he was….
These were my exact thoughts as I blew past the Loveland Pass exit headed west on a still dark, abnormally warm morning. So entrenched in my confusion/bewilderment over the legacy that is "William Shatner" that I completely spaced on my turn off. As most of you probably know, that is not an exit that you want to miss. 11 miles later, I turned around at Dillon and proceeded 11 miles BACK to my exit. Spectacular way to begin the day, 22 unnecessary miles. All thanks to Bill Shatner.
I was still steamed as I reached Loveland Pass trailhead. I quickly threw my pack together and crossed the road, trying to salvage as much time as possible. A few minutes in, I realized I left my trunk open. Backtrack #1 of the day.
Finally, my day could officially begin.
My first goals of the day were two ranked 12ers on the west side of the pass, Pt 12585 and Pt 12752. Pt 12585 is a gimme of a peak, located only 600 feet above the parking area of the pass. Many tourists and skiers have probably hiked up this mountain without even realizing it. I felt like I was cheating a bit by the lack of effort it took to get up, but 20 minutes later I was on top taking in the morning views.
Looking back towards Loveland Pass and Mt. Sniktau (far left) from the ascent up Pt. 12585.
Cupid, Grizzly Pk D, Torreys and Grays in the early morning light.
Looking north across I-70 from the slopes of Pt 12585.
Pt 12752 presented the first "real" challenge of the day. The route from 12585 to 12752 was an up and down S shaped ridge path for about 2 miles, where it seemed like every time you gained a bit of elevation, you lost it within 5 minutes. There are two small unranked bumps along the ridge, 12414 and 12479. 12414 is easiest to go directly over, but 12479 can be skirted to the south without too much difficulty.
Once I passed by 12479, the main drop to the low point becomes obvious, and Pt. 12752 starts to show its real size.
Pt 12752 (distant center) as seen from Pt 12585. The two unranked bumps (12414 and 12479) are seen along the ridge.
Along the ridge to 12752.
Pt 12752 as I begin the descent to the true saddle. If you look closely, you can see 2 skiers ascending along the ridge.
From the distance, the skiers looked like they chose a pretty good line for ascending the ridge. However as I started up, I somehow angled too far to the climbers left and lost their tracks. By the time I realized I was not where I wanted to be, I had gotten close to a slope that I didn't feel comfortable with. Had I not been solo, I may have felt a bit different but I decided to go into "caution" mode and proceed with Backtrack #2 of the day.
I descended back close to the saddle, and from there I found a safe passage up the right (northern) side of the ridge. Once past the difficulties, it was a nice ridge run over the final .3 miles to the summit.
Finding a good path along the right side.
Past the difficulties on the ascending ridge.
Looking back along the summit ridge of Pt 12752. Sniktau in the distant center.
Loveland Ski area from the summit of Pt 12752.
I stayed on the summit only briefly, as I knew it was a long ridge back to Loveland Pass, and I really wanted to find some other peaks for the day. I snapped some photos, and headed back down. I followed my same path back to the saddle, and I was glad to have my axe for the descent. The remainder of the trek back to the pass was uneventful, just passing more and more skiers and snowboarders the closer I got to the parking lot. I received plenty of confused looks as to why I would possibly be in this area with only boots. I was able to follow a path laid out by the skiers to skirt beneath Pt 12585 and avoid resummiting on the way out.
Grays and Torreys from Pt 12752.
Following a well traveled path back to the pass.
Once back at the pass, I debated on heading up the east side towards 13ers Sniktau and/or Cupid and Grizzly. After debating for a while, I figured I had spent enough time up there over the past couple seasons, and that I should find some new mountains. So, sticking to my "high pass" starting point theme, I headed over to Berthoud Pass.
Google earth track for 12585 and 12752.
The trip to Berthoud Pass from Loveland Pass went smoothly. Almost.
A few miles up, I got stuck behind a semi in the right lane, and a mini van in the left lane that decided to just "hang out" next to the semi and create a plug on the highway. While that in itself wasn't that big of an issue, the internet station I was listening to in the car decided to mess with me and play a Priceline commercial with….you guessed it….William Shatner. Coincidence? No. He was after me today. I resisted the urge to change the station. Finally, his over-enthusiastic hotel plug was over, and the traffic in front of me dissipated.
After seeing the crowds that were swarming Loveland Pass, I expected Berthoud Pass to be busy as well. To my surprise, it was relatively empty. I threw my boots back on, and started up a service road that would lead me to the summit of Colorado Mines Peak. (The service road begins at the south end of the parking area.) There was a decent path through the snow up the road, so I left the snowshoes in the trunk. I ended up getting by ok, but the unseasonably warm weather was making this a questionable decision. Any wrong step off the path and I sank into knee deep slush. Ugh.
The service road SLOWLY gains elevation up the side of Colorado Mines Peak. Too slow, in fact. After two switchbacks, I looked back at the pass and realized that two little kids with a sled were gaining elevation walking up the ski slope faster than I was. I wanted to get to the summit sometime that day, so I left the road and made a straight line towards the communication towers that marks the summit of the peak. This made the going quite steep, but much faster.
Looking back at Berthoud Pass after I left the road. I followed these power lines most of the way.
Looking up from the same spot. The buildings at the summit are just visible.
Once I reached the top, I didn't spend any time lounging. I don't particularly enjoy building covered summits, so I skiddaddled eastward. There are a number of unranked summits in the area, such as Cone Mt. and Breckenridge Peak. The closest ranked peak is Mt. Flora, which is a mile or so east of Colorado Mines Peak. I found a VERY nice path leading most of the way to Flora. This made the traverse very mellow, and seemed to take almost no time at all. I passed a couple groups on the way over also out enjoying the beautiful day.
Looking west back towards Colorado Mines Peak from the ridge over to Mt. Flora.
A very mellow ridge up towards Mt. Flora.
Unranked 12845 from the ridge.
Seriously…could there be any gentler of a path?!
I reached the summit in about 45 minutes from Colorado Mines Peak. Or so I thought. A large number of cairns marked the top of where the map stated was true summit. Looking eastward, I noticed another highpoint about 100 yards away that looked to be significantly higher. Not wanting to risk it, I traversed over to this high point as well. All maps that I regarded later shows the west summit as the true summit, however Lists Of John states the east summit as true. I still don't actually know.
Looking west from the west summit. Grays and Torreys in the far distance.
Summit cairn on the west summit.
Looking at the east summit from the west summit. Definitely looks higher…right?
By now, it was starting to get late. I would have liked to explore further east, but I knew that would get me back to my car at the pass VERY late. So I called it a day and started to head back.
On my way up Flora, I had noticed a group making their way back to the pass by circumventing around the north side of Colorado Mines Peak. I figured this would be a good idea and save me from resummiting on the way out. Part way across the north side, I once again got to some snow terrain that I really did not trust, especially after the temperatures we had that day. After a bit of a debate with myself, I decided I would once again play it safe and backtrack. Backtrack #3 of the day. Once I was back a ways, I resummited a portion of Colorado Mines Peak until I got to a area that I felt was safe to cross. Gaining elevation on this side of the mountain was tough. It was steeper than my legs really wanted at this point in the day. As I made my way up this portion, I began to have those tired end of day thoughts:
Colorado Mines Peak from the saddle with Mt. Flora on the way out.
After safely getting around Colorado Mines Peak, I follow my ascent path straight back down. This time I skip the road altogether and head directly for the pass. This saves time, although I postholed horribly for the final quarter mile. I don't mind getting soaked as long as it is the end of the day.
Final track for Colorado Mines Peak and Mt. Flora.
All in all, it was a…..well….interesting day. It was nice to enjoy probably the last warm weather of the season, although hopefully it will last a bit longer.
My GPS Tracks on Google Maps (made from a .GPX file upload):
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