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Summer San Juan Plans

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Summer San Juan Plans

Postby big_red_pride » Sun Apr 21, 2013 6:20 am

I'm planning on taking a couple of weeks off, one in June and the other in August. The plan in June right now is to hit up as many San Juan peaks as possible with the exception of the Chicago Basin and Sneffels (did that one already). Below are my plans; I’m looking to my fellow forum members to see if this plan makes sense. I've been studying the trail head locations and I'm basically making a big circle, starting with the peak(s) furthest away and then doing the closest peak from Colorado Springs last. Any advice is certainly welcome and I may also be looking for partners along the way, so if you are interested let me know. Here is my agenda!

Fri, 6/21: Leave Colorado Springs by 2:30 PM
Sat, 6/22: Wilson Peak from Rock of Ages
Sun, 6/23: Mt. Wilson/El Diente from Kilpacker Basin
Mon, 6/24: Rest - probably get a hotel in Durrango Sunday evening
Tue, 6/25: Handies Peak from American Basin
Wed, 6/26: Redcloud/Sunshine from Silver Creek
Thu, 6/27: Rest - probably get lodging in Lake City
Fri, 6/28: San Luis Peak from Stewert Creek (depending on how I feel I may also get Organ Mountain)
*Sat, 6/29: Wetterhorn Peak from Matterhorne Creek
**Sun, 6/30: Return to Colorado Springs

* I may consider the option of bagging both Wetterhorn and Uncompahgre on this day if I haven’t already hiked Uncompahgre before then.
**Depending on Saturday and if I haven’t checked Uncompahgre off my list I may consider hiking that before returning home.

One last note, I’m taking time off in August as well and was considering heading back out the San Juans to get the Chicago Basin. I know Monsoon Season will still be a factor during this time. Any thoughts on how much it would impact the time of 8/17-8/24?

Thanks!

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Re: Summer San Juan Plans

Postby San Juan Ron » Sun Apr 21, 2013 6:34 am

Move San Luis to last on your list, it's a fairly long drive from the Lake City area. Once you complete Sunshine/Redcloud, then tackle Wetterhorn (and/or Unc) followed by a day off with a trip to Stewart Creek TH for San Luis. You don't want to split up the Lake City 14ers with a midway trip thrown in for San Luis Peak. SJ Ron :)

Watch out for Porky's at SC/GG TH!

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Re: Summer San Juan Plans

Postby TravelingMatt » Sun Apr 21, 2013 8:20 am

I would overnight in Silverton or Ouray, not Durango. If your vehicle can do Cinnamon Pass and American Basin you can go over Ophir Pass between 145 and 550.

The San Juans have gotten the least snow of anyone this year and have been mostly missed by the systems that have been dumping on the more northern ranges in the past couple of weeks. You may want to consider Chi Basin on your June trip. (I am looking at some longer trips in the SJs during that time, but all 13ers.) Will probably be much less crowded. Third week of August is about when the monsoons start to subside, but you can still get them, and it would suck to spend 3-4 days in the basin getting stormed on.
So pleas'd at first the towering Alps we try,
Mount o'er the vales, and seem to tread the sky,
Th' increasing prospects tire our wand'ring eyes,
Hills peep o'er hills, and Alps on Alps arise!
-- Alexander Pope

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Re: Summer San Juan Plans

Postby zdero1 » Sun Apr 21, 2013 9:19 pm

San Juan Ron wrote:Move San Luis to last on your list, it's a fairly long drive from the Lake City area. Once you complete Sunshine/Redcloud, then tackle Wetterhorn (and/or Unc) followed by a day off with a trip to Stewart Creek TH for San Luis. You don't want to split up the Lake City 14ers with a midway trip thrown in for San Luis Peak. SJ Ron :)

Watch out for Porky's at SC/GG TH!


+1

This eliminates the drive back to Lake City and makes your trip home much, much shorter.

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Re: Summer San Juan Plans

Postby big_red_pride » Sun Apr 21, 2013 11:12 pm

zdero1 wrote:
San Juan Ron wrote:Move San Luis to last on your list, it's a fairly long drive from the Lake City area. Once you complete Sunshine/Redcloud, then tackle Wetterhorn (and/or Unc) followed by a day off with a trip to Stewart Creek TH for San Luis. You don't want to split up the Lake City 14ers with a midway trip thrown in for San Luis Peak. SJ Ron :)

Watch out for Porky's at SC/GG TH!


+1

This eliminates the drive back to Lake City and makes your trip home much, much shorter.


Thank you both! I have one last question about TH access. It seems that with a passanger car most TH's, especially near Lake City, are hard to get to, would you agree? I drive a charger and was considering renting an SUV, would that make the most sense? Thanks!

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Re: Summer San Juan Plans

Postby screeman57 » Sun Apr 21, 2013 11:31 pm

All of the trailheads around Lake City are accessible with a passenger car (unless there are washouts).

BTW, I highly recommend doing Handies from Silver Creek (the trailhead is just across the road from Sunshine/Redcloud trail). It's a longer approach, but you get a fantastic view of the mountain through a beautiful high alpine meadow.
"Never measure the height of a mountain until you have reached the top. Then you will see how low it was." -Dag Hammarskjold

Re: Summer San Juan Plans

Postby KyleS » Sun Apr 21, 2013 11:48 pm

TravelingMatt wrote:The San Juans have gotten the least snow of anyone this year.
That statement's not entirely accurate. They're further behind average than the rest of the state, but they have a higher average. There's still a ton of snow on the ground.

TravelingMatt wrote:Third week of August is about when the monsoons start to subside, but you can still get them, and it would suck to spend 3-4 days in the basin getting stormed on.
That's certainly a possibility. One thing I've learned about the San Juans is that the monsoon is much less predictable than in the Northern ranges. Thunderstorms can roll in first thing in the morning as well as in the middle of the night, and well into September.

big_red_pride wrote:I drive a charger and was considering renting an SUV, would that make the most sense?
You'll need and SUV to get to the trailhead for Uncompahgre. You could potentially get to San Luis, Sunshine/Red Cloud/Handies and within striking distance of Wetterhorn in a Charger, but you could also trash your car trying. I've done them with a Subaru, but I've blown tires and bottomed out in the process.

Lastly, you're not going to get over Cinnamon or Ophir passes without an SUV. Taking those passes would be really scenic and save you 100+ miles of driving, but probably take you just as long as driving highways out and around.

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Re: Summer San Juan Plans

Postby big_red_pride » Mon Apr 22, 2013 11:38 am

screeman57 wrote:All of the trailheads around Lake City are accessible with a passenger car (unless there are washouts).

BTW, I highly recommend doing Handies from Silver Creek (the trailhead is just across the road from Sunshine/Redcloud trail). It's a longer approach, but you get a fantastic view of the mountain through a beautiful high alpine meadow.


Thanks for the recommendation. I had considered that but I have heard from several people the approach from American Basin is really beautiful and would be more worth my time driving to that TH. Any thoughts from anyone who has done both routes?

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Re: Summer San Juan Plans

Postby big_red_pride » Mon Apr 22, 2013 11:41 am

KyleS wrote:
TravelingMatt wrote:The San Juans have gotten the least snow of anyone this year.
That statement's not entirely accurate. They're further behind average than the rest of the state, but they have a higher average. There's still a ton of snow on the ground.

TravelingMatt wrote:Third week of August is about when the monsoons start to subside, but you can still get them, and it would suck to spend 3-4 days in the basin getting stormed on.
That's certainly a possibility. One thing I've learned about the San Juans is that the monsoon is much less predictable than in the Northern ranges. Thunderstorms can roll in first thing in the morning as well as in the middle of the night, and well into September.

big_red_pride wrote:I drive a charger and was considering renting an SUV, would that make the most sense?
You'll need and SUV to get to the trailhead for Uncompahgre. You could potentially get to San Luis, Sunshine/Red Cloud/Handies and within striking distance of Wetterhorn in a Charger, but you could also trash your car trying. I've done them with a Subaru, but I've blown tires and bottomed out in the process.

Lastly, you're not going to get over Cinnamon or Ophir passes without an SUV. Taking those passes would be really scenic and save you 100+ miles of driving, but probably take you just as long as driving highways out and around.


Thanks for the information. I'm finding all of this useful. I will probably take the SUV route just to be safe. I don't want to take any risks with my car. Taking those passes does sound like a good way to view some beautiful country. My trip to the Chicago Basin is far from being plotted in stone, I will wait to see how the summer goes and perhaps I will move it off to next season. Thanks again everyone for the great advice and assistance!

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Re: Summer San Juan Plans

Postby mfariss44 » Mon Apr 22, 2013 12:10 pm

I would say the views in American Basin are pretty hard to beat. The head wall above Sloan Lake is pretty cool. Depending on how close you are able to make it to the trail head it is a pretty easy hike as well. Just my opinion though.

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Re: Summer San Juan Plans

Postby B[3] » Mon Apr 22, 2013 1:52 pm

When we did the Wilson group, we backpacked in from Woods Lake (a nice hike) and set up camp near Navajo Lake. We hiked Wilson Peak the next day and then El Diente and Mt Wilson the following day. Doing this as a backpack would add extra time to your trip, but it was a beautiful place to be.

Note: There is a nice campground near Woods Lake (we stayed there the night before our backpack in to Navajo Lake).
Learn from the mistakes of others--you can never live long enough to make them all yourself.--Unknown
Don't chase your dreams, catch them.--Unknown

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Re: Summer San Juan Plans

Postby atbaritone » Wed Apr 24, 2013 4:14 am

Like you need more advice...but here is mine.

Consider doing Sunshine/Redcloud/Handies all in one day if the weather is good. Do Sunshine/Redcloud in the morning, take a nap, then a quick jaunt from American Basin to Handies before sunset. This is a good plan if you are behind schedule at that point in your trip.

I've twice been to Chicago Basin in mid- to late-August and have been able to manage early morning summits both times. Just remember that an unsuccessful climbing trip (meaning, no summits attained) is better than a successful day at work. Go to Chi Bas in August and have a blast.
An unsuccessful day climbing is better than a successful day working.--Me.

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