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Buffalo Mountain Ranking

Information on peaks other than the CO 14ers and 13ers.
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Re: Buffalo Mountain Ranking

Postby Hungry Jack » Sat Jul 28, 2012 7:23 pm

It is an interesting hike for its steep boulder field above treeline. Not particularly challenging, but its proximity to I-70/Silverthorne and short approach (less than a mile from the TH, IIRC) means that it probably attracts a fair number of novices.

I have been up and down Buffalo in 3 different directions. If you get off trail, you can find some trouble, especially on the northwest face that drops you into the Willow Creek basin. Several years ago, a friend and I decided to descend this area, and it took us about an hour to descend maybe 1,500 ft. There are a lot of cliffs with some steep gullies, so the routefinding was a challenge. We never felt threatened and enjoyed it, but a novice hiker could easily get into trouble here. We made our way back by descending Willow Falls and picking up the Gore Trail. Again, a novice hiker not familiar with Willow Falls could get lost back there.

Another time we thought about traversing over to Eccles Pass, and safely picked our way to Buffalo's second summit by descending the small notch between the two on its southeast side. From there we descended its west slope, which is relatively gentle and traversed the ridge before dropping into the basin off its southwest flank. We bushwacked a bit to reach the Lily Pad trail and were soon back at Wildernest.
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Re: Buffalo Mountain Ranking

Postby planet54 » Sat Jul 28, 2012 7:36 pm

Adding to Hungry Jack's comments,people do get lost around there usually on the way down. I had to orient some hikers there once. If you are joining SAR you will find out from other members that Buffalo Mountain has a history of avalanche and skier related injuries and sadly deaths. For a Gore Range hike it is pretty easy and thus popular. You will learn from some good folks in that rescue group. Enjoy it.
"The world is a great book,of which they that never stir from home read only a page." St. Augustine
"Climbing K2 or floating the Grand Canyon in an innertube;there are some things one would rather have done than do." Edward Abbey

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Re: Buffalo Mountain Ranking

Postby Hungry Jack » Sun Jul 29, 2012 12:03 pm

Unfortunately I don't have the opportunity for winter climbs (I freeze my ass in Chicago instead), but I could see Big Buffalo tempting some with its northeast gullies. These look to be a heinous rockfall fest in the summer.

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