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Camping Location Advise

Trailhead conditions, directions, roads, parking, camping, etc. Trailhead Info/Status
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Re: Camping Location Advise

Postby OmahaAdam » Mon Jul 01, 2013 12:11 am

Jchapell, your timing is impeccable with your Crystal Lake report. Was looking at visiting Pacific Tarn but wanted to make a loop of some sort - this is perfect. Great pics and info.

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Re: Camping Location Advise

Postby jchapell » Mon Jul 01, 2013 6:12 am

Glad it was useful!

The 13ers.com link below will get you there, but the protrails link offers a bit more detail on the hike.
http://www.13ers.com/routemain.php?route=hele9

http://www.protrails.com/trail/summit-county-eagle-county-clear-creek-county-crystal-lakes

FYI, I believe the aquaduct route will cut your hike down, but we just parked at the Crystal Lake Trailhead since it was getting late and we wanted to go ahead and get on our way.

From this link below you can see the hikes available from the lower lake as "basecamp".
http://www.13ers.com/peaks/13ers.php?range=tm

FYI, there is extremely spotty ATT cell service, which was a little frustrating when trying to figure out what the weather was doing -- because you are in a basin, it is tough to see weather coming from the West or North. Also be ready with dry socks or bring some gaiters, because there is an area where the trail was mid-calf deep water, and you can't really go around it. Also, no need to pack water beyond what you need to hike in...there path to a fresh stream right beside the mining cabin, so just bring your purification of choice and fill there.

If you decide to go this way, let me know and I can share any additional photos or tips!

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Re: Camping Location Advise

Postby OmahaAdam » Tue Jul 02, 2013 11:22 pm

Yes, this is definitely what we're doing. Not too worried about any shortcut. We are taking our time to enjoy the scenery and will be spending a couple days in the area. Tuesday we're heading up to Lower Crystal Lake, overnighting there before going up Crystal Peak A, over to Pacific & Atlantic and spending the next night in the next basin to the south. Plan on parking down by the trailhead and walking up the road to take our time and enjoy the scenery. Glad to hear about the water. We carry a couple water filters between us and having the streams right there makes things very convenient.

We have Verizon but I still can't imagine it will be any better for cell service. Thanks for the heads up.

Really going to enjoy the new moon and the dark skies it will bring. Hoping for some great astrophotography and time lapse opportunities.

If you have any additional photos/tips to give I'll take them. We only get a couple opportunities a year to head out to CO and want to enjoy them as much as possible. Thanks!

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Re: Camping Location Advise

Postby jchapell » Thu Jul 04, 2013 8:16 am

Check for a PM. Thanks!

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Re: Camping Location Advise

Postby CincinnatiJeff » Mon Jul 29, 2013 6:22 pm

Finally making the trip out west...Flying out August 8th for 5 nights. Better late than never! We'll have four full days, and could even push it to a fifth to try to do three 14ers. We'd like to backpack and camp somewhere but will go to a campground if we can/have to. Question...is it generally safe to leave a site unattended provided we backpack and find a place to setup camp? I'd hate to return and find things missing. I know there are no guarantees, but does anyone have any input on this? I've camped a lot in Kentucky and North Carolina, and have never had a problem.

I have to sift through all the responses I've gotten to my original post regarding where to go when we get there. Thanks again for all the great advice!

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Re: Camping Location Advise

Postby Wildernessjane » Tue Jul 30, 2013 7:12 am

CincinnatiJeff wrote:Finally making the trip out west...Flying out August 8th for 5 nights. Better late than never! We'll have four full days, and could even push it to a fifth to try to do three 14ers. We'd like to backpack and camp somewhere but will go to a campground if we can/have to. Question...is it generally safe to leave a site unattended provided we backpack and find a place to setup camp? I'd hate to return and find things missing. I know there are no guarantees, but does anyone have any input on this? I've camped a lot in Kentucky and North Carolina, and have never had a problem.

I have to sift through all the responses I've gotten to my original post regarding where to go when we get there. Thanks again for all the great advice!


Of course there are never any guarantees, but we've never had a problem and people do it all the time. Just don't leave your pack when you climb up the final stretch on a peak (seems some people consider this "litter" and see it as free for the taking---plus the marmot can get to it).

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Re: Camping Location Advise

Postby johnt » Tue Jul 30, 2013 8:09 am

I agree with wildernessjane in that I've never had a problem at a campsite. Don't leave food in your tent, obviously. And marmots love to chew on anything, especially sweaty boots, packstraps, and pole grips.
Many people have recommended the Sawatch Range. I agree. I live in Buena Vista, so am familiar with them all. The mountains are beautiful and great for less experienced climbers. Trails are well-designed and fairly easy to follow. Rent an SUV, camp at Winfield or thereabouts, and do Huron as your first mountain. (you could probably hitch a ride to the trailhead, too. You don't need an SUV to get to Winfield.) The wildflowers are splendid. Then you can do a double with Oxford/Belford. I'd recommend the regular route up, then Elkhead Pass down. If you want a challenge, Missouri steps it up a bit. Or try the alternate route up the south side of La Plata from Winfield. You'll probably be almost alone on that one. Make sure you have good map/compass skills and plenty of time. Or backpack into Horn Fork Basin, do Harvard, then Columbia the next day. Don't try them as a double yet. Much too long and strenuous, and you're above timberline for
several hours.
Please forgive me if I underestimate your mountain experience, but make sure you're aware of storms. The advice of being off the peak by noon is because our storms usually move in after that. Being above treeline in a lightning storm can be deadly. Our storms almost always
come from the west, so watch in that direction. Getting to the summit is optional. Getting home, mandatory.
Have fun, and I'm looking forward to your trip report!

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