Peak(s):  London Mtn  -  13,194 feet
Kuss Pk  -  13,548 feet
Hoosier Ridge  -  13,352 feet
Red Mtn C  -  13,229 feet
Red Pk A  -  13,215 feet
Date Posted:  11/12/2014
Date Climbed:   11/06/2014
Author:  SolarAlex
 Fall Fun  


10/25/14
Hoosier Ridge 13352'
Red Mtn C 13229'
Red Peak A 13215'
Distance: 11.5, 3700' gain (estimation based on other trip reports)



Its been a pretty dry fall so far in Summit county. Disappointing for sure, but warm, sunny weather is a nice consolation prize. Since moving to Breckenridge, I have been trying to do as many of the local peaks as possible. I woke up on the 25th around 8 to absolutely perfect weather...one of the clearest days I'd ever seen. I decided that it couldn't be wasted and set off for Hoosier Pass, with the intention of hiking Silverheels.

I parked and started up the road to the radio towers around 10. The approach up the road went quickly, and soon I was at the radio towers. I couldn't believe how blue the sky was. The views all around were beautiful. Prior to this year I hadn't done a lot of solo hiking, but this summer I feel like I reached a point where I have the confidence to head out alone. I actually really enjoy hiking alone... there is something very zen about the silence of the mountains, just your footsteps, breathing and the sound of the wind.

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The next objective was clear: get to the top of the grassy hill. I passed a couple and their very friendly puppy on my way up the hill. These were the first and last people I would see today. The route is obvious and the hiking easy. Once I gained the top of the hill, I was somewhat concerned to see that the north spur up Silverheels looked to be pretty snowy/icy and steeper than I thought. I didn't bother bringing my microspikes, so as I hiked up and down over the bumps on the ridge, I decided a change of plans was in order. Id hike up Hoosier ridge and potentially hit the 2 reds as well, depending on how I was feeling.

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I reached the point where the ridge turns left and started up towards Hoosier Ridge...The true summit is the farthest point on the ridge, naturally!

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Undeterred by the distance to the summit, I put my headphones in and listened to pink floyd the rest of the way. Glorious. There was lots of up and down, some snow and lots photos along the way, and I reached the summit around 1230.

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The views are pretty incredible in any direction....front range to the east, gores to the north, 10 mile to the west and then the mosquito range to the south. I thought I saw a person on red peak A, but I think i was just imagining it. It was great being the only person around for miles in any direction.


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I quickly decided to add the other 2 peaks onto the agenda, and started off towards red mtn C first. I dropped off the summit and headed north, skirting around red peak A.

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This was probably the worst part of the day, trying to pick my way down snowy talus. Once I reached the saddle, the remaining hike was easy and obvious. There is one section of larger, somewhat loose light colored blocks right past the saddle that requires some care, but its nothing difficult. I made the summit of Red Mtn C about 50 minutes after departing the summit of Hoosier ridge. Again, the views were absolutely stellar.

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I turned around and reversed my route down to the saddle, and then made my way up the snowy talus to the summit ridge of Red Peak A.

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I was starting to feel all the up and down in my legs, and was relieved to make the summit of A about 40 minutes after leaving C.

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I didn't linger long, as I was ready to start the rolling trek back down to my truck...This route seems much longer on the way back. Up and down and up and down and on and on and eventually you pass the final hill and begin the descent down to the road. It was very nice hiking down in the afternoon light. I made it back down to my truck around 4.

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This isn't a thrilling route by any stretch, but it has nice views and offers some solitude. I spotted a gully on the ridge leading to hoosier ridge that looks like it could be a fun ski this spring. All in all a very nice solo day in the hills.



11/6/14
London Mtn 13194'
Kuss Peak 13548'
Distance 7.5 miles 2600' gain



Originally this was intended to be a longer loop of the 13ers around Mosquito Gulch, including Mosquito Peak, Treasurevault and Tweto. However, this wasn't meant to be. Just as we were getting ready to walk out the door, I got a work call which delayed us about 45 minutes. All that jibber jabbering on the phone made me hungry, so we had to stop and get something for breakfast before FINALLY heading south towards Alma about 10am. We made it to the trailhead around 1045, and parked where Bill suggests in the London Mtn route description. Just past this parking area the road was covered in rock solid ice...pretty sure no one is getting higher than where we parked until spring.

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The crux of the entire day was navigating the ice patches on the road. Required some careful route finding, that was for sure. We hiked up the road through some sugary snow and came upon the London mine...very cool.

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From this point, the road was in the shade and was pretty chilly. There was also significantly more snow, with a couple wind drifts being knee deep or more. Soon we reached the London - Kuss saddle, and started up the ridge to London.

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The ridge looks difficult, but really its very easy. Its all class 2 and there is a light use trail in many segments, and the route finding is very straight forward. Usually the route stays left of the ridge crest. There was a little snow in places but it was pretty dry compared to the road.

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There are several false summits, but the ridge goes by quickly and soon we reached the summit. The views were incredible all around. It was pretty windy, but there were a few large boulders to hide behind and have a quick summit snack. We snapped a few photos and turned around, heading back towards the saddle. Reversing the route was easy and soon enough we were starting up Kuss.

Hiking up Kuss was one of the more unpleasant things I've done recently. Enough snow to be troublesome and plenty of loose talus. I think doing this peak with full snow cover would be the way to go. Looks like it could be a fun ski. There was a helicopter flying circles around the area, presumably doing some kind of training since it was flying the exact same route on each loop. It was probably only a couple hundred feet above us. Joe decided to show them the dark side of the moon...not sure if they saw it or not but it was pretty funny, especially when he almost got blown over by a gust of wind.

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We made our way up and found the "crux" of the day...a snowfield leading to a small step up to the ridge. The rock was extremely loose and rotten enough that i ripped off two phonebook sized pieces of rock while searching for a handhold. We made our way past this obstacle and trudged up the ridge to the summit and its radio towers. There is a pretty elaborate structure up there, complete with 6 solar panels powering it. I can't imagine the kind of winds those panels are subjected to up there, but they looked to be anchored pretty securely. Pretty cool!

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By now it was almost 130 and we had to make a decision about the rest of the loop. After some deliberation, we decided to call it here. we still had a considerable distance to cover over the remaining peaks and the route back to the truck was somewhat unknown...we knew that the general direction we were trying to go, but if the ridge took us too long we could be out there in the dark wandering around, which would be unpleasant to say the least. When in doubt, I usually tend to err on the side of caution.

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We hiked back down the way we came, which was even worse going down. Plenty of opportunities to break leg or twist an ankle when you punched through the snow into a gap between rocks. Slowly and gingerly, we made our way back down to the road, and enjoyed the hike out in the fading afternoon light. The mine looked really cool in the shadows. We made it back to the truck about 3PM, for about a 4 hour day. Im really looking forward to coming back and getting the rest of the peaks we left behind!

Just as a side note, when I started writing this report it was dry and sunny and I was walking around in shorts and flip flops. Now there is over a foot of snow on the ground with more on the way and its 5 degrees outside. Winter is here!




Rocco seems pleased with the snow.




Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
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 Comments or Questions
Jay521

Nice!
11/13/2014 16:14
Nice pics and narrative, Alex! I love that area.


BillMiddlebrook

Dont tell anyone...
11/14/2014 18:17
That I got a nice summit pano from the top of that Kuss radio building last year:
pano


SolarAlex

Sweet photo Bill
11/15/2014 17:02
We actually thought about climbing up there but decided against it. Kinda wish I had now.

Thanks Jay, its definitely one of my new favorite areas.



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