Redcliff - 13,642 feet
PT 13,377 - 13,377 feet
PT 13,206 - 13,206 feet
Redcliff - 13,642 feet
PT 13,377 - 13,377 feet
PT 13,206 - 13,206 feet
|Chasing Pea Body|
Pt 13,206 & Pt 13,377
I've put off a trip to the Cimarron because of the notorious scree, but in order to scope the worst peaks out for the future, I had do do a few of the less heinous ones. The drive over Owl Creek Pass was quite pleasant. A POS city car with 3" of clearance can drive this pass, and get within 1.4mi of the upper trailhead. One such car from Alabama let me pass, since it was going 3mph due to it's low clearance. While I would recommend high clearance for this TH, it is Subaruable - ONLY IF you know what you are doing. There are a few spots that could prove tricky to a city dweller.
I camped near the trailhead for 3 nights, which is my favorite thing to do. Not having to move camp is glorious! The meadow is pretty spectacular and was photographed pretty extensively while relaxing after hiking.
I chose to do my longer trek on the best weather day (that I knew of). Got up and was out before the sunrise. 3.1 miles up to the West Fork Pass went pretty rapidly. Especially since I couldn't photograph anything till I got higher due to the low light. As I would be on the trail multiple days, it didn't matter.
Took a short break at the pass, and noted the slight cell reception. I check mainly because I am a caregiver, and get calls from hospitals on the regular.
A nice trail drops down to the other side, into Wetterhorn Basin. Soon the cut off trail/route for Coxcomb saddle arrives and I happily take it, to avoid the loss of elevation. There is no "trail" just posts to mark the route.
From the saddle, it's easy to bypass with first ridge bump to the north to get a view of the first peak today, 13,206'
I ascended the peak on the rocky section to the left of the snowfield. To the right looked way too much loose scree and talus for my taste. I'd rather have a bit steeper and more stable talus!
It was nice to finally be on another new 13er after a month away. Life has a way of preventing what you'd rather do, but so it goes.
After a short break, since I figured I would be coming back this way again, I was off to peak #2. You drop to the north/left of the first gendarme and to the right of the second on small game trails. Though that second is where the nasty scree is. Pick your poison - it all sucks.
The route up 13,377 stays pretty close to the ridge, but just to the left under the gendarmes. Lower it is all scree, so there's a good use trail at the rock boundary.
From the summit of 13,377 I get a better view of the weakness up to the Coxcomb - Redcliff saddle. I had been contemplating going up there to add on Redcliff, instead of dropping down and around to West Fork Pass, as I did on the way here. But there appeared to be lingering snow in the scree chute at the top. I didn't bring snow gear, and didn't want all that effort to be thwarted just below the saddle. So I figured I had to decide from a return over 13,206 or dropping into Wetterhorn Basin early. I went with the latter. No need to side hill that nasty scree a second time!
After a nice break on the summit, it was time to return. No storms building today, but I still had to get up a pass along the way home. I got down to the saddle with the scree bump, and found a nice grassy way down to the basin below. The lower section cliffs out in spots, so I ended up having to go into a scree gully for the final descent. Dropping closer to 13,377 might be better, except at the very top.
The romp down Wetterhorn basin was quite pleasant, and I took every opportunity to photograph the wildflowers and angles on Wetterhorn that I'd never seen before.
After a short break at the saddle I made my way down. There is a nasty loose scree section just below on the north side, but after that, the trail is quite nice. Just as I was breathing a sigh of relief that I was done with the scree for the day, and back on rolling tundra, a dog comes running up to me, quite friendly. I figured his humans had to be around the bend in the trail, so I didn't think too much of it. But as I rounded that bend, his humans weren't there. That's when I called the dog to me, introduced myself, and looked at his tags on his collar. Pea Body with a 970 area code phone #. A local Coloradan pup. Pea Body heeled me quite well, and only deviated when I took a short break, and he went into the shade for a bit.
I took the photos mainly as a remembrance, since his humans HAD to be on the big slope just around the next bend. But as I got to that view down to the valley below, and I saw no one, I realized I now had a dog. Pea Body was separated from his humans. Was it that day? A couple days? I don't know.
I'm a cat person. I've been deathly allergic to dogs for most of my life, and it's only been recently with being Paleo for 9 years, that the allergy seems to be waning. So I don't exactly know how to take care of a dog. I've watched my friends with dogs, so I have some clue. But what should I feed him? Where would he sleep tonight? A ton of questions were running through my head. Should I hike tomorrow with him? Should I drive out to cell service tonight to call the owners? I had planned 2 more days in the basin, if the scree wasn't too bad. I didn't have a leash, but since he was heeling nicely, was it necessary? He seemed to come to me with the basic commands that I know most dogs should understand.
As I started going down the big slope, Pea Body took off running down the trail. PHEW, his slow ass humans must be down there! As I reached the concavity in the trail, 2 backpacking ladies came up the trail and immediately said "Is this your dog?". No... I thought he was yours! We then start talking about who else was on the trail as they were coming up. I had seen fresh horse tracks, but they didn't ask them about the dog. Apparently the backpackers had been watching Pea Body run up and down the pass as they were coming up the valley. As we chatted about what we were going to do about the dog, Pea Body ran back up the trail towards the Pass. We tried to call him back down to us, but he only slowed and looked at us, before continuing uphill. I didn't have 1K of elevation gain left in me today, so I told the backpackers to prepare a leash and that there was cell service at the saddle. The backpackers would be in the basin till Friday, 3 days away, and didn't have much extra food, but they thought they would have a little. No one else was on the other side of the pass, that I saw, so they now had a dog for their trip.
I hiked down and worried about what would happen to Pea Body, since I know how badly I would feel if my pet was lost!
I slept a little bit longer today, since the weather was supposed to also be fairly nice. I was going to do Redcliff and maybe Fortress, if I could find a good route. Fortress looked like steep scree, so I wasn't exactly looking forward to that. Plus I had though to see if Pea Body was still loose. Taking him home would be a good excuse to skip a scree ascent on a peak.
The wilderness cows are moving down valley... By Thursday morning, they were around the trailhead
I knew the main drainage from the Redcliff Coxcomb saddle was pretty eroded and cliffy, I went up the drainage to the north, and angled into the main one. I went up the trail further than needed, since I was looking for signs of Pea Body. I brought cord and extra food, if I saw him again
There's a small scree gully that divides the cliff bands surrounding the saddle. I stayed on the talus on the ascent, and took the scree "trail" down. Oh bicentennials now with trails... so many hikers!
Nearing the saddle, I stayed very high to the left under the cliff bands, where it seemed more stable. But then you come on to a white conglomerate rock section that is pretty nasty. Had to pull scrambly moves to get up this nasty section. Going down will SUCK!
At the saddle I could breathe easier, the remainder of the route was easy and obvious.
I got cell at the saddle and quickly made a post on 14ers FB about Pea Body. If I found the dog and brought him out, I may need help caring for him till he can meet his humans again.
I stayed on the summit for quite a while. Precipice looked nasty-ass-tasty. That can wait for snow or another day. I had no motivation. I was too worried about Pea Body getting away from the backpackers, and still being loose.
The descent sucked, just as much as I had imagined. Though going down the scree trail was a it easier than it would have been to go up it.
I deviated towards the trail up to the pass, so I could call for Pea Body. I saw 2 ladies coming down from the pass, so I went to meet them and ask if they had seen a dog. They didn't, so that means that Pea Body was likely with the backpackers and I did all that I could for him. I had posted about Pea Body in the trail register and took photos of the names for the past week, but not everyone signs in or makes comments. Maybe the backpackers will see and let me know the outcome. I can only hope he will be OK.
I hiked out and it started to sprinkle rain lightly. I ended up having to eat my dinner in my truck, since it rained for most of the evening. The next day I had thought to hike Precipice, since it was RIGHT there. But the scree looked heinous, and my feet said no. At least I got a nice break from adulting for a few days. That returned on my drive home soon enough. C'est la vie!
My GPS Tracks on Google Maps (made from a .GPX file upload):
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