Peak(s):  South Arapaho Pk  -  13,397 feet
"Old Baldy"  -  13,038 feet
Date Posted:  07/06/2010
Modified:  07/07/2010
Date Climbed:   07/04/2010
Author:  harrise
 South Arapaho -- Sans Couloirs  

Growing up in Rollinsville, I have been up Fourth of July Trail more than any other trail in the state. Still, it wasn't until the summer of 2008 that I started my adult hiking phase at 28 years old (11 years after the last hike). That year Arapaho Pass and 12,000 feet worked me over good. Throw in another couple dozen hikes, a few 14ers and South Arapaho sounded like a walk in the park.

Coincidentally, Independence Day was the day that worked for our party's schedule. We left Loveland at 3:00am, but had to drive the speed limit because of the State's presence. Two whole frickin' hours later we parked at the trailhead and headed out. For a holiday weekend the lack of cars on the road was surprising. The road up to the trailhead is manageable by virtually any vehicle, just take care after the Hessie Trail parking area for a half mile or so.

There was quite a bit of runoff compared to my previous trips in the area. Extra socks came in handy...

Approaching the mine...

The trail is self explanatory. You hike through the trees and up (follow the signs for "Arapaho Glacier Trail"), until the right turn at the mine. A slightly wider stream crossing greets you after the mine and then it's up and into the tundra from there...

Getting close to four miles and 12,600', the saddle between "Old Baldy" and South Arapaho greets you. On this day, the clouds were beginning to thin out and the layer below had that ocean look to it...

From this point forward the trail is a hodgepodge of spiderweb arms leading every which way. It's really not that hard, but I had two dogs with me that were still a bit rough around the edges on class 2 rock. I found hugging the ridge as far right as possible yielded the best lines. If memory serves me right, there are three main pitches to the summit from the saddle (pitches in a mere mortal sense). At the second pitch, I went about 10-15 yards left of the edge and found the main schizophrenically cairned route to the summit...

The points of interest marker was scratched up pretty good. I still managed to find a suitable angle for a pic...

Here's me and the wife. We've lost over 100 pounds collectively since New Year's Day. Turns out that DOES make a difference in a person's endurance...

The hike down was quite easy. Being that the trail was blatantly obvious from above...

As the others went down from the saddle, I decided to throw "Old Baldy" in for good measure. Hell, we're thinking Halo Ridge next week, better cram in some extra credit while it counts...

All in all it was a great day out in the Indian Peaks. Usually I'm jamming my way through crowds on this trail. But this was an exceptional day with impeccable timing. We were the first summit, and encountered maybe a dozen folks on the way down (half of them in denim and no packs). People, stop giving us responsible dog hikers a bad name!!! I've never seen so much waste and disregard for any sort of etiquette. Hell in a handbasket I tell ya'.

With Pt. 13,038:
12.44 miles round trip
3,754 feet vertical gain
7 hours, 8 minutes
5:10AM start time

 Comments or Questions

07/07/2010 04:46
Those cloud formations are incredible!

07/07/2010 15:59
Beautiful pictures, beautiful dogs and congrats on the weight loss. Fantastic!


Thanks, everyone!
07/07/2010 16:19
The weight control sucks, but losing the equivalent of nearly two poorly stuffed 40L packs is awesome. I can‘t out the official numbers without hearing about it later. We actually committed to the New Year‘s thing this year. Feels great, and I‘m on track to crush my hiking goals for 2010.

Glad my P&S camera shots are getting better.

07/09/2010 16:13
Congrats on the summit, the beautiful photos and the weight loss! I must ask... How did you create that wonderful Google map of your route?



The Route...
07/12/2010 12:24
was tracked on my Android phone with MyTracks, and I send it to my Google account. Then open it in the Maps>My Maps tab and view in Google Earth. It takes a while playing around with the perspective to get a good view like that. Then I ctrl+alt+a and fly around in the simulator looking at all the hikes I‘ve done. Wastes a lot time that does.

07/13/2010 19:38
Thanks for the info... I‘ll have to check that out.

Brian C

Cool photos
08/23/2010 14:48
Ditto on losing 199 pounds between you. That‘s awesome!


I‘m happy to hear of your loss...
01/19/2011 03:38
...100 pounds between the two of you. Since new year‘s day 2010? That's impressive, and I'm sure you're enjoying your time in the mountains a lot more.
Oh, and nice trip report. Thanks for posting.


amazing picture angles!
05/09/2011 17:48
Very cool!

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