Peak(s):  Ouray, Mt  -  13,971 feet
Date Posted:  11/22/2010
Modified:  08/24/2011
Date Climbed:   11/20/2010
Author:  Floyd
Additional Members:   astrobassman

 Slow Day on Ouray  

It's late so I'll keep the commentary brief. Colin and I met at 3:00 in Morrison and arrived at the Marshall Pass TH at 6:15. The last 2 miles or so was through 6-8" of snow but we had tracks to follow until the last 1/2 mile or so. We left the snowshoes in the car, but I began to rethink that strategy a little ways up the trail as the snow was getting progressively deeper, probably maxing out at around 1.5 feet in depth. At the end of the day, I was glad I hadn't hauled them up the mountain though. The snow was very light and powdery so it was easy to trudge through and shoes would have been useless. We split east from the trail across a nice field in an attempt to gain the SW face that was looking pretty bare. Unfortunately, we ended up on a ridge descending from point 12,685, essentially at the end of the 4WD road on the topo. We ascended the ridge and were met with the forecasted 45 MPH winds once at the base of the west ridge. Wind was at our backs for the ascent but I was having trouble breathing with my mask on coupled with the cold air/elevation. Colin beat me to the summit by about 15 minutes, but oddly as soon as we stepped onto the summit, the wind stopped. We enjoyed the clear skies and scenery for about 20 minutes. The views surprised me as I had no idea we were that close to Uncompahgre/Lake City Group and the Stewart/San Luis/La Guaritas. Obviously, the southern Sawatch were right next door, but we could see 7 ranges: San Juans, Elks, Sawatch, Front, Tenmile, Mosquito, and the northern Sangres which were looking incredibly dry. We originally wanted to try and nab 13,472 as well, but the snow made our progress exceedingly slow. I was also feeling the effects of lack of oxygen as I had a pounding headache so we just took our time and returned to the car.

Once we started the descent, we were met again by the strong winds directly in our faces. Colin was pulling ahead as my headache worsened. At this point, I was extremely lightheaded and negotiating the snowy rocks was taking all of my concentration. Thanks to Colin for being patient with me as he took shelter every so often behind some outcrops and waited for me to catch up. Finally we made it back to 12,685 and descended directly back to the TH. We were lucky to sneak this one in just before the TH will require a snowmobile. All in all, a great day - clear skies, incredible scenery, and good company. I can live with the pounding headache that is finally starting to subside 2 days (and several ibuprofen) later.

Colin on the approach

Sunrise on Mt. Antora

Ouray's SW Face

Approaching the West Ridge

Base of the West Ridge

Southern Sawatch

La Guaritas

Northern Sangres

Mt. Antora from Ouray's summit

Pikes Peak

Point 13,472

Colin on the Summit

Me on the Summit

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

 Comments or Questions

Nice Day on Ouray
11/23/2010 20:17
It was good to finally get out after such a busy fall. Looking forward to getting back to the mountains this winter.


11/24/2010 17:50
That's a fine late season effort on that peak!

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