Twig Adventures

#20 of 20: Longs Peak 14,255′

05:00-15:00, Wednesday, 8-19-20 CO 14ers: 25 of 53 Distance RT: 15 miles Elevation gain/loss: 5,100′ Starting Elevation: 9,400′ Summit: 14,255′ Rank: 15 of 53 Location: Front Range, NW of Boulder Route: Keyhole, Class 3 Companions: Stellar My final 14er of 2020 was a fitting one. I’d started the season with one of the biggest challenges, in terms of distance and elevation gain: Pikes Peak. I finished on an equally challenging peak, which was also probably my favorite hike the whole season…that’s saying a lot. Interestingly, Longs and Pikes Peak share a connection in that they both sit on the front range, rising over 9,000 feet above the Great Plains. It’s this similarity that resulted in the naming of Longs Peak.[…]

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#19 of 20: Quandary Peak 14,265′

06:30-11:30, Tuesday, 8-18-20 CO 14ers: 24 of 53 Distance RT: 6.75 miles Elevation gain/loss: 3,450′ Starting Elevation: 10,850′ Summit: 14,265′ Rank: 13 of 53 Location: Tenmile Range, south of Breckenridge Route: East Ridge, Class 1 Companions: Stellar & Sandy This will be a short post since so too was the hike. As had been our style all summer, we came up with plans the day before. After regrouping briefly in Buena Vista, we decided to go for an easy hike the next morning. Yes, easy as 14ers can get, that is. We also had to be cognizant of the wildfires that were starting to blaze throughout the state.  Several 14ers were inaccessible due to road closures on I-70 and 82.[…]

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#17 & #18 of 20: Mt Columbia 14,073′ & Mt Harvard 14,420′

06:30-15:30, Monday, 8-17-20 CO 14ers: 22 & 23 of 53 Distance RT: 15 miles Elevation gain/loss: 6,100′ Starting Elevation: 9,900′ Summits: 14,073′ & 14,420′ Rank: 35 & 3 of 53 Location: Sawatch Range, Collegiate Peaks, west of Buena Vista Route: N. Cottonwood Creek Trail to west slopes of Columbia, north and east on ridge to Harvard, back down the south slopes, counterclockwise, Class 2 Companions: Stellar After a week away from 14ers, we were ready for some more. I joined Sandy and Stellar the day before in Buena Vista, where we did some tubing on the Arkansas River park rapids. We’d found the tube on a hike down Grape Creek, outside of Canon City, a few days prior. We’d taken[…]

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#15 & #16 of 20: Challenger Point 14,081′ & Kit Carson Peak 14,165′

06:00-15:00, Monday, 8-10-20 CO 14ers: 20 & 21 of 53 Distance RT: 15.5 miles Elevation gain/loss: 6,250′ Starting Elevation: 8,850′ Summits: 14,081′ & 14,165′ Rank: 34 & 23 of 53 Location: Central Sangre De Cristos Range, east of Crestone Route: Willow Lake Trail to the North Slope of Challenger Point, along the Kit Carson Avenue to Kit Carson Peak, Easy Class 3 Companions: Stellar & Sandy Leaving Blanca behind, one thing was sure: I didn’t have the energy to do another 14er the very next day. Like the week before, 2 days in a row was cool, but not 3. I could sense that my friends wanted a break as well. We headed to the tiny hamlet of Crestone to[…]

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#13 & #14 of 20: Blanca Peak 14,345′ & Ellingwood Point 14,042′

06:00-15:00, Saturday, 8-08-20 CO 14ers: 18 & 19 of 53 Distance RT: 18 miles Elevation gain/loss: 6,800′ Starting Elevation: 8,000′ Summits: 14,345′ & 14,042′ Rank: 4 & 43 of 53 Location: Southern Sangre De Cristos Range, east of Alamosa Route: Lake Como 4WD road to the Northwest Ridge of Blanca, then South Face of Ellingwood, difficult Class 2 Companions: Stellar & Sandy After driving a few hours to basically get from the eastern side of the Blanca/Lindsey massif to the western side, with a stop for an early dinner in between, we were staged for a repeat performance. We would hike 5.5 miles up a 4WD road, then conquer the peaks the next morning. The standard routes for the 3[…]

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#12 of 20: Mt. Lindsey 14,042′

06:30-13:00, Friday, 8-07-20 CO 14ers: 17 of 53 Distance RT: 13 miles Elevation gain/loss: 3,500′ Starting Elevation: 10,700′ Summit: 14,042′ Rank: 42 of 53 Location: Southern Sangre De Cristos Range, southwest of Gardner Route: CR 580 to Upper Huerfano/Lily Lake Trailhead to the Northwest Gully, easy Class 3 Companions: Stellar & Sandy We’d all gone back to Canon City for a few days of R&R. Sandy and Stellar had decided to extend their vacation in CO, reluctant to head back to Ohio. There was still plenty to explore and we were getting along great with our spur-of-the-moment planning. We shifted our focus to the Sangre De Cristo range, coming up with a rough plan to visit JR in Rosita and[…]

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#11 of 20: Mt. Yale 14,196′ & Trail Angels on the CT/CDT

06:30-13:00, Sunday, 8-02-20 CO 14ers: 16 of 53 Distance RT: 10 miles Elevation gain/loss: 5,000′ Starting Elevation: 9,400′ Summit: 14,196′ Rank: 21 of 53 Location: Sawatch Range, Collegiate Peaks, west of Buena Vista Route: Avalanche Trailhead, north on CT, up East Ridge, down Southwest Slopes to Denny Creek Trailhead/HWY 306, Class 2. Companions: Stellar & Sandy I was feeling pretty good after our marathon of 5 14ers in 2 days, that is until the 3rd day. Then I felt like this: After Bierstadt and Evans, the 3 of us had decided to head for Buena Vista for the night. The plan was to hike one of the Collegiate Peaks the next day. After dinner and a night tenting at a[…]

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