Southwest Colorado - A birdseye view

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Highlander
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Southwest Colorado - A birdseye view

Post by Highlander » Fri Apr 02, 2010 1:54 am

This room was set for forumers to post regarding their favorite places.  Most of the pictures I've ever posted on this forum are from Europe but I thought I'd show something a bit different.  My favorite place in the world (and I've seen a lot of it) is SW Colorado.  I had the pleasure of making several trips to the area and backpacked and climbed in all the wilderness areas in the San Juan mountains.  You won't find much urbanity here, but I thought it would be nice as spring arrives and people are wondering what to do with summer vacation.

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Silverton from Hwy 550 south of town.  The only "urban" area in this thread and one of the more isolated cities in the US (separated from the outside world by high passes on either side)

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Looking into the Weminuche Wilderness from near Creede Colorado.  A lot of gaudy vacation homes have been built in this area as of late ruining much of the ambience.  Stupid Texans.  My wife and I were headed for the high point in the picture.

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Backpaking into the Weminuche wilderness along the headwaters of the Rio Grande


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In the wilderness area



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View from the top and deep into the Weminuche Wilderness.  Largest wilderness in colorado and one of the largest in the lower 48.  A few pictures of climbing in the rugged mountains in the background later.  They are called the Needles.

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Another view from the top.  The high mountains in the background are just west of Silverton

A couple of pictures from hiking in the Lake City area.

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Uncompaghre Peak is the highest point in SW Colorado but it's a very gentle peak compared to its neighbor, the Wetterhorn.


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Next few slides are the last little bit on the Wetterhorn.  Lot's of exposure.
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A less out-of-focus view of Uncompagre from the Wetterhorn

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my dog atop another 14,000' peak in the Lake City area

Over to Telluride.....

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Wislon Peak is the recognizable backdrop to the town of Telluride

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Almost to the top of Wilson Peak.  Note the climbers oat the bottom of the photo for scale.

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Success.  My wife on the summit.

Just north of Telluride and west of Ouray is an area called Yankee Boy Basin.  It's a veritable garden of wildflowers in the early summer and IMO is the most beautiful place on the planet.  It's unfortunately not a secret but at least they have banned vehicles from high in the basin now.

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Flowers in Yankee Boy Basin.  These pictures are from several trips to the area and climbs of Mt Sneffels.

High in Yankee Boy Basin
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My first trip into the basin was a long time ago....and views were obscured by the famed Yellowstone fires (the gray smog low on the horizon).  Picture from the top of Mt Sneffels.  I ended up coming back 3 times.  Beautiful place.

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Making the crux move on the Sneffels climb, it's only a modest climb but the move is exposed.

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View from the top of Sneffels
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same view different trip/lighting conditions and time of year

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View into Yankee Boy Basin

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Another view from the top of Sneffels

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The descent

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Further down, wildflowers start to take hold wherever possible.

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A little break from mountains

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We made several backpack/climbing trips into the Needle mountains which are in the heart of the Weminuche Wilderness.  Each trip began with a train ride from Durango to Needleton.

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My wife approaching 14000' Eolus Peak on a ridge known as the Sidewalk in the Sky to Colorado climbers

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A little further along with the "sidewalk" in the background.  Some serious exposure at this point.
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The way forward


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View from top

At it again the next day climbing the other two 14,000' peaks in the area

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Mountain goats
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Sunlight Peak (left) and Windom (right)

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And more often than not, back down to the train in the rain.

Hope that was enjoyable.  My apologies for the dopey travelogue.
Last edited by Highlander on Fri Apr 02, 2010 10:34 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Southwest Colorado - A birdseye view

Post by Joe Smith » Fri Apr 02, 2010 7:23 am

Very nice. If you hadn't provided the comments I would of assumed you might of been in Chile or Peru.

Thanks for the Friday morning view.
There's nothing wrong with shooting as long as the right people get shot.   Harry Callahan

For every moment of triumph, for every instance of beauty, many souls must be trampled.  Hunter S. Thompson

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Re: Southwest Colorado - A birdseye view

Post by taxi » Fri Apr 02, 2010 7:26 am

You are one lucky man. Hold onto her. I gave up climbing with girls. Last time I was down there, I was about a quarter mile from the peak of Mt. Wilson and my girlfriend started crying. We descended; but, in retrospect, I shoulda left her there.

Also one of my favorite areas. I tend to go to the Sangre De Christo range, because it's so much closer. But the San Juans are worth it.
"Hit it, lick it, split it and quit it." -James Brown

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Re: Southwest Colorado - A birdseye view

Post by Roanoker » Fri Apr 02, 2010 8:21 am

What utterly fantastic pictures! Thank you for taking them and the time to post them.

So you married a teenager. You are indeed fortunate to have her.
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Re: Southwest Colorado - A birdseye view

Post by warwickland » Fri Apr 02, 2010 9:07 am

thanks for sharing these. i've never been in this area, but i am familiar with the Sangres, and hope to return someday to southern Colorado (perhaps to this area...).

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Re: Southwest Colorado - A birdseye view

Post by Highlander » Fri Apr 02, 2010 9:55 am

Roanoker wrote: What utterly fantastic pictures! Thank you for taking them and the time to post them.

So you married a teenager. You are indeed fortunate to have her.
Ha.  These pictures weren't exactly taken yesterday (and she was older at the time than she looks).  It helps to have a human in mountain pictures to emphasize scale.  I bought a high quality digital slide scanner at Christmas and finally getting around to doing some scanning.    
taxi wrote: I gave up climbing with girls. Last time I was down there, I was about a quarter mile from the peak of Mt. Wilson and my girlfriend started crying. We descended; but, in retrospect, I shoulda left her there.

Also one of my favorite areas. I tend to go to the Sangre De Christo range, because it's so much closer. But the San Juans are worth it.
Mt Wilson is serious proposition.  I hope your girlfriend was not a novice, the last few hundred meters on Mt Wilson is across an extremely exposed ridge with some difficult bouldering....had she not quit, she may have freaked out on you there.

I love the Sangre de Cristos too.  The 14'ers are challenging with logistical difficulties like long steep approaches and Little Bear may be the most dangerous peak in the state.  We were unfortunate enough to observe an unsuccessful rescue attempt on Little Bear.
Last edited by Highlander on Fri Apr 02, 2010 10:26 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Southwest Colorado - A birdseye view

Post by mlind » Fri Apr 02, 2010 11:27 am

Colorado offers so much for vacationers, it's hard to choose.  Beautiful mountains, Mesa Verde, Great Sand Dune National Park, historic mining towns, great skiing, fishing, etc.

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Re: Southwest Colorado - A birdseye view

Post by heatherkay » Fri Apr 02, 2010 4:36 pm

taxi wrote: I gave up climbing with girls.
Maybe you'd do better if you dated women instead of girls  :?

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Re: Southwest Colorado - A birdseye view

Post by loftguy » Sat Apr 03, 2010 2:27 pm

Thanks Highlander. 

We have had Colorado blue bird skies in KC today and I was already half in the San Juans before coming across your posting.

It's likely my favorite place on the planet, too.

Regarding the girl/women conundrum, and it's true of the boy/man of the species.  It's often hard to tell which you're really encountering until you're making a difficult climb.

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Re: Southwest Colorado - A birdseye view

Post by Highlander » Sat Apr 03, 2010 2:32 pm

loftguy wrote: Regarding the girl/women conundrum, and it's true of the boy/man of the species.  It's often hard to tell which you're really encountering until you're making a difficult climb.
That would be boy/man/old man.  Now that I am on the other side of 50, my heart is still in it (and apparently still in pretty good shape) but the knees ache badly. 

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Re: Southwest Colorado - A birdseye view

Post by ShowME » Sun Apr 04, 2010 12:06 am

HOLY SHIT.  Nice pics of a rare part of the U.S. that seems unspoiled by all the trash throwing D-Bags this country has to offer.  Your hiking prowess rules as well.  You can breathe now.
Last edited by ShowME on Sun Apr 04, 2010 12:13 am, edited 1 time in total.
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