On Walkabout at: The Denver Museum of Nature & Science

Basic Information

Picture from Denver Science & Nature Museum

Narrative

My family really loves stopping by the Denver Museum of Nature & Science which has become one of our most visited places in Colorado despite us living an hour and half away in Colorado Springs.  The museum is easily accessed off of I-25 at Colorado Boulevard and by following the road to the large City Park where the museum is located next to the Denver Zoo:

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On Walkabout On: Pikes Peak via Barr Trail (July 2014)

Basic Information

  • Name: Pikes Peak
  • Where: Colorado Springs, Colorado
  • Max Elevation: 14,410 feet
  • Distance:  11 miles one-way
  • Elevation Gain: 7,500 feet
  • Time: 5-8 hours one-way
  • Difficulty: EasyModerateHardDifficult
  • More Information: 14ers.com

Route Up Pikes Peak

Topographic Map of Barr Trail

Barr Trail Map

Elevation Map of Barr Trail

Pikes Peak Elevation Map

Narrative

This week some of my co-workers and I did our annual team building activity which is our hike up Barr Trail to the summit of Pikes Peak.  This would be my third year straight hiking up to the summit of “America’s Mountain”:

We met at the trailhead at 4:30 AM in Manitou Springs with the plan to begin hiking up the mountain at 5:00 AM.  To our surprise the Barr Trail parking lot even at 4:30 in the morning was near full and about half of our group of 18 had to find parking below along Ruxton Avenue where they charge much more for parking than the $5 charge at the trailhead to park.  So we ended up hiking up in two groups with one being the group that found parking at the trailhead and other who left a few minutes later because they were still looking for parking.  As we hiked up the monotonous switchbacks at the start of Barr Trail at least we had a great view of the rising sun over the fog covering Colorado Springs down below:

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On Walkabout On: Mt. Elbert via the Black Cloud Trailhead

Basic Information

  • Name: Mt. Elbert
  • Where: Leadville, Colorado
  • Max Elevation: 14,433 feet
  • Distance:  11 miles round-trip
  • Elevation Gain: 5,300 feet
  • Time: 7-9 hours round-trip
  • Difficulty: EasyModerateHardDifficult
  • More Information: 14ers.com

Route Up Mt. Elbert

Mt. Elbert Route

Topographic Map of the Route

Mt Elbert Topo Map

Elevation Map of Mt. Elbert

Mt. Elbert Elevation Map

Narrative

Over the Independence Day weekend I thought it would be cool to climb the highest peak in the Rocky Mountains, the 14,433 foot Mt. Elbert.  Realizing that many other people probably were thinking the same thing I wanted to avoid the standard trail up the mountain that would be sure to be packed with hikers.  So after doing a little research I decided on hiking up Mt. Elbert via its Southeast ridge from the Black Cloud Trailhead off of Highway 82:

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On Walkabout On: Missouri Mountain via the Missouri Gulch Trailhead

Basic Information

  • Name: Missouri Mountain
  • Where: Buena Vista, Colorado
  • Max Elevation: 14,067 feet
  • Distance:  3.5 miles from Mt. Belford
  • Elevation Gain: 1,600 feet from Mt. Belford
  • Time: 3-4 hours from Mt. Oxford
  • Difficulty: EasyModerateHardDifficult
  • More Information: 14ers.com

Route Up Missouri Mountain

Missouri Mountain Route

Topographic Map of Missouri Gulch

Elevation Map of Missouri Gulch


Note: The first bump is Mt. Belford, the 2nd bumb is Mt. Oxford, the third bump is Mt. Belford again, and the final bump is Missouri Mountain.

Narrative

After returning to the summit of the 14,197 foot Mt. Belford after completing the return traverse from the 14,153 foot Mt. Oxford I decided to take the Elkhead Pass Trail back to the Missouri Gulch trailhead (see above topographic map).  This trail is a longer walk back to the trailhead, but it is less steep and provides some fantastic views of the area; plus it goes right by the trailhead for the 14,067 foot Missouri Mountain.  I decided if I had the energy to hike up Missouri Mountain I would do so once I reached the trailhead.  As I walked along the Elkhead Pass Trail I had a spectacular view to the South looking down into a beautiful basin below the stunning 13,904 foot Emerald Peak:

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On Walkabout On: Mt. Oxford via the Mt. Belford Traverse

Basic Information

  • Name: Mount Oxford
  • Where: Buena Vista, Colorado
  • Max Elevation: 14,153 feet
  • Distance: 1.5 miles (one-way from Mt. Belford)
  • Elevation Gain:  5,600 feet (combined with Mt. Belford)
  • Time: 1-2 hours (one-way)
  • Difficulty: EasyModerateHardDifficult
  • More Information: 14ers.com

Route Up Mt. Oxford from Mt. Belford

Mt Oxford Trail

Topographic Map of Missouri Gulch

Elevation Map for Missouri Gulch


Note: The first bump is Mt. Belford, the 2nd bumb is Mt. Oxford, the third bump is Mt. Belford again, and the final bump is Missouri Mountain.

Narrative

After completing my successful ascent of the 14,197 foot Mt. Belford I next began the traverse over to the 14,153 foot Mt. Oxford.  The traverse was quite steep and slippery in a few areas due to scree rock, but overall not that bad.  Here is the view looking up towards Mt. Oxford from the bottom of the saddle between the two mountains:

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On Walkabout On: Mt. Belford via the Missouri Gulch Trailhead

Basic Information

  • Name: Mount Belford
  • Where: Buena Vista, Colorado
  • Max Elevation: 14,197 feet
  • Distance: 4 miles (one-way)
  • Elevation Gain:  4,500 feet
  • Time: 3-5 hours (one-way)
  • Difficulty: EasyModerateHardDifficult
  • More Information: 14ers.com

Route Up Mt. Belford & Mt. Oxford

Mt Belford Route

 Topographic Map of Missouri Gulch

Missouri Gulch Topo Map

Elevation Map of Missouri Gulch Hike

Missouri Gulch Elevation Map
Note: The first bump is Mt. Belford, the 2nd bumb is Mt. Oxford, the third bump is Mt. Belford again, and the final bump is Missouri Mountain.

Narrative

This past weekend the weather forecast had no lightning storms predicted for the entire day which was great news for planning a hike up a Colorado 14er.  A full day of good weather meant I could go on a longer hike to summit two peaks in one day.  The two peaks I had in mind were the 14,197 Mt. Belford and the 14,153 foot Mt. Oxford in the Sawatch Range.  The trails to these peaks are accessed from the Missouri Gulch Trailhead located off of Chaffee County Road 390 which is 14 miles North of Buena Vista, Colorado:

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On Walkabout From: Tabeguache Peak to Mt. Shavano

Narrative

After reaching the summit of the 14,155 foot Tabeguache Peak in Colorado’s Sawatch Range; I was able to complete the traverse back to the 14,229 foot Mt. Shavano in about an hour.   This put me at the summit of the mountain at 12:00.  Along the way to Mt. Shavano the brutal wind had decreased a bit which meant that many more people were now attempting the traverse which was good to see. Here is a picture looking back across the start of the traverse towards the 14,269 foot Mt. Antero:

Picture from Mt. Shavano, Colorado

I was happy that since the wind had decreased I could actually spend some time on the summit of Shavano to take pictures unlike earlier in the day. To the North past Mt Antero I could see the high peaks of the Mosquito Range:

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On Walkabout On: Tabeguache Peak, Colorado via Mt. Shavano

Basic Information

  • Name: Tabeguache Peak
  • Where: Poncha Springs, Colorado
  • Max Elevation: 14,155 feet
  • Distance: 10.5 miles round-trip from Shavano
  • Elevation Gain: 5,600 feet
  • Time: 9-11 hours
  • Difficulty: EasyModerateHardDifficult
  • More Information: 14ers.com

Route Up Tabeguache Peak

Tabeguache Route

Topographic Map of the Trail

Elevation Map of the Trail

Narrative

I reached the summit of the 14,229 foot Mt. Shavano at 9:00 AM despite the extreme wind and cold that had hit the mountain that morning.  A number of people I met on the summit decided to turn around and go back down due to the wind but, I decided to continue with the one-mile traverse to Tabeguache Peak because I was physically feeling good and the wind was not really bothering me because of the gear I was wearing.  So after only spending about 5 minutes on the summit of Mt. Shavano I began the rocky traverse over to Tabeguache Peak:

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On Walkabout On: Mt. Shavano, Colorado via the East Slopes

Basic Information

  • Name: Mount Shavano
  • Where: Poncha Springs, Colorado
  • Max Elevation: 14,229 feet
  • Distance: 9.25 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 4,600 feet
  • Time: 9-11 hours
  • Difficulty: EasyModerateHardDifficult
  • More Information: 14ers.com

Route Up Mt. Shavano

Shavano Route

Topographic Map of the Trail

Mt Shavano Topo Map

Elevation Map of the Trail

Mt Shavano Elevation Map

Narrative

With the weather looking good for a second straight weekend I decided to head out and climb another 14-thousand foot peak.  Last weekend I climbed Mt. Yale because I had good weather in the forecast for just the morning hours.  With no storms in the forecast for the entire day I decided to climb both the 14,229 foot Mt. Shavano and the 14,155 foot Tabeguache Peak in one day.  Here is a view of these mountains as seen from when I hiked up to the summit of Mt. Antero:

A full day of good weather is needed for this hike due to the amount of time spent above treeline where fast moving lightning storms can sweep in with deadly results.  I knew I had a long day ahead of me and had to get a very early start on the trail.  Due to the difficulty I had getting my kids to go to sleep the night before, I did not get to sleep until 10:30 PM.  I ended up getting three hours of sleep when my alarm went off at 1:30 AM.  I had my truck all packed up and ready to go, so all I had to do was get dressed and make some coffee before leaving my house at 2:00 AM.  The trailhead for Mt. Shavano is located outside the small village of Poncha Springs:

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On Walkabout On: Mt. Yale, Colorado via the Denny Creek Trailhead

Basic Information

  • Name: Mount Yale
  • Where: Buena Vista, Colorado
  • Max Elevation: 14,196 feet
  • Distance: 9.5 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 4,136 feet
  • Time: 7-9 hours
  • Difficulty: EasyModerateHardDifficult
  • More Information: 14ers.com

Picture from Mt. Yale, Colorado

Topographic Map of the Trail

Mt. Yale Topographic Map

Elevation Map for Mt. Yale

Mt. Yale Elevation Map

Narrative

I have been itching to start climbing 14ers again this year and unfortunately the snow conditions in the high country have been very dangerous all year due to the threat of avalanches.  I have actually been trying to begin my 14er season the past two weeks, but my days off and good weather have not been able to coincide with each other.  Finally this past Saturday (June 7, 2014) it appeared that I had a good weather window early in the morning for the Sawatch Range with rain and even snow in the high elevations forecasted to hit as early 10:00 AM.  This meant I had to get a really early start which saw me leaving Colorado Springs at 2:00 AM in the morning to get to Buena Vista to hike up the 14,196 foot Mt. Yale. To reach Buena Vista from Colorado Springs it is an easy drive heading West on Highway 24.  From downtown Buena Vista I saw the sign pointing towards Cottonwood Pass which directed me to take a left onto Main Street.  Main Street eventually became County Road 306 that took me to the Denny Creek trailhead:

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