Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Blue Lakes and Mt. Sneffels Summit (First 14-er)

I had wanted to do this hike last week, but thunderstorms on the horizon turned me around. I got back to the trailhead on Sunday night, camped out, and after a leisurely breakfast of oats, blueberries, and coffee, I took off. I ran to the lower lake, took a wrong turn on my way to the first of the upper lakes, which ended up with me scrambling across a talus field. I stared at a bunch of beautiful trout playing in that lake, then ran up to the highest lake. From there, I hiked over the pass, and followed the markers (and my map) to the signs for Mt. Sneffels.

The climb was a scramble (class 2 or 3? I'm not sure) that involved me being on all fours. I talked with people on the way up, and they told me to just follow the cairns along the path to the summit. I was so jazzed to be doing it, I ended up climbing some rock that felt pretty difficult to navigate at times, and probably was more difficult than it needed to be, had I picked my 'line' better.

The summit was great. 14,158 feet. I could see EVERYTHING. I met a guy named Ben at the top. We took pictures of each other, chatted a bit, enjoyed the views, and then descended together. Ben and his dad had just parked at the trailhead near Yankee Boy Basin, which involved a much shorter hike before the ascent.

Some more beautiful pictures below.

Sneffels the night before

Dinner at trailhead. Free campsites galore.

Said Camping.

Approach to Blue Lakes

Lower Blue Lake

'Bridge' to Blue Lakes Pass and the upper lakes.

Next lake. Took this while going across a talus field. It was not the trail, you can see the actual trail to the right of this photo. Whoops.

Trout, if you can see it. Stopped and watched them awhile.

Upper lake. The pass is to the left middle of this photo.

Top of the pass.

View from the pass.

After the pass, this is the initial climb to Sneffels. From here its straight up.

Top of the world. 

Looking towards Ridgeway. The view was amazing. I felt closer to the clouds than to the ground...Probably cause I was?

Looking down from the top, you can see where the climb began at bottom right corner portion of this photo.

Looking down on the Blue Lakes.


Proof that it wasn't photoshop work. Feet on the summit.

This was the start of the climb up.

Descending with Ben.

Looking down from the pass.


Lower Blue Lake. There was no 'filter' applied to this. When the sun hits the lake, this is how it looks.

This may be my favorite photo. Captures the wildflowers and the lake and the mountains. The smell of lavender engrossed the area.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Maroon Bells Loop

Enjoy. GPS said about 29 miles with 8,000 ft gain, and you hit 12,000 ft plenty.

Grotto Hike on Sunday