We decided last-minute to get away for the weekend, and the Arapaho Peaks in the Indian Peak Wilderness "peaked" my interest.
3 13ers in one climb? Sign me up!
After spending a fun several hours trying to find boondocking/dry-camping options in several Forest Service spots around Nederland, we lucked out on a spot in the Kelly Dahl campground. Not quite free camping, but mostly level spots and nearby water to fill our tanks. Worth $23 a night? Depends.
South Arapaho Peak is the most commonly climbed due a nice easy 13 mile, 3600ft Class 2 hike up, with some people including Old Baldy nearby. Old Baldy is pretty meh, with an almost non-existent trail, but beautiful views of both North Arapaho Peak and South Arapaho Peak.
The worst part about this climb is the drive up to the Fourth of July Trailhead. The 4 miles took me almost 45 minutes due to the rocky, rutted, ruined road. I was amazed at the sedans parked at the trailhead when I returned, I don’t know how they made it up without dragging hard parts.
North Arapaho Peak was the end goal, with a nice Class 3 traverse from South Arapaho Peak. With my 4am start, I was guaranteed to have the North peak to myself, and probably the South peak as well.
But – Mother Nature always wins. As I crested the saddle overlooking the Arapaho Glacier, I could see the clouds building out in the distance. If this wasn’t a quick dash across and back, there was no way it was going to happen.
And I figured out pretty quickly this wasn’t a dash across, after the amount of time it took for the first chimney and a few hops-and-skips, I had to call it. I knew if I was over on the North peak when the rain came I’d be stuck, because there was no way I could make it back across this rock wet. And stuck on a 13er during a thunderstorm is a quick way to get dead.
Live to climb another day – I called it, and turned tail towards home. But not without bagging Old Baldy first – it’s a crappy meh little hump, but one more 13er checked off the list.
Good timing too, as I approached treeline headed toward the Fourth of July mine the skies opened up. No visible lightning, but it’s comforting to be below the treeline when you know it could come at any time.
North Arapaho Peak – we have a date.
One of the many pikas scurrying through the boulders here at altitude.
South Arapaho Peak with North Arapaho Peak in the distance.
Must Be The Altitude
I blame lack of oxygen for goofiness…
The View From Here
This is the view that we climb for!
So Close, and yet so far away. North Arapaho Peak is left for another day.
Lake Dorothy is an amazing high alpine lake tucked below Mount Neva. Definitely on my short list.
Walk This Way
These crude guides are much appreciated!
This is the fast route down the mountain, although it doesn’t end well for the traveller.
Leone loves the looking down photos
Not For Leone
The looking up, after all the looking down
Just Hanging Out
Amazing how this massive chunk of rock just hangs out over the valley below.
It’s not much of a glacier anymore due to climate change, but it is an amazing blue.
North Arapaho Peak and South Arapaho Peak sit majestically above the Arapaho Glacier.
A friendly marmot who wants to cuddle.
Hits The Fan
Mount Jasper and Mount Neva underneath the storm lashing.
Leftover mining parts at the Fourth of July Mine.
Long Road Home
You know that it’s a long road home when you see the Fourth of July Trailhead far below in the distance.
Arapaho Peaks Google Earth
A Google Earth visual of the Arapaho Peaks hike.
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