Tag: climbing

Hey, mountaineers — Think before you blog!

‘A quality artist, it would seem, should have the capacity to express the beauty of their experience without spelling out its name on a map’


By David LaGreca

I have the greatest respect for all who venture to experience the appeal and the raw essence that comes with the mountains. The freedom that is held amongst the hills is summoned upon each mission we take, each peak we summit, each line we ski, each meadow we pass through en route to that remote liberty. Our passions are aligned, I assure you, but I fear that many of those places we all cherish are at risk.

What’s at risk is not immediately from development in many of these places, such as in the precious Gore Range and other Summit County spectacles. Instead, what is at risk is serenity itself. That peace we are guaranteed when we strive beyond the limits of the masses to serve out a deeper purpose in the mountains is, I fear, being threatened. That the slow erosion of this peace and silence is marketed wholesale online by its most frequent patrons, the outdoor enthusiasts themselves, is a dangerous irony we cannot ignore. Continue reading “Hey, mountaineers — Think before you blog!”


National Park Service backs away from proposed ban on commercial guiding in Black Canyon wilderness zone


Are wilderness values at risk?

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — The National Park Service says it won’t ban commercial guiding in a wilderness zone in the Black Canyon of the Gunnison until it gets more input from stakeholders.

The announcement earlier this month garnered a positive reaction from U.S. Senator Mark Udall, who interceded with the park service on behalf of the climbing community.

“I applaud the National Park Service on its decision not to move forward with a guided-climbing ban in the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park,” Udall said. “This is not only a spectacular area, but also a world-class climbing destination, and guided climbing continues to play a role in both supporting the local economy and promoting the safe and responsible use of our outdoor resources,” he said. Continue reading “National Park Service backs away from proposed ban on commercial guiding in Black Canyon wilderness zone”

Colorado: A winter climb of Huron Peak

Try, and try again …

The Three Apostles.
Moonset over Clear Creek Valley.

Story and photos by Kim Fenske

When I woke up after a night with temperatures in the teens, the sun was not yet in sight.  Despite giving myself the comfort of two down sleeping bags, I still needed a significant boost to generate enough heat for the trail. After boiling a liter of water for a giant chocolate mocha coffee, I ground my legs into low gear and hiked up the road from the mining ghost town of Winfield toward the Huron Peak trailhead two miles from my camp. After the first mile, my leg muscles were loose and sweat began to seep through my base layer.  An hour later, I arrived at the trailhead.

A lesson in patience, this was my fourth attempt to reach Huron Peak, 14,003 feet, in winter.  From Clear Creek Reservoir, Chaffee County Road 390 is maintained only eight miles to the abandoned mining community of Vicksburg, across from the trailhead to Mount Oxford, Mount Belford, and Missouri Peak.

On my first attempt, in mid-March, I parked at Vicksburg and hiked on the snow-covered road for five miles to Winfield, then busted trail through powder that was sometimes waist-deep for a mile toward the trailhead before turning back. The twelve-mile hike was primarily a scouting mission to determine how easily I could approach the trailhead with a four-foot base of snow in the forest. Continue reading “Colorado: A winter climb of Huron Peak”

Colorado: Scary moments on Mt. Elbert

Kim Fenske describes a winter climb of Colorado’s highest summit

Mt. Elbert view: Alpenglow — and the moon — across the Arkansas River Valley.

Story and photos by Kim Fenske

At 14,433 feet, Mount Elbert is the highest mountain in Colorado. In summer, the summit is one of the easiest Fourtenners to attain. The primary trailheads mark junctions with the Colorado Trail that passes north and south along the base of Mount Massive and Mount Elbert within sight of Leadville. Branching off of the Colorado Trail, trails to the summit rise quickly on switchbacks to gain the summit along ridges from the northeast and southeast. The summit is four miles from the north trailhead and a bit over six miles from the lower south trailhead.  From either direction, the summit can be reached in approximately six hours, with a descent of about three more hours. Continue reading “Colorado: Scary moments on Mt. Elbert”

Colorado: A fall hike on Castle Peak

Guidebook author Kim Fenske shares trail beta and photos from a Colorado classic

Aspen's famed Maroon Bells, seen from the Castle Peak area.

Story and photos by Kim Fenske

Castle Peak is a majestic fortress, diminished only by the magnificent company it keeps. Since the more renowned peaks of Maroon, North Maroon, Pyramid, and Snowmass lie close at hand, Castle Peak rests in relative peace.

From Summit County, Castle Peak Trailhead is a hundred miles away. Climb over Independence Pass, drop through Aspen, and turn from the roundabout to Castle Creek Road. Castle Creek Road leads to a jeep road that is the beginning of a six-mile ascent to the summit of Castle Peak. The abandoned silver mining town of Ashcroft is nestled among aspen meadows on Castle Creek Road, ten miles below the remains of the Montezuma-Tam O’Shanter Mine. Continue reading “Colorado: A fall hike on Castle Peak”

Time to comment on Arches National Park climbing plan

National Park Service developing new climbing and canyoneering management plan for Arches National Park.

Draft options include an enlightened adaptive management approach

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — The National Park Service has made some progress on a new climbing and canyoneering management plan at Arches National Park.

Four draft alternatives span a wide range of options, from a no action alternative that would leave the current rules in effect, to a climb anything, anywhere, anytime option, and a regulatory approach that would enact new restrictions.

Alternative B seems to be the middle-of-the-road approach, with an adaptive management approach based on careful monitoring. The draft alternatives are now open to public comment. After taking input, the park service will develop a more detailed study showing the relative impacts of each option. Continue reading “Time to comment on Arches National Park climbing plan”

Access Fund supports Colorado wilderness proposals

Group says wilderness peaks an important part of climbing culture

A climbing access group says proposed new wilderness in Colorado would protect backcountry climbing areas.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Despite a few debates here and there on the ethics of bolting, climbers in general have always taken a progressive stance on land conservation, and the Access Fund this week continued that tradition by announcing its support for two pending Colorado wilderness proposals in the San Juans and on public federal lands in Summit and Eagle counties.

The Access Fund is happy to join with recreation and conservation groups across the state to support these public land conservation initiatives that preserve backcountry climbing and recreation opportunities,” said Access Fund executive director Brady Robinson. “We support all types of climbing experiences, from the remote wilderness peaks to urban crags and bouldering areas. The opportunity to climb in protected wilderness areas is a key value that many climbers cherish. We hope our Colorado membership will contact their federal legislators in support of these proposals.” Continue reading “Access Fund supports Colorado wilderness proposals”