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Friday, June 21, 2019

A Twin Peaks Summit Soar To 3075 Feet Above Lovely Ouray...Then Just Sore

All the snow up high is bringing us down...

We are impatient, chomping at the bit to go-go-go, up-up-up. We wait-wait-wait, hoping June 21st, the first day of summer, holds in store some sort of magical heat wave...other than the fact that it's our something/somethingth anniversary. I'll figure it out later as I have a mountain biker versus foot racer with ole Leon to Camp Bird mine, then, Lord willing and the road is plowed of snow, on up to Yankee Boy Basin.

Maybe when it's officially "summer," we'll get a warming trend that melts the "White Plague" enough that we can wear hiking boots instead of snowshoes. Normally we are like messing around at or above timberline by now.

Anyway, on Wednesday, my Bobbie wanted to "get high." I know she's not talking Mary Jane or IPAs so I take a look out our Imax window and squint up the Bridge of Heaven Trail that lies cross-canyon. It looks clear of snow up to the "ridge." But everything above and beyond that remains whiter than a Mormon wedding. 

So I suggest Twin Peaks. The north face portion of the trail "should" be melted off enough by now that we can squeak through without snowshoes. She's game. But I'm still lame from my weekly Perimeter Trail slog on Tuesday, the one with a full pack and hand-weights totaling a tad over 40 pounds. Got to toughen up for this summer's racing series with ole Leon. 

You won't know if you don't go. So I go, thinking I could always turn around if my legs rebelled. 

Just past the rockslide—the one that took out a swath of timber like mere toothpicks, decimated a section of Old Twin Peaks Trail, and pummeled an RV parked further down next to the owner's house—I suddenly remembered the big race with Leon coming up on Friday! So instead of two days of rest and fresh legs, I'll be heading out with only ONE day's rest on still sore legs. 

Twin Peaks packs 3,000 feet of vertical elevation gain into a little over two miles. It's a steep Mo-Fo, so steep that coming down is in every way, except aerobic, just as difficult as going up.

Bobbie makes her way through remnants of the "rockslide."

Old Twin Peaks Trail takes off from the Perimeter Trail at the fancy new bridge over a now flooding Oak Creek in the above photo (FYI: Be sure to look for the Troll under the bridge). You wouldn't know Twin Peaks Trail takes off from there if it wasn't for a sign, the route being a slab of off-camber rock sprinkled with marble-like pebbles that, if not careful, could land you in Oak Creek's icy water far, far below. But it was a perfect day, and the vistas took our minds of the leg-grind ahead.

Mount Abram in "the gap." Hope we can try for that summit sometime in July.

Looking toward Imogene Pass. It's going to be a while before the County can get that plowed free of snow.

Having put the Stair-master, Old Twin Peaks behind us, we still had a good 1800 feet of vertical to go to get on top of Twin Peaks (to the far left). 

The trail relents briefly as it wanders through an aspen forest bathed in Spring Green.

These pretty Red Columbine popped along the trail. The look like a shooting star...or maybe a crown. Red Columbine doesn't do it justice...

There was still snow, but easily handled. And to think, we've climbed Twin Peaks on Memorial Day a couple after drier winters.

Above, one last snowdrift waited on the ridge-line. Below, Little Sister...sticking up like a sore thumb.

The final push up the connecting ridge in a lung-sucking, heart-pumping SOB.

Then a short scramble up some chunky, toe grabbing rock to the summit.

It never fails to disappoint....

Another shot of Imogene Pass, in the gap, right of center. Lots of snow...

Whitehouse Mountain...I think we're going to give that a go this summer, from the back side.

Time to pick our way down to the trail...

One last view of Lovely Ouray...then a million switchbacks through woods.

The above peaceful interlude is brought to you by Wilderness. Turn up your speaker volume...

Almost Home...
Gotta get my ass in gear. Wish me luck against ole Leon, I'll need it for sure.
Peace Out! 
mark and bobbie...married (I'm guessing here) 33 years...plus 3 years of committed "living-in-sin" before that :)


  1. Good luck in your rider-runner challenge! I need to organize one of those. Sounds fun.

    Also enjoyed the Twin Peaks beta and photos. After Hardrock was cancelled, Beat went in and signed up for the Ouray 100. Your posts have provided good insight into the "current conditions" on the course. Looks like everything should be good to go by late July.

  2. Dam I was starting to get dizzy near the top of that climb and could you ID the cluster of white blossoms, never seem that before. Al & I were just talking about maybe visiting in late Spring next year to experience that fresh new green look which we have never seen before, his cousins are there now and are loving it.
    Give ole Leon Hell , we'll be watching

    1. The blossoms are from a Chokecherry bush/tree. Bears love them come fall...

  3. whiter than a morman wedding...ha!

  4. The shadow over Ouray on your "It never fails to diappoint" photo looks like a witch riding on a broom, haha! Breathtaking photos!!!

  5. Twin Peaks is visible from anywhere near Ouray and always calling to be climbed. As your photos show the view is spectacular from the top of Twin Peaks and enjoyed very much the time we climbed it.

    1. Yes...the time I bonked from low blood sugar :) Thanks for waiting on me to refuel !!!

  6. It looks just lovely up there despite the lingering snow. That blue sky is awesome. Happy anniversary by the way! Chris

  7. Happy Anniversary!

    Hope you kicked Leonards's butt yesterday!


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