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Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Another Summit On One Of Lovely Ouray's Sentinel Peaks

Sometimes people wonder if we ever get tired of the same ole places and doing the same ole thing. Uh, no. There are hikes and rides and climbs worth repeating, if for no other reason than to get our daily exercise in the fresh outdoors instead of inside a stuffy gym on a boring machine. I don't even get bored doing a mile to a mile-and-a half at the pool (32 to 48 laps). Why? Because it's outside. It's no big secret. The key to staying fit as we get older is to find multiple ways to get our body moving. The more ways, the better the chance of success. That's it. Oh, and beautiful scenery helps...
A forecasted reprieve from monsoonal thunderstorms had us licking our chops for a Mount Abram summit. Having read and heard firsthand from Chris and Mindy that winter avalanches near timberline had left the approach Jeep trail littered with downed trees, we were uneasy about the additional miles it might add to an already quad-macerating/toe-jam climb.

Ouray County was up there to clear the snow a few weeks ago. But the dozer was no match for the interlocking chaos of downed trees that blocked the road. Fortunately, the entanglement only added about 30 minutes to our climb, and we were spared the arduous and dangerous task of scrambling over the entanglement because someone (County?) had chainsawed a path through the debris.     

We found many large trees that were literally ripped out of the ground roots and all by the force of this winter's avalanches.

In recent years the direct route for Abrams—straight up the couloir—has been nearly, if not completely, free of snow by August. Once again, not this year...

A long, steep grind up to the saddle, then hang a left. Oh, you might want to bring crampons
The approach couloir is breathlessly steep...a two-steps-forward-one-slip-back slog. It's just hard, even without a hard-as-a-brick frozen block of snow. 

Given the snow in the couloir, it was a struggle to keep our feet under us. A fall could quickly turn into an unwanted bobsled ride into a pile of rocks. The ascent effort reminded me of climbing humungous sand dunes over at the base of the Sangre de Cristos in Southern Colorado. While we were there, we saw the Adams State College track team using those endless dunes for training. Ugh.  

Eventually our approach "glacier" petered out

Nearing our saddle objective, we bailed out of the shrinking couloir "rut" and onto step-like clumps of tundra. Heart rate: pushing a steady 170 to 175.  

At the saddle we are rewarded with drop-dead gorgeous views, including Brown and Red Mountains. From there it's a long up and down ridge-run to Abram's summit.

Not many flowers, but a couple of worthy shots.

We had the hike to and from Abram all to ourselves. Have I told you how much I love hiking above timberline???  :)
Looking back south toward Silverton

A leftover snowdrift

Just follow the colorful ridge line...

Lavender rocks!

More "rewards." Flowers cascade toward Crystal Lake

The final push...

Ah, the summit...with Lovely Ouray nestled in the bosom of it's Mountain Mamas. Note Grand Mesa's flattop in the distance.

Million Dollar Highway to Lovely Ouray

Obligatory Selfie... sorry.

Heading back...

My favorite Lavender Rocks!

Saw a male grouse strutting his mating season plumage...

Peace out, mark and bobbie.
Next up: Ice and Island Lakes!

Panorama: Scroll  →


  1. On top of the world! Glad you were finally able to get up there.

  2. I know why you keep going to “the same old places”....because they are so great! What a beautiful day you had up there. Thanks for reminding me what it looks like above timberline. Chris

  3. Wow. Once again I am in awe of your backyard. That avy debris is really something.

  4. I think this could possible be my favorite POST of ALL......and God what a beautiful day it was. I had to laugh when seeing the beautiful picture looking down at Crystal Lake, as you probably have heard us say that's our lst hike every year, ye'll that little trail is visible from way up on top Abrams, I just hope we can make that walk THIS TIME :) (:
    Mark I wished you would have brought down a couple of those Lavender Rocks, we would love to haven them in our backyard rock garden, maybe next time, ok?
    .....and just those few flowers in some of the shots really made for spending extra time in viewing those pictures, just awesome
    GLAD YOU BOTH COULD DO IT.....and even better that you photographed it for all those folks who will never experience what Being Really Alive feels like!

  5. Magnificent scenery. The flowers might have made it worth while.


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