Part 2 of the Great Summer adventure- In the spirit of always looking for a fitness and mental challenge, and wanting to show the bf what it’s like to climb a 14,000 foot mountain (14er), we finished out desert adventure in Moab, Utah and headed southeast to Ouray, Colorado. It was a big switch going to higher altitudes and colder temps but we were ready after slow roasting in the heat of Moab. I love Ouray because you can still see evidence of all the old mines littering the mountainside and many of the smaller towns (like nearby Silverton) capitalize on reliving that history. These towns are super cute with little Main streets and fun shops to spend the afternoon exploring. Oh yeah, and the mountains. There’s a reason Ouray is known as the little Switzerland of America. It’s gorgeous!
After a quick tour of the towns and rugged landscape, we decided to climb a nearby 14er, Mt Sneffels, the next day. At 14,150 feet, this wasn’t the highest of 14ers but we were reading conflicting reports of it being somewhat difficult to climb due to huge areas of loose, unstable rock and extremely steep inclines. Since it was the bf first time climbing in general, I was worried about getting him the best introductory experience and making sure this wasn’t the most miserable day of his life. Not wanting to chicken out but still trying to respect the fact that mountains kill, we decided to feel out the situation and turn around if either of us felt unsafe.
The next day started at 5AM with us leaving my car on the mining road to the mountain. The mining roads are usually one-way, with steep drop-offs and potholes that can blow a tire or break an axle and this one proved no different. Not looking to add to the adventure, we added a couple of miles hike up the road to the trailhead. This took way longer than expected but on the way up, super nice hiker Ashely pulled over in her Jeep and offered us a ride. Followed closely behind her was Shephanie, from Quebec, Canada. Turns out all of us had the same plan of climbing the mountain and decided to start together.
What makes Sneffels seem like an easy climb is that the trailhead starts almost 2 miles below the peak. No prob, right? Well factor in the almost 2,000 foot gain in elevation and it becomes a bit of a doozy. At one point we were almost at a 70 angle climbing. My face was so close to the ground I was practically inhaling the rocks right up my nose. We both knew we weren’t quite acclimated to climbing yet so we were fine taking things really, really slow. At one point, a group of 60+ year-old runners literally bounced right passed us. Ahhh, crush my ego. In all fairness, they were part of a mountain marathon club and they spent their weekends kicking ass. Finding out we were from Kansas, they did give us an encouraging thumbs up for trying and said it would be worth it up top and away they sprinted. I’ve never envied a 60 year-old like I did in that moment. They are who I want to be. We finally peaked out to some amazing views and the bf got to claim his first 14er. In typical Colorado fashion, a storm was close on the horizon, and not wanting to be lightning rods, we cut the celebration short and started picking/rolling/falling our way down the mountain. Little did we know this would be a warm-up to the rest of our week……
Mmmmm, rugged and rocky…..
This literally was the view the entire way up. I had to lean waaaaay back to get this picture. Notice the tiny red dot in the center of the picture under the large shadow. That’s a person and you’re not even looking at the top. We have a long way to go.And this is why I crave climbing. Seeing this picture makes me happy.
What’s your favorite view from up top?