Home » Wild » Recent Articles:

Happy Solstice!

December 21, 2009 Wild No Comments
Mt. Otis.

Mt. Otis

The winter solstice occurs this morning at 10:47 a.m. Tomorrow, the sun will rise slightly higher in the sky and daylight will last two seconds longer. Soon there will be noticeably more time to play outside.

Have a great winter everyone!

DeGette Introduces Wilderness Bill

December 14, 2009 Wild 1 Comment
Proposed Redcloud wilderness area. Photo by Mark Pearson / CanyonCountryWilderness.org

Proposed Redcloud wilderness area. Photo by Mark Pearson / CanyonCountryWilderness.org

Denver Democratic congresswoman Diana DeGette has introduced the Colorado Wilderness Act of 2009, the latest incarnation of the Canyon Country Wilderness proposal. The bill would set aside about 850,000 acres in 34 parcels, nearly three-quarters of which is BLM land. It also includes Redcloud and Sunshine peaks, two 14ers near Lake City.

DeGette has been trying to get the Canyon Country wilderness legislation out of committee in the House since 1999. One significant change to this year’s bill is that it does not include the Roan Plateau area northwest of Rifle, an area of highly controversial oil and gas leases. … Continue Reading

Hump Day Movie: Skiing Snodgrass

December 9, 2009 Ski, Wild No Comments

Here’s a fun, short clip of backcountry skiing on Snodgrass Mountain, near Crested Butte, shot last March by Salt Mountaineering guide Mark Smiley. This small peak is the site of a controversial proposed expansion by Crested Butte Mountain Resort—a proposal that the U.S. Forest Service formally refused to consider last month, which quashes the plan for good unless threatened lawsuits are successful.


Snodgrass Mountain, the forested peak in the foreground, seen from Crested Butte Mountain Resort. Photo by R. Scott Rappold / The Gazette

The expansion plan and the Forest Service decision have roiled the ski industry and the town of Crested Butte, which is split between those who believe the proposal is essential to the ski resort’s—and thus the town’s—long-term prosperity, and those who prefer Snodgrass and Crested Butte as smaller, quieter places. Last Sunday, the Gazette in Colorado Springs published a good balanced story about the controversy—the report and the three pages of comments are both worth reading.

Meanwhile, enjoy this video of Snodgrass as it skis today.

Mysteries: San Juan Snow Spirals

November 23, 2009 Ski, Wild 6 Comments

Michael Barton, owner and head guide  of Mountain Goat Ski Guides in Silverton, sent us this note about mysterious movements in the snow:

There’s a regularly occurring phenomenon that is a great mystery to this ski guide. Despite my schooling in science and having apprenticed for five years with world-renowned snow master Chris Landry, I cannot seem to figure this one out. I will open the floor for debate, and maybe someone out there in the world of snow-wandering mountain peoples knows how to solve the puzzle.

To see this, you must be moving quite slowly across the snow—imagine cross-country skiing or skinning gently uphill on a clear, blue-sky morning. It must have snowed recently, and the sun has to have been out. The phenomenon usually occurs in open patches of snow among stands of timber. If you look down at the base of pine trees when the conditions are right, you will see tiny specks of tree debris that seem to have moved of their own volition. They only move a few inches at most, but they leave a melted trail in the snow in spirals, loop de loops, or meanders like a river. … Continue Reading

San Juan Mountains Wilderness Bills: What Will Be Protected?

November 22, 2009 Wild No Comments

Companion bills introduced this fall in the House and Senate would add greater safeguards to more than 61,000 acres in southwestern Colorado. Here are five cool things that would be protected if the legislation passes:

Mt. Sneffels and peaks to its east would be protected under new wilderness legislation.

Mt. Sneffels and peaks to its east would be protected under new wilderness legislation.

Mt. Sneffels. Yup, this striking 14,150-foot peak isn’t covered by the existing Mt. Sneffels Wilderness—only about one-third of the mountain is currently protected. The planned 13,231-acre expansion would fix that.

Whitehouse Mountain and the other high peaks west of Ouray. This is the million-dollar (billion-dollar?) view you get across the Double RL Ranch as you head west out of Ridgway. The newly expanded Sneffels Wilderness would encompass most of these beauties.

McKenna Peak

McKenna Peak.

McKenna Peak. A new, 8,614-acre wilderness area will protect Colorado’s badlands, with wild horses, expansive piñon-juniper woodlands, abundant wildlife, fossil beds, and—get this—no developed trails.

U.S. Grant Mountain. This rugged 13er, along with Pilot Knob and the other high peaks south of Ophir and west of Silverton—plus Ice Lake and the other stunning alpine tarns in this area—will be covered under the new, 21,697-acre Sheep Mountain Special Management Area.

The Hardrock 100. The super-tough San Juans ultra is grandfathered under the proposed wilderness expansions. Similarly, heli-skiing, mountain biking, and other existing recreational uses of the Sheep Mountain area will be allowed.

Join Us…

We welcome stories, photos, video, and cool trip reports. Drop us a line, and we'll get you started.

Recent Comments

  • Jamie Jones: The secret chute was only a secret top all you easterners....
  • Jeff: Awesome!!!! Are they ever going to be published in book form! These stories need to be made into a movie!!!!...
  • Karen D McCall: What a story, I read every word, absolutely enthralled. As an aging outdoor enthusiast headed for hip replacement, I can...
  • Kirk Miller: New rats in the Platte. Well done sir....
  • Dale: I met Clerin Zumwalt hiking on the Long's Peak trail back in the 1990's. He was with his family and was wearing his RMNP...
  • Ben Collett: Dougald, I miss the updates on this site. Anyway, there is a great route on the 4th Flatiron (see MP.com for details) th...
  • Tim: Thanks for the great writeup. We just did this loop yesterday and had a blast. Do you know if anyone has skied the coulo...
  • 14er Sports: Awesome accomplishment!...
  • Kailas: Yes Wick there are that many people. And they are all from back east or Texass... booooo. I've skied up here for ove...
  • jeff: What amazing experiences Dr. Cook had. I feel so fortunate that I've found this website and have been able to enjoy Dr. ...

Supported By…

Category RSS Feeds


A Fine Line on Arrowhead

March 26, 2010

A Fine Line on Arrowhead

Climbers Scotty Nelson and Gil Weiss have discovered (or maybe rediscovered) a great-looking moderate mixed route in Rocky Mountain National Park that might take pressure off overcrowded climbs like Dream Weaver or Martha. The line, which they called Deborah, splits the south face of Arrowhead above the high bench to the west of Black Lake […]

Shelf Road’s Hardest Route Climbed

March 10, 2010

Shelf Road’s Hardest Route Climbed

Colorado’s Shelf Road , a network of vertical limestone cliffs near Cañon City best known for sunny moderates, has a new 5.13d pitch and may soon get its first 5.14. On Sunday, March 7, Mark Anderson redpointed a striking, super-technical arête at Cactus Cliff that was bolted in the early 1990s but apparently never free-climbed. […]

New Route Likely Platte’s Hardest

February 14, 2010

New Route Likely Platte’s Hardest

Jason Haas, who’s working on a new guidebook to South Platte rock climbs, has just redpointed what’s likely the Platte’s hardest pitch, a roof seam that’s protected with removable pro and might be 5.14a. The new route, Comprometido, took about a year and a half to complete. Here, Haas tells the story. While researching routes […]

Supported By…


Brain Freeze on Mt. Otis

March 18, 2010

Brain Freeze on Mt. Otis

In the heart of Rocky Mountain National Park, a granite spindle called Zowie protrudes from the convoluted south face of Mt. Otis. Just to Zowie’s left is a zigzagging chimney and gully system that holds an unlikely mixed-climbing gem. Brain Freeze was discovered very recently (early 2008) by Andy Grauch and Chris Sheridan. Several parties […]

Lake Agnes–Seven Utes Loop

February 19, 2010

Lake Agnes–Seven Utes Loop

Kevin Landolt is a skier/climber/student, based in Fort Collins, who writes the fun Alpine Ambition blog for the Mountain Shop. Here, Kevin describes a favorite midwinter ski tour near Cameron Pass offering a little of everything. Trailhead: Lake Agnes Road, 2.5 miles west of Cameron Pass Tour Distance: 7.3 miles Total Vert: ca. 2,900′ Season: […]

Mr. and Mrs. Mesa

January 28, 2010

Mr. and Mrs. Mesa

Two of the wildest and most difficult water-ice pitches in the state are in plain view from Highway 50, en route to Ouray and Telluride from points north, plunging down the sheer face of Grand Mesa. Yet few people notice them, and far fewer have climbed them. The routes are tough, to be sure, but […]

East Ridge of Mt. Bancroft

December 28, 2009

East Ridge of Mt. Bancroft

Mt. Bancroft’s rocky east ridge is a terrific mountaineering adventure for Front Range climbers, beginning less than an hour from Denver. The 13,250-foot peak is relatively close to the road, and avalanche danger can be easily managed, making this perhaps the most accessible technical winter summit on the entire Front Range. The east ridge offers […]


Rarities: Wolf Moon, Arapaho Peaks

February 5, 2010

Rarities: Wolf Moon, Arapaho Peaks

Photographer James Beissel sent us this fantastic dawn-patrol shot of the full moon setting over South and North Arapaho in the Indian Peaks, shot from Flagstaff Mountain. Said Beissel: “The first full moon of the New Year is often called the Wolf Moon. The name comes from Native American culture, in which it was associated with […]

New Deal for Great Sand Dunes

January 20, 2010

New Deal for Great Sand Dunes

By Bob Berwyn Stakeholders in the San Luis Valley have taken a giant step toward protecting Great Sand Dunes National Park from mining, energy development, and water exports. Lexam Explorations has agreed to sell its mineral rights if a $9.7 million deal can be finalized by May. Great Sand Dunes National Park was created by […]

Supported By…