Because the previous week had brought a few snow showers, Sarah and I decided to spend the holiday weekend on some less technical peaks in the San Juans. We started with Point 13,811 and Point 13,832, opting to approach from the south via the Williams Creek Trail in the hope of encountering less snow than on north aspects. Unfortunately, we would encounter much more snow than our trail running shoes were expecting. At least we made the most of the stable October weather with a 9:00 A.M. start time!
great fall colors along the lower sections of the trail
We were surprised that the aspens were still holding their leaves this late in the season.
Sarah and Nina noticing that the surrounding peaks have much more than a dusting of snow
snowcapped peaks and brilliant fall colors
fourteener Sunshine Peak
our first glimpse of Point 13,832 and the connecting ridge to its neighbor, Point 13,811
Sunshine, Point 13,832, and Redcloud (L to R)
After trudging through 6-inches of snow, we arrived at the summit of Point 13,811 with cold, wet feet. The views of the surrounding peaks helped distract us, though.
Rio Grande Pyramid
Wetterhorn, Coxcomb, and Uncompahgre
Half Peak in the foreground and the Grenadiers in the distance
Sarah along the traverse to Point 13,832
looking back at Point 13,811
Sarah and Nina posing above an exposed section along the ridge
self portrait on the summit of Point 13,832
The relentless postholing in the fresh snow had both worn us down and all but frozen our scantily clad toes. We didn't spend much time on this summit so that we could get back down to tree line where we could warm up again.
enjoying the scenery along the descent
The final couple of miles of the day were particularly brutal for us. I think we still hadn't fully recovered from our trip to the Trinities the previous weekend.
We made it back to the trailhead around 4:00 P.M., and the skies were still clear of any threatening clouds. It was a great fall day to be outside.
Unfortunately, we woke up the following morning to frigid, overcast, snowy skies. We had planned to climb Half Peak, and we were a bit worried that the snow of the final summit ridge would be difficult to navigate. The overnight snow and poor morning conditions made us reconsider. We weren't keen on going 12-miles and over 5,000-ft to be turned around less than 100-yards from the summit. Half Peak would have to wait until another day.
On the bright side, we encountered this fella on the drive home. Sarah keenly spotted him well off the road at a sharp bend in the road near the summit of Slumgullion Pass. We were able hide in a grove of aspens and observe him for quite a while before he eventually meandered off, which was very cool. Before making his way up over a ridge, he walked within 30-ft of where we were sitting. That was quite a bit closer than we would have liked, but he didn't seem too concerned about our presence.