WestElkProject.com – A desire to do something new took me to the top of Precarious Peak in the Maroon Bells – Snowmass Wilderness in the Elk Mountains. It was impressive to say the least, so we’ll just start with that. What will be much harder to describe (and definitely cliché-sounding) is the constant feeling of elation that I felt as I walked through scenes of green aspen groves, cold creek crossings, dark timber, and high rocky peaks where tufts of shedded mountain goat hair clung to my hand hold above 13,000 feet.
The ridiculous-looking “Spider Face” off of White Rock
On Saturday morning I left the Copper Creek TH at 8:30 AM with my friend Tom Runcie. We had spoken about “getting on top of something high” while at work the previous week, I guess hanging out on ladders painting big houses can do that to a man. We made the decision at the cars we would try to hike up Precarious Peak (13,380 ft), or really we just thought we’d go for a walk and see how far we’d go. Either way, Tom had never climbed Precarious and I hadn’t even been to Copper Lake yet so we started with an open mind for the day just really hoping we didn’t get caught in any thunderstorms.
Pika are everywhere
Maybe we were lettingoff steam after a week of work, or maybe just eager to see what was up that beautiful valley, but we made good time to Copper Lake. The lake is flanked by Cassi Peak to the west, Precarious to the north-northwest, East Maroon Pass to the northeast, another basin that leads to Triangle Pass to the east, and the ridiculous-looking “Spider Face” face off a sub-peak of White Rock Mountain to the south. As we sat down on a rocky prow covered in small pines that juts out into the lake, trout were feeding everywhere. It’s a special spot where you almost felt bad for being there as you took in the beauty of the place. We happened to run into Click Here to Continue Reading