What do you do with a long weekend in Colorado? Road trip! It was definately time to head back to the high peaks, and Mark and I picked the quiet mountain town of Buena Vista, CO for the three sunny days at the beginning of September.
(Note: You can find all of the shots from the weekend in the photo gallery.)
We left on Saturday morning, and drove the long way out. We drove south through Breckenridge, over Hoosier Pass, and came upon Buena Vista from the southeast side.
After driving around town a bit looking for a climbing guide, we headed up Cottonwood Pass road to find a campsite. Unfortunately, the national forest campground I had been hoping to stay at was completely booked. However, we did find a nice little free site in a deep grove of aspens just off the road. No bathrooms or picnic tables for us on this trip, but at least we weren’t paying for it either.
Mark grilled steaks that had been marinating in our cooler all day for dinner… and it was fantastic.
Sunday morning we slept in. We made a big breakfast of chorizo, pepper, onion and egg burritos and then packed up and headed out to climb for the day. I had read a little about the Buena Vista Crags on the internet, and gotten a guidebook at a local shop the afternoon before. The crags turned out to be really cool. Huge, well bolted, boulders on the east side of the valley, with gorgious views of the Collegiate Peaks and the town below.
Mark and I spent the afternoon enjoying nice, moderate sport climbing. Unfortunately, the sunscreen we had both used in the morning had, evidently, stopped working after I used it. And Mark got the strong foundation of a really nasty sunburn on his neck and shoulders that afternoon. Just for future reference, we climbed at Transmitter Tower and ticked off 3 fun moderates.
In the evening, we decided to drive past our campsite, and travel all the way up the road to Cottonwood Pass. This turned out to be an incredible place. Absolutely some of the most incredible mountain scenery I’ve ever seen from within a half mile of our car. On the east side of the pass, you had fantastic views of the Sawatch and Collegiate Peaks. On the west side were the dark, imposing peaks in the Gunnison, and the Elk mountains beyond.
I could have stayed there all evening, it was incredibly beautiful. But, we had burgers to grill before dark, and preparations to make before the Big Hike on monday: a summit bid for Mt Yale (next in Part II).