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Home Forums TR Archive Colorado TR: Red Mountain Pass (near Ouray, CO)

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  • #571205
    dude_reino
    Participant

    On our recent Valentine’s weekend getaway to Telluride(fantastic area–ride it if you have the chance!), I made sure to work in a side excursion to Red Mountain pass, above Ouray. Sunday provided some very good conditions for the backcounty. It had been a few days since the last snowfall, and the snowpack seemed relatively stable.

    Although I’ve never done any riding off the pass, I’ve driven over it on two past trips to Silverton. The stunning scenery of the San Juans along with the seemingly isolation of the area had stuck it in my mind ever since. What is a classic mainstay for locals also makes for a worthwhile road trip for any front-range rider.

    Being unfamiliar with the pass, I went straight to the map posted at the parking area. Various areas were outlined: motorized and non-motorized. I have heard of the current struggle between various recreational users on Red Mountain Pass, from various groups such as Backcountry Snowsports Alliance. It looks like the groups made some headway, for I identified an area on the west side of the pass that was designated as ‘non-motorized’.

    View up the intended route on the west side of the pass.

    We started climbing up a skin-track that was already laid down recently. It looked like it climbed up the fluffy rolling hills directly west of the parking area, so we decided to stick with the track as opposed to trying to find our own way. The snow conditions were variable along the climb. Although the east-facing snow was soft, the skin track bent onto a south aspect that was very icy. (The steep icy face caused me to briefly flashback to my scary experience not too far away on Kendall Mountain last April)


    The stunning backdrop of the San Juan mountains!

    Along the climb, I was looking back toward the east at the face on the other side of the highway. There were a lot more tracks on that side, and I had wondered if the conditions would be better over there.


    Here we are hiking up on the first route. In the background is the cliffs and tracks described in the second route of this TR.

    Nevertheless, after climbing about 800 feet, we reached treeline and decided not to go any farther. From there, we mounted our snowboards and made some excellent turns on the nice rolling terrain.


    I am looking down my line before dropping in


    Miss V. cruising the soft powder

    Back at the car, we decided to head up the west side of the road. The face I had admired was a very steep aspect with various cliffs, although I could make out many lines between the cliffs that had obvious ski tracks in them. Once more, this area also had a snow-covered county road that led us on a moderate climb up and around the mountain.


    Here we are hiking up the county road on the east side of the pass. The treed glades in the background are the first route of this TR.

    We encountered more people on this route. Most of them were skiing or boarding down the road. However, since we saw tracks directly on the west face of the hill, I knew there just had to be a way up to the top. Sure enough, as the road rounded the south side of the hill, a skin track appeared and climbed steeply past the ruins of a few mining cabins and up the backside of the hill.

    At the top of the track, we were surprised to see a hut. No doubt, it was part of the San Juan hut system. No one was at home. We snowboarded down past the hut and found some excellent powder lines in the trees. When we approached the cliff band, we followed the tracks out around to the left, and made the final thrilling descent down the steep face–the powder was excellent.


    Soft powder in the trees.


    Making the final descent.

    On a side note, we had a wonderful time in Ouray at the [urlhttp://www.wiesbadenhotsprings.com/]Wiesbaden Motel [/url]. Having just picked it off the website, it turned out to be a great find. The motel features a natural underground vapor cave and hot spring pool, along with quiet and comfortable rooms. It was a very tranquil and relaxing way to end the trip and I recommend staying there if ever in Ouray.


    Back down to beautiful Ouray!

    #614332
    snowsavage
    Participant

    ahhhhhh sir-galfs-alot, a TR for your v-day getaway…… wtf nuckleson

    #614333
    TEX
    Participant

    Excellent! I hope to check that area out again someday. I was there when I was about 7 yrs old with Mom and Pop in 1969

    #614334
    bones get broke
    Participant

    Next time you make it to the San Juans drop me a note. I’d be glad to show you some additional goods, even the mellow lines around here do not suck.

    #614335
    ale_capone
    Participant

    Nice writing!

    Sanjuans are so purty…

    #614336
    dude_reino
    Participant

    @snowsavage wrote:

    ahhhhhh sir-galfs-alot, a TR for your v-day getaway…… wtf nuckleson

    Hey bro, you moved to Japan and Briguy moved to Illinois. A guys gotta do what he’s got to do. And not only can my new partner ride pretty well, I don’t miss sharing a tiny motel room in Silverton with a bunch of dudes anymore either 😉

    @bones get broke wrote:

    Next time you make it to the San Juans drop me a note. I’d be glad to show you some additional goods, even the mellow lines around here do not suck.

    Bones–I want to come back in the spring to do something big. A lot of peaks caught my eye this week. Most impressed by Wilson Peak. I’d like to do a climb and descent. Not necessarily the north face, but likely the route from Silver Pick basin. Is that something you’d be interested in?

    #614337
    bones get broke
    Participant

    @luca_brasi wrote:

    Bones–I want to come back in the spring to do something big. A lot of peaks caught my eye this week. Most impressed by Wilson Peak. I’d like to do a climb and descent. Not necessarily the north face, but likely the route from Silver Pick basin. Is that something you’d be interested in?

    That wasn’t on this years list but I could definitely add it. If the weather holds I’m going to try and climb South Lookout Peak this weekend. You’d be welcome to join if you like.

    #614338
    HikeforTurns
    Participant

    Nice report, how i wish that pass was my normal weekend spot. I havent been paying attention, is the snowpack at normal depth these days?

    Id like to try a few lines over that way this spring too. How about The Boxcar on Mt Wilson?

    Bones, let me know if you’re looking for partners for Lookout, Id like to get after one of those skinny lines with a summit descent.

    edit, nevermind, I noticed you mentioned this weekend. Let me know if it doesnt work out and you want to do it later this year.

    #614339
    dude_reino
    Participant

    @HikeforTurns wrote:

    Id like to try a few lines over that way this spring too. How about The Boxcar on Mt Wilson?

    Hmmm…it seems an unofficial splitboard.com excursion to the Wilson group may be in order for this coming spring. What do you think?

    #614340
    bones get broke
    Participant

    Count me in :thumpsup:

    #614341
    dude_reino
    Participant

    @bones get broke wrote:

    Well…since the f*cking Kool-Aid man decided to bust on in and hijack this thread 😆 I’ve created a little discussion about a future climb of the Wilson group HERE.

    #614342
    snowsavage
    Participant

    Hey bro, you moved to Japan and Briguy moved to Illinois. A guys gotta do what he’s got to do. And not only can my new partner ride pretty well, I don’t miss sharing a tiny motel room in Silverton with a bunch of dudes anymore either 😉

    reallz, that dude moved back to illinois?….what the

    stoked for u bro, ur girl kills it….just had to talk a lil shit for old times sake… 8)

    I never moved to japan dude, just an extended vacation…I be out in 5 days….xcept now I tucked into a lil something over here that might be keeping me around, or coming back often that is…

    me and you will handle Wilson someday, ok?

    #614343
    bones get broke
    Participant

    @luca_brasi wrote:

    @bones get broke wrote:

    Well…since the f*cking Kool-Aid man decided to bust on in and hijack this thread 😆 I’ve created a little discussion about a future climb of the Wilson group HERE.

    Sorry Dude 😉

    #614344
    dude_reino
    Participant

    @snowsavage wrote:

    Hey bro, you moved to Japan and Briguy moved to Illinois. A guys gotta do what he’s got to do. And not only can my new partner ride pretty well, I don’t miss sharing a tiny motel room in Silverton with a bunch of dudes anymore either 😉

    reallz, that dude moved back to illinois?….what the

    stoked for u bro, ur girl kills it….just had to talk a lil shit for old times sake… 8)

    I never moved to japan dude, just an extended vacation…I be out in 5 days….xcept now I tucked into a lil something over here that might be keeping me around, or coming back often that is…

    me and you will handle Wilson someday, ok?

    Yeah, Briguy is back here this week, en route to the Olympic Peninsula. He got a gig working on some hippie communal farm or something…”Johnny Onionseed”, brah. He wants me to fly out to send Rainier in the spring.

    So you’re coming back to Colorado? Nice. The snowfall hasn’t been as good as last year, but we’ve been making do. Let me know when you’re in town. I saw crazy Michelle from CMC the other day in Butler Gulch…she’s got a homecoming present for you :thumpsup:

    #614345
    bcrider
    Participant

    Right on Adam! Your Valentine is a hottie and she can ride too! :thumpsup:

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