Hoosier Pass | Colorado | 11/07/20

Hoosier Pass | Arapaho National Forest

Breckenridge, CO | 11/07/20 | 4.64 miles | 1,630′ gain

TH: Hoosier Pass Trailhead, R: Red Mountain C (13,229′), H: Hoosier Ridge (13,352′)

By early November, the first snow of the season had melted and we had a good weather window for a couple more 13ers. Hoosier Ridge and Red Mountain C are typically done as an out and back from Hoosier Pass, and with all the bumps on Hoosier’s long ridge, that means plenty of ups and downs in both directions. To avoid returning over all of the bumps, Allie and I devised a point-to-point route from Hoosier Pass to Fredonia Gulch. We’d have to take two cars but that wasn’t the end of the world. I spent the night at Allie’s in Denver so we could get an early start. We parked one car at a family friend’s house near the Fredonia Gulch Trail (our end point) and then we drove up Hoosier Pass. We parked and were on trail before 7am.

The “trail” starts across the highway so we crossed and started up the dirt road. After about 1/2 mile, the road turns left and heads to some radio towers. We continued straight on a faint trail up Hoosier Ridge. We were soon above treeline and had incredible views.

Red Mountain C (left, 13,229′) and Hoosier Ridge (right, 13,352′)
View south to the Mosquito Range
Mount Bross (left, 14,172′) and Mount Lincoln (right, 14,286′)
North Star Mountain (center, 13,614′) and Quandary Peak (right, 14,265′)
Allie & Harper ascend the faint trail

The route was steep but would normally be perfectly manageable at a slow pace. However, I was really struggling. It was just one of those days where my body wasn’t feeling it and I had to will it to move every single step.

Evidence of my struggle, but look at that view! Montgomery Reservoir is below with Mount Lincoln above and North Star Mountain to the right. Photo: Allie
We spooked a bull moose out of the willows. He ran up the slope and gave me a cool silhouette shot.
Woof, it’s a long way to go to Red Mountain (far left) and Hoosier Ridge (left of center)
Allie & Harper and the bumps upon bumps along the ridge

Eventually I became frustrated with myself and we had a long talk about what we were going to do. I knew that I could make it, but it would take me three times longer than normal. I wasn’t having any fun and most of the reason I climb these mountains is purely for fun. If I’m not having fun, why am I doing it? I decided to turn around and let Allie finish the route. It was lucky we’d parked two cars. I was able to transfer the maps to Allie and she continued down to her car in Fredonia Gulch.

Platte Gulch with 13ers Traver, McNamee, Clinton, and North Star

I descended slowly, disappointed that I wasn’t able to reach my goal but ultimately happy with my decision. Even though I didn’t summit a single 13er, I still saw some incredible views. I drove down to Fredonia Gulch and transferred Allie’s stuff from my car to hers, stashing her keys and texting her a picture of where I hid them. She had service on the ridge and we kept in contact to make sure she got down okay. She even met another hiker that she ended up hiking with the rest of the time so she wasn’t alone. I felt bad but she made it down safely and moved much faster once I wasn’t holding her back. Hoosier & Red, you are HIGH on my list for 2021.


19 thoughts on “Hoosier Pass | Colorado | 11/07/20

  1. It’s always interesting the way that you can just not ‘feel it’ on longer hikes. I find that sometimes I can overcome that mental block, and at some point the body responds and you are sort of ‘warmed up.’

    And then there are those times when it like being unwell, or completely out of shape – when the will to go for it just isn’t there, and then you have to deal with making a decision. Good on you for being self aware – too often I’ve felt the frustration of my expectations making me try to push through, and ending up walking into the darkness, grumpy, tired and unable to consider the journey in any positive light!

    I’m sure you’ll knock that one on the head soon enough on a return visit!


    1. I love the way you’ve described it! That’s exactly how I feel. I almost always feel like I “can’t do it” when I’m tired or get to a hard section, but generally I can talk myself out of it and continue with a positive attitude. But then there are days like this one where I just can’t get into it and that’s okay! We all have these weird days. I’m really excited to get back up there on a day I’m in a better mindset. I know I’ll be able to do it! ๐Ÿ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s always a balance on deciding what to do. I feel I turn around a lot but those who refuse to ever turn around tend to have more issues with injury/lightning/etc. I would rather be safe and having fun, I don’t mind turning around if that’s the better choice that day.

      Liked by 1 person

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