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Thread: Mount Sopris

  1. #1
    Outdoorsman gnwatts's Avatar
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    Nov 2010
    Carbondale, Co

    Mount Sopris

    It's getting to be that time of year (well, not quite) to go higher. Our mountain here in Carbondale is Mount Sopris, at 12,965 ft. it's summit is nearly 7000 ft. above town. A short drive south on Hwy. 133 leads you to Prince Creek Road, drive 7 miles or so (pavement ends after 2.5 miles) up this road to the Trail head, it has a horse corral and plenty of parking. Because it is so close to the roaring fork valley it can get crowded sometimes. This trip was made mid September on a Friday a few years ago with my son, Kyle.
    It is about 3 miles (1500' gain) to Thomas Lakes where we will be camping for the night, so we left the trail head around 4:30. It is another 3 miles from the lakes to the summit (2800' gain). The lake is at 10,200'.

    This picture was made a few day's after we returned, from Delaney Park below our house:

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    The first mile or so of the hike is pretty boring. You are on an old abandoned road switch backing up the ridge in the trees. It is pleasant enough, but then you emerge out into the open and things get more spicy, expansive views of the continental divide and down the Roaring Fork valley. You have made 2/3's of the climb. Then the trail re-enters the forest, but now there are more aspens:

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    A nice little pond before the lakes:

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    From the upper Thomas lake. The camp spot is just beyond the lake in that saddle. It is actually in between the upper lake and the 2 lower lakes. The normal route is via switch backs from the lake to the ridge (@ left out of the picture) then following the ridge to the "false summit" then down to the lower saddle and up the final 500 feet or so the east summit (Sopris has 2 summits, exactly the same height, 1/2 mile apart):

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    A view from above looking at the 2 lower lakes. The camp spot is to the right out of the picture:

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    I can't believe I did not have a shot of the camp spot this trip, but here is a shot from the tent on another trip. The nice thing about this site is that it is not deep in the trees, like a lot of the other spots:

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    The next morning:

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    We got a late start but were not worried as a high pressure was dominating and were assured of good weather. A basic mistake on our part, as the weather will usually do the opposite that you want it to do. We knew we could do it in 3 hours, so that put us off the summit by 1pm, which is ok. I have no shots of the climb as we were in speed mode. Here are the shots from the summit. Looking west to the west summit, from the east summit:

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    I think this guy was here the last time we were here:

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    It was getting cloudier, and we heard some distant thunder so it was time to go:

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    You can see the route, up and over the the false summit and down the ridge beyond. The bowl to the left is the normal ski/boarding descent:

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    Sopris is so close town, and so accessible, it get's habit forming. We will hopefully be up there in a few weeks to make some turns!
    Thanks for looking.

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  4. #3
    That ascent and terrain reminds me a bit of Kings Peak. Cool report!

  5. #4
    Outdoorsman gnwatts's Avatar
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    Nov 2010
    Carbondale, Co
    Kings Peak looks like a big mountain. Yet another place I will have to visit.

  6. #5
    I really like the black and white summit photos. Nice report!

  7. #6
    Outdoorsman gnwatts's Avatar
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    Nov 2010
    Carbondale, Co
    Thanks. Those shots were taken when he thought I was still cool, sort of.

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