14ers: El Diente & Mount Wilson

Thursday at 2am, we got up and headed out for another try at El Diente (and Mt. Wilson). This time we headed up via the Kilpacker trail and started our hike at about 3:45am. We arrived in Kilpacker basin just as the sun was coming up and were treated to this view of “The Tooth” catching the first rays of light:

El Diente at sunrise

Kilpacker Basin

Our timing was great. We did the easy trail hiking in the dark and started our scramble up the south slopes of El Diente while watching the sun creep along the ridges and valley floors.


Kilpacker Basin3UpAdventures.com. El Diente-Mt. Wilson Traverse.

Reaching the summit of El Diente was awesome. There was just the right amount of difficult third class scrambling to make it fun without being intimidating. Since we still wanted to do the traverse to Mt. Wilson, we didn’t spend too long on the summit, taking just enough time to share a Good2Go bar and drink some water.

F on the summit of El Diente

From El Diente, we finally got a glimpse of Mt. Wilson:

Mt. Wilson from El Diente

From the left: Wilson Peak, Mt. Gladstone, and Mt. Wilson:

Wilson Peak, Gladstone from El Diente

We started across the traverse. While parts of it were lots of fun, there was lots of crumbly, tippy, loose rocks with plenty of exposure. It demanded a lot of attention as we moved slowly towards Mt. Wilson.

El Diente from Wilson Peak Traverse

The last pitch up the summit block of Mt. Wilson was quite the climax to the day. The last few moves are definitely class 4 with plenty of exposure. Finally, though, we were on top. It was almost noon so we didn’t linger very long on the summit and started our decent down into Navajo Basin via the northeastern slopes.

Marmot Navajo Basin

Decent route

When we finally reached the basin floor, it was time to get walking. The clouds were gathering and we knew that it wouldn’t be long before we got wet. Fortunately, we got to see Navajo Lake from above before packing the camera away from the rain that was almost upon us. The six mile hike out was really wet but we’d made it!

Navajo Lake

Mushrooms near Navajo Lake

Trail Stats:

Miles hiked: 16
Feet of elevation gain: ~5,200′
Time: 12 hours 45 minutes
14ers summited: TWO (Mt. Wilson and El Diente plus West Wilson)

3Up Instagram

New to the 3Up Adventures social media network: Instagram.

I added a widget to display the latest shot over on the sidebar. I’m still getting the hang of photography with an iPhone but I’m having fun with it so far! It’s really nice to document the “little” things as they happen.

SprocketHot air balloon, RidgwayDog at the libraryBeth & Sprocket

Review: Good2Go Protein Bars

Among our many highlights of OR Show was the #hikerchat adventure. In the “buffet” of things we collected were Good2Go bars. F and I each grabbed a few but didn’t eat them on the hike because we were so busy talking (and grabbing an extra peak!).

When we headed up Mt. Sneffels with our buddy Ezra and tossed three of them in our packs for some sampling at over 14,000′.

Good2Go BarsSince we hadn’t sampled them before, I was bit apprehensive handing one to Ezra on the summit. I opened my Almond Butter Chocolate Chip bar, F bit into the Almond Butter Fruit Nut and Ezra tried the Peanut Butter Fruit Nut. Our snack quickly turned into a summit tasting party as we passed them around..

First, the flavor: excellent. Each of the three flavors we sampled was really yummy. They were simple and delicious.

Second, the texture: These bars had little of the “grainy” texture that I associate with protein bars. They are a bit greasy but that’s purely due to the “good” fat from the nut butters (something you need when out hiking all day).

Third, the ingredients. As much as I like how they taste and feel in my mouth, I also love what these bars stand for. They’re made with all natural ingredients, are gluten free, and basically are full of things you don’t need a degree in chemistry to pronounce.

Fourth, They are made here in the Rocky Mountains by people that love the mountains and support the outdoor community. Sounds like a winner to us!

New Venture: Alpine Tour Co.

The time has come for us to try to make our way into the business world. For us that looks a little bit like this:

Alpine Tour Co. Stickers

Alpine Tour Co.

Alpine Tour Co.

The official launch of Alpine Tour Co. will be next April but the soft-launch is well underway! We’re super excited about offering amazing Jeep and hiking tours throughout the San Juans between Silverton, Ouray, Telluride, and our home base in Ridgway. See you on the trails!

Nature 1, Us 0

Wednesday morning, we hit the road at 3:45 am to climb El Diente and Mount Wilson. We arrived at the Navajo Lake trail and began the first few miles of our hike in the dark. As we reached the meadows below the lake, the sky began to lighten and we got our first glimpse of El Diente (and South Wilson).

Sunrise on the Navajo Peak Trail

Finally we climbed the trail over the headwall of Navajo Basin and got to see the slopes of El Diente. We enjoyed a snack on the shores of the lake before starting the long scramble up to the West Ridge.

Navajo Lake

Navajo Lake

Our chosen route was steep. The going up the scree was slow but our views got better and better as we moved up in elevation. Mostly it was just a lot of two steps up, one step back but there were a few places we got to do some scrambling.

F on the slopes of El Diente

Up El Diente

Climbing the chutes

Climbing the chutes

Finally, we popped out on the ridge and we saw El Diente for the first time since leaving the meadows. Wow.

First glimpse of El Diente

Our views out to the west weren’t too bad either:

To the West

Traversing the west ridge was a lot of fun. We weren’t making awesome time because there were plenty of places where we had to cross some sketchy areas like this: (Yes, it’s a long ways down)

Knife's Edge

To the North

Ridge hiking

Ridge Hiking

Just as we started to feel within reach of the summit, the infamous Colorado summer thunderstorms began to develop. We watched as the clouds began to get more and more ominous. As we watched the clouds began to move to our south so we began moving again.

Ominous clouds

Within minutes, things went from sketchy to very bad. As my hair stood straight up and we got a fuzzy sensation, F sternly instructed me to get down and the two of us hit the rocks and rolled down the ridge 20ft. BOOM, lightning struck over head. Luckily it was cloud to cloud that time.

As we regrouped, we realized 1) that we needed to GET OFF THE RIDGE, 2) that we’d put holes in several hundred dollars worth of clothing, that F had 3) bent his thumbnail back ripping some flesh and 4) sliced 3″ of his hand open on the rocks.  We bandaged his hand with my t-shirt and hair tie (my free tshirt from S2V met a bloody death and I doubt my coworker wants her hair tie back…).

Two miles of ridge top traversing did not sound like a good idea but we weren’t sure we had much of a choice. The alternate routes on El Diente were on the other side of the summit and the sides of the ridge were full of cliffs. As we scrambled our way along the ridge F spotted a chute that appeared be decendable to Kilpacker basin and we both agreed it was worth a shot to get ourselves out of a sketchy situation. So we “skied” down 1000ft of scree while trying to avoid going over the cliff.

When we arrived in the basin the imminent threat of severe weather seemed to have been replaced with a slight summer drizzle and we were treated to a side view of How Close We Were.

Hand gash on El Diente's slopes

Instead of following our tracks out to the Navajo trail, we decided to hike out Kilpacker trail to see if trying the South Slopes approach would be a better idea next time. Just shy of the trail head we met a father and son who had made it to the top of El Diente before the storm but had to abandon the traverse to Mount Wilson. They kindly agreed to drive us back to the Navajo trailhead to pick up the Jeep.

Bummed about not making it to the summit, we took Last Dollar Road from Telluride back to Dallas Divide. Along the way, we saw elk herds, some Aspen and pine groves, and lots of trails to explore.

Elk on Last Dollar Road

The Jeep even got to have some muddy fun:

Green Jeep.

Back in Ridgway over pizza and beer, we began to make plans to give the climb another shot. We’re on a mission now!

Hike by the numbers:
Miles hiked: 11.8
Feet of elevation gain: 3800′
High point: 13,600′
Stitches needed: 9
Summits reached: 0
Dollars worth of clothing torn: a lot 😥


Owl Creek Pass

The San Juans to the south seem to get all the attention around here but we also have the beautiful Cimarron Range to our east. Thursday we finally headed out over Owl Creek Pass to check it out.

Owl Creek Pass

It looks like we have lots of exploring to do! (Courthouse Mountain is on my shortlist right now!) We didn’t stop to do any hiking but we did venture down to Silver Jack Reservoir.

Silver Jack Reservoir Panorama

Cimarron Ridge

Can’t wait for more exploring of these craggy beauties!


Sunday Sermon

“To those who have struggled with them, the mountains reveal beauties that they will not disclose to those who make no effort. That is the reward the mountains give to effort. And it is because they have so much to give and give it so lavishly to those who will wrestle with them that men love the mountains and go back to them again and again. The mountains reserve their choice gifts for those who stand upon their summits.”








–Sir Francis Younghusband

Mt. Sneffels Climb

Wednesday, F, Ezra and I decided it was time to climb Mt. Sneffels. The climb marked the first 14er for both Ezra and I as well as the first 14er F has climbed (he’s driven up Mt. Evans).

We started our climb in beautiful Yankee Boy Basin. From the last parking area, it’s only about 1 1/2 miles to the summit so we took our time on the way up. We stopped for awhile to photograph this really friendly marmot:


As is normal in the San Juans, the views just get better and better (and my list of mountains to climb gets longer and longer).

F on Mt. Sneffels

F and Ezra on Mt. Sneffels

Views of the San Juans from Mt Sneffels

Views of the San Juans from Sneffels

Mt. Sneffels final chute

North from the summit of sneffels

Blue Lakes




Beth & F on Sneffels

We even found a bunch of fulgurites (is it still a fulgurite if it’s not a tube?):


Before the Dawn

Monday morning, Amanda, Jolleen, F, and I woke up at 3:30 and loaded up in the jeep. We headed up Corkscrew Pass and then headed to Hurricane Pass (12,407′). As we had planned, we arrived in almost total darkness to see the whole progression to sunrise.

As we waited in the dark, it was cold. I glanced around at the high peaks silhouetted against the starry sky and started thinking “up.” With shooting stars from the Perseids all around, I decided to head up the slope to our east. Away I went, picking my way through the scree, pausing now and then to note the lightening of the sky to the east and how the mountains in the distance showed more and more. Steadily, I climbed, worrying that I wouldn’t reach the summit before I had gotten too far away from the group.

Finally, I arrived at a craggy summit standing above the Lake Como basin. I could see the lake, shining darkly, down below. I could pick out Uncompaghre and Wetterhorn Peaks along with hundreds of other peaks that I can’t name. It was quiet and cool with just a slight breeze—the morning brimmed with possibility and excitement.

I returned to the group warm and happy—I had just climbed 13,447′ Hurricane Peak before sunrise. Not a bad way to start a day.

Hurricane Peak

More from our sunrise adventure to come soon. (Like once I get pictures from Jolleen and Amanda since my camera battery was completely dead…)

Hippie Cleaning

Awhile ago, I posted about Green Housekeeping and how excited I was about implementing some of the ideas. Since we were living in a garage, the whole thing sort of got put aside. Yesterday, however, I finally rolled up my sleeves and started cleaning our new apartment. First thing first, was a trip to the store for some supplies:

Organic Cleaning Supplies

The first exciting thing about my trip to the store is that I was able to walk there. (Although a construction worker on the way back thought it would be helpful to suggest a car as transportation.)

The second exciting thing was that my purchase of supplies came to less than $20. Bam.

My first task was to start cleaning our coffee maker. We purchased it used at 2nd Chance and figured a good cleaning would be the way to start. As suggested in Green Housekeeping, I added a pint of vinegar and topped off with water. I actually repeated this twice and then brewed three pots of just hot water. The pot of coffee I’m drinking right now tastes perfect.

Coffee Maker cleaning

My second task was cleaning the oven. I have no idea how long it has been since the oven was cleaned but I put a dish of ammonia in the oven overnight and most everything lifted out pretty easily with a minimum of scrubbing.

Even better: my hands didn’t start peeling from using cleaning chemicals! Oddly excited to keep trying out hints from the book!