Crystal Peak (13,852 FT)

Google Maps to trailhead.
NOAA point forecast.

Android Stats:
Total Time: 7 hrs 3 min
Total Distance: 9.82 miles
Minimum Elevation: 10,361 ft
Maximum Elevation: 13,852 ft
Elevation Gain: 3,630 ft
Difficulty: Clear class 1 trail to Upper Crystal Lake then class 2+ if you follow my track. Barely class 2 if you leave trail northwest to the Crystal/Peak 10 saddle.

Date of Hike: September 21, 2013

The Spruce Creek trailhead. Lots of mountain/trail access from this nifty little 2WD friendly spot. It’s a go to for me when the weather looks nice and driving a little further doesn’t sound like a tunnel blasting chore.

These late September hikes are hit and miss trying to cram in a last hike before conditions really fall off the winter side of the charts. This one was spot on because by the week after, the snow machines on HWY 6 were blasting in full force. ┬áThe forecast was clear of precipitation and only a “breezy” rating to contend with. Don’t forget that breezy on a forecast up here means BLOODY cold with a chance of F* this.

Crystal Creek is a welcome friend for most of this trip, meaning my dogs didn’t have to lug liters of water up a dry tundra trail. The 4×4 road also makes for a simple trek up to Lower Crystal Lake. Where during the dry months you’ll likely find much low gear traffic.

Continue reading Crystal Peak (13,852 FT)

Peak 10 (13,633 ft)

Google Maps to trailhead.
NOAA point forecast.

Android Stats:
Total Time: 8 hrs 48 min
Total Distance: 9.5 miles
Minimum Elevation: 10,308 ft
Maximum Elevation: 13,633 ft
Elevation Gain: 3,325 ft
Difficulty: Mostly road and class I trail hiking until Wheeler Trail splits towards the resort. Then light class II to the summit with a spit more road too.

Date of Hike: September 11, 2010

Some days the weather cooperates perfectly. On this day we had a companion that hadn’t been at altitudes like these for many years. After seeing the multitude of pictures set as the computer screensaver, Michelle was in for the next hike. This was the first time we had taken a not so active person along and I learned a lot. For instance, 9.5 miles is a long haul at 1 MPH. Another thing is new hiking partners need to be strongly encouraged, not suggested, on what appropriate layers are. Yeah it’s 27┬░F when we start, but that quickly goes away once you start gaining ground. All in all it just turned out to be a bit longer day than anticipated.

The spruce creek trailhead. Simple to get to, 2wd friendly and many hiking options to suit any mood. After walking the 4×4 roads many times, I wouldn’t hesitate to drive my minivan up the Spruce Creek Road to the wide pullout and right fork. It is rough in spots though.

On this day we took off up the first right fork that’s a rough and steep 4×4 road along Crystal Creek. About 800 vertical on the road itself.

Continue reading Peak 10 (13,633 ft)