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Buena Vista>Telluride off-road adventure

Discussion in 'Off-Roading & Trails' started by NYCO, Sep 19, 2011.

  1. Sep 19, 2011 at 3:06 PM
    #1
    NYCO

    NYCO [OP] ┌∩┐‹(ಠ_ಠ)›┌∩┐

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    wow...what a weekend!!!!

    made it back in one piece and no broken rigs...

    my girlfriend and i met up with jace and his gf for a san juan adventure that would take us up and over 5 mountain passes(kenosha, tincup, engineer, ophir, monarch), almost up and over 2 other passes (black bear and imogene) into amazing wildernesses.

    we set out on our journey thursday night around 7 from lakewood and set up camp in buena vista for the night..this put us 2 hours closer to our destinations for friday keeping the truck time down..

    we were able to get on the road at a decent time friday morning and after fueling up and getting some breakfast in us, we set out for tincup pass.

    tincup was a fun little trail, nothing difficult at all, but had some great scenery and got our first glimpse into the foliage that we'll be seeing plenty of throughout the trip. on the backside of the pass (coming from st elmo to tincup) there is a spur that you can take that takes you straight down (the main trail will turn left and eventually come back down to the right). this was a fun little bypass for sure and i recommend only if you have a lift and armor...and don't mind some pinstriping..add some snow and rain and this bypass gets pretty tricky. we made it down in one piece and had to use some spotting in one of the areas coming down. mirror lake was a nice quick stop on the trail and a bypass allows you to dip the truck into the lake by the shore for a short bit.

    after tincup we headed down to taylor reservoir for lunch and enjoy the views...a quickly approaching rain/snow storm made us get on the road shortly after finishing my beer. we headed down taylor river canyon (great scenic drive) into gunnison. we topped off our tanks again in gunnison and headed toward blue mesa reservoir to grab our next trail.

    about 28 miles outside of gunnison our turnoff for blue mesa cutoff came up. this is a dirt road that brings you through a small canyon and up on a mesa then back down into the lake city area. very cool baja road..we were able to keep our speeds up above 40mph for most of this road.

    after blue mesa we hopped on hwy 149 south to lake city where we would find camp on engineer pass just past Henson by the creek.

    after another cold night we packed up and made our way up engineer pass. this trail is a great scenic trail with waterfalls and plenty of scenery. we were making great time heading up the pass to the summit with some snowfall starting in when we hit the summit....then the weather went downhill....from the summit we aired down for our adventure into the whiteout that awaited us around the bend past the summit...with fat tires we busted trail up and over the remaining trail through low visibility and very snowy conditions...luckily the snow at that point was very grippy and we just locked up and took it slow...

    after the white knuckle trip over the pass we came across mineral creek. this is a great trail! wasn't really difficult and the scenery was amazing! ended with many waterfall that were raging due to all the snow and rain that was hitting the area...unfortunately we couldn't make any of the side hikes on this trail due to the rain/snow but we saw plenty of sweet things from the truck...

    after mineral creek we had to hop on the million $$ highway (hwy 550) and head up to red mountain pass where the snow really started to pick up! few inches on the road already by the time we hit the trailhead for black bear pass just past the red mountain pass summit.

    the trailhead to black bear pass was already covered in a few inches of snow, and through my worries about the pass conditions coming down the steep switchbacks we figured we'd give it a shot and see what the pass has in store for us. so we started up and about 2-3 miles in, near the twin cascades in the valley near the big switchback up the pass we started to have difficulties with the steeper climbs and constant snowfall and deeper snowpack...so to keep everyone safe we called it off and decided to head to the tamer ophir pass..

    so we flipped around and busted trail to ophir pass. through the whiteout conditions we busted trail all the way up and over the pass. broke trail pretty much the whole way up and over. i'm sure the scenery was great but we couldn't see 30 feet in front of us. once over the pass we decided to check out alta lakes and see how back the snow was there and at least have lunch there. alta lakes at one point was our planned camping spot for saturday night, but due to the snow storm that reeked havoc on the mountains down there, the lakes region was blanketed by 3-5 inches of snow. so we had lunch and a drink then continued into telluride.

    we found camp up mill creek rd that ran above telluride into some national forest. we setup camp then went down into town from some brown dog and drinks and enjoyed life. after some drinks and food we took a scenic trip up the gondola to soak in the night views above telluride. then back to camp for another coooold night (30-35 at night).

    sunday morning came and the skies were clear! snow was everywhere and we hoped that imogene pass would allow us up and over. hit the road at a decent time after a warm breakfast and was treated to a great scenic entry into the valley where tomboy mine sits. and unfortunately this is also where the snow depth had really piled up. an fj made it up just past the mine where they stopped to have a few drinks and enjoy the day, but we busted our way up as far as we could. we made great headway up the snowy pass up to around 12,500-12,700 feet...so close! we could see the final switchback to the summit, but the slick snow just did not allow us to pass! after a few attempts to bust ahead further we decided it was time to call it off...so down we went to air up and head back northeast.

    we ended the trip with a stop into ouray for some hot springs to soak away the frustration that the san juans had left upon us and relax before our long drive back to montrose>gunnison>monarch pass>285 back to lakewood.

    so until next time san juans...it was a blast and we were glad to have great company during this trip too

    photos will be following throughout the week but here are some teasers..

    view from our camp sunday morning above telluride

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  2. Sep 19, 2011 at 3:06 PM
    #2
    NYCO

    NYCO [OP] ┌∩┐‹(ಠ_ಠ)›┌∩┐

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    pics from tincup pass 9/16/11

    Leaving camp in buena vista 9/16/11 morning
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    chalk cliffs
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    seeing some foliage through the chalk canyon
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    st. elmo
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    jace hitting a puddle hard
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    saw a group of moose on our way up the pass
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    then we got our first (and definitely not last) dose of snow
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    snowing at the summit
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    on the way down we took the bypass in the book that brings you down the old pass...it adds some obstacles on the normally easy pass trail
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    after this section it becomes real easy as you work your way down to mirror lake
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    jace heading through part of mirror lake
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    my turn
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    town of tincup
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    lunchtime at taylor reservoir was a little overcast
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    formations along blue mesa reservoir
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    more of blue mesa res.
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    after crossing to the south side of the reservoir for the last time there is a pull off for blue mesa cutoff...mainly a dirt road and easily able to keep speeds >40mph
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    we arrived to the engineer pass trail early afternoon and spent the rest of the afternoon setting up camp and relaxing..leaving the pass until the next day

    beginning of trail which is an easy road
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    camp for the night along the creek
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    that was day 1 (excluding the night drive to buena vista the night before)
     
  3. Sep 19, 2011 at 8:34 PM
    #3
    NYCO

    NYCO [OP] ┌∩┐‹(ಠ_ಠ)›┌∩┐

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  4. Sep 20, 2011 at 5:25 AM
    #4
    evilx

    evilx Well-Known Member

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  5. Sep 20, 2011 at 7:47 AM
    #5
    NYCO

    NYCO [OP] ┌∩┐‹(ಠ_ಠ)›┌∩┐

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  6. Sep 20, 2011 at 3:03 PM
    #6
    MountainDog

    MountainDog Well-Known Member

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    Sounds like great trip. I've hit up a lot of those spots and they're all beautiful!
     
  7. Sep 26, 2011 at 11:31 AM
    #7
    NYCO

    NYCO [OP] ┌∩┐‹(ಠ_ಠ)›┌∩┐

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    day 2 engineer pass>mineral creek>black bear pass (partial)>ophir pass>alta lakes

    morning treated to a rainbow and fresh snow on the mountains
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    whitmore falls along engineer pass
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    snow showing that it's going to be a part of our day early
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    approaching the summit
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    storm getting thicker
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    and storm has arrived
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    jace trying out his new duratracs in the snow
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    summit shot
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    tough conditions to be driving on a trail with a sharp drop off on the side
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    backside of engineer
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    switchback in mineral creek
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    poughkeepsie gulch coming into mineral creek
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    puddle at mineral creek/poughkeepsie intersection
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    lower portion of mineral creek
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    so much water in the area
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    attempted to go up black bear pass, but with the conditions getting worse, we decided to head to ophir pass and take the safer route up...

    on the way up red mountain pass
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    black bear lower portion
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    ophir summit
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    coming down ophir pass
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    visibility was not friendly
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    back in the trees
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    town of ophir
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    finally showing signs of clearing up!
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    amazing views in the area
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    heading up to alta lakes
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    ghost town
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    alta lakes

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    after lunch at the lake, we packed up to find a camping spot in telluride for the night..
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    camp above telluride
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    view from camp
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    went out in telluride that night for some drinks and food..enjoyed the scene down there with blue and brews in town which led to alot of funny moment people watching all the drunkards around town

    [​IMG]
     
  8. Sep 26, 2011 at 11:31 AM
    #8
    NYCO

    NYCO [OP] ┌∩┐‹(ಠ_ಠ)›┌∩┐

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    day 3

    attempted imogene pass

    view from the beginning of the pass looking down at the festival
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    black bear pass switchbacks
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    part of telluride resort and the backcountry
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    imogene pass and tomboy mine site
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    pass road
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    old mining area
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    as the snow started to get deeper past the mine
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    working our way up the pass
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    snow was slippery as F*CK and did not let us pass...after a couple attempts, i backed down and let jace give it a shot...he didn't make it much past where i got denied...so we decided to call it a day and go soak in the hot springs in ouray!

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    so we now have another reason to head back to the area...to successfully pass over black bear and imogene pass! along with a few other trails that are on the to-do list...
     
  9. Sep 26, 2011 at 11:45 AM
    #9
    ian408

    ian408 Well-Known Member

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    Been a while since I was in BV but damn, that's a gorgeous area.
     
  10. Sep 26, 2011 at 12:29 PM
    #10
    NYCO

    NYCO [OP] ┌∩┐‹(ಠ_ಠ)›┌∩┐

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    all pics are finally up....


    pics by both Jace and my collections
     
  11. Sep 26, 2011 at 6:40 PM
    #11
    pisc1024

    pisc1024 Member

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    Colorado is amazing! Awesome pics man!
     
  12. Sep 27, 2011 at 10:08 AM
    #12
    TacoMX

    TacoMX TW's Official anti body-lift pundit

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    awesome pictures...looks like tons of fun. Too bad I live in FL.... :pout:
     
  13. Sep 27, 2011 at 10:30 AM
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    Eagle Mapper

    Eagle Mapper Active Member

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    :thumbsup: Those are some great pics. Way to get out there and make it happen. Looks like a great time.
     
  14. Sep 30, 2011 at 1:29 PM
    #14
    b4iceman

    b4iceman Well-Known Member

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  15. Sep 30, 2011 at 1:35 PM
    #15
    NYCO

    NYCO [OP] ┌∩┐‹(ಠ_ಠ)›┌∩┐

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    nice pics...nice lookin truck you got too...how was the biking?
     
  16. Sep 30, 2011 at 1:55 PM
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    b4iceman

    b4iceman Well-Known Member

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    Thanks! Your truck looks good too. I think my next upgrade would be to swap out the front bumper for something like yours.

    Biking was fun. I did the Prospect trail on top of Telluride. I'm used to Phoenix with the 1k ft elevation, but Telluride's 10k+ elevation was a bit getting used to. I felt like I had half a lung. Biking trails were snowy, slushy and muddy. I ended the week by going to Moab, UT and the weather out there was in the 80's/90's. Biking out there was great.
     
  17. Sep 30, 2011 at 5:15 PM
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    TacoMX

    TacoMX TW's Official anti body-lift pundit

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    After showing these pictures to the girlfriend she wants to go. She said for us to meet up w/ you guys in CO....quite a hike from FL....lol
     
  18. Sep 30, 2011 at 11:30 PM
    #18
    S.B.

    S.B. Well-Known Member

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    I gotta do a trip like that soon, before it gets to close to winter. Looks like a hell of a time!

    Or if you are planning another one, let me know!

    What book of trails do you recommend? I'm looking at planning weekend trips and need a good book. Thanks
     
  19. Oct 1, 2011 at 10:10 AM
    #19
    b4iceman

    b4iceman Well-Known Member

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    I used this guide book here:

    http://www.amazon.com/Guide-Colorad...8047/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1317488491&sr=8-1

    It's a good resource. It got me through the trails I wanted to do and it was my first time driving in Colorado. It has detailed directions and descriptions in the guide.
     
  20. Oct 1, 2011 at 5:51 PM
    #20
    NYCO

    NYCO [OP] ┌∩┐‹(ಠ_ಠ)›┌∩┐

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    Yup that's the one... they also have one for the northern trails, that one is for the southern trails.
     
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