Every weekend isn't some epic adventure around here [Durango]. But every time we venture to the heart of the San Juans, we make sure to play hard. These breathtaking backcountry basins, ridgelines and peaks are only accessible for a short portion of the year (though sleds and skins counter that).
So, when Friday hit and the forecast called for an incredible weekend, we packed up and headed out to meet-up with some friends from Denver with a few prized peaks on our list and the new Ophir Snapback Hats on our heads.
- Amanda & Adrian, Western Rise Team
3:30pm, Friday: Cinnamon Pass, 12,640 feet and the clearest skies you've seen on an August afternoon in the high country.
4:30pm: Set up camp in American Basin. Discussion—to climb or not to climb Handies for sunset?
5:00pm: Climb. (And let's take this more direct route straight up the mountain rather than the trail.)
Times Unknown: Break. Snap photos. Snacks. Keep hiking. Repeat.
7:45pm: Nearly to the summit.
7:55pm: Made it. 14,058 feet.
7:58pm: Crack open a summit beer and enjoy the view.
8:30pm: Descend, via the trail, in the moonlight. No headlamps required.
9:40pm: Crawl into bed. Forget dinner. It'll be breakfast soon.
6:45am, Saturday: Wake up in American Basin to car-after-car rolling in to hike Handies Saturday morning.
7:15am: Finally crawl out of our cozy sleeping bags and get up to make last night's skipped green chile burritos, for breakfast.
8:10am: Pack up camp and head down out of the canyon to Lake City.
9:30am: Stop on the side of the road to air up the tires, just outside of Lake City and before we hit the pavement again. (Snapchat this.)
10:00am: Lake City. Coffee time. The San Juan Coffee Company renovated and it is looking really good! Time for a bit of rest and a little wi-fi.
10:40am: Grab a few Palisade peaches, some OJ and some Cholula at the local grocery.
11:00am: Grab a bit of sun on a bench in the town park.
11:30am: Back up the north side of the Alpine Loop to set up camp for Wetterhorn Peak tomorrow.
6:30am, Sunday: Wake up call. Oatmeal and coffee.
8:35am: Break treeline.
11:40am: Hang 100 feet below the summit with the pup, due to class 4 climbs. Wait for turn and take in the views of Uncompahgre Peak.
12:10: Summit Wetterhorn. 14,016 feet.
2:45pm: Back at camp for eggs, toast and some brews.
Photography Credit: (11, 13) @drew.herrick