Courthouse Mountain

As mentioned previously, I had been planning to climb Castle and Conundrum Peaks on 7/5/15…but between the weather forecast and my sore left knee (courtesy of the Kettle Moraine 100k four weeks ago), I instead drove down to the San Juan range for something a little shorter and easier.

I didn’t actually settle on Courthouse Mountain (12,152′) until the morning of 7/5. And I wasn’t entirely sure where the mountain was, precisely. Just that it was somewhere in the Uncompahgre National Forest, accessible by a tangled network of dirt roads. Which, thanks to some poor planning, I began exploring with a gas tank perilously close to empty. But I did have some vague/sketchy instructions I’d found online (“keep right when you go around the big lake…turn left at one of the crossroads before you get to Owl Creek Pass”). So that was something. And after some trial and error, I found it.

A trail crossing

A trail crossing

The hike to the base of Courthouse Mountain was pretty short, and gave my knee a much-needed chance to recover before the more intense climbs I had planned for later in the week. The mountain itself was really scenic, with sprawling views of Chimney Rock and some of the larger, better known peaks in the area.

Chimney Rock, as seen from the upper slopes of Courthouse Mountain

Chimney Rock, as seen from the upper slopes of Courthouse Mountain

Above the treeline, the route was a straightforward class 2+ hike/scramble. I accidentally got off-trail at one point, though, and ended up scrambling on some fun class 3.

Looking back down toward the treeline

Looking back down toward treeline

At the top I met a guy who works for the Forest Service and got a couple pictures.

Summit Photo

Summit Photo (Redcliff and Coxcomb visible in the distance to the left)


It turned out to be a fun day, and a nice warm-up for Sneffels.

Published in: on July 12, 2015 at 6:22 pm  Comments (1)  

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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. Quite scenic!

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