Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Mt. Neva

On Sunday I took a trip to the Indian Peaks Wilderness for a scramble up the north ridge to Mount Neva. Starting from the Buckingham Campground (also called the Fourth of July Trailhead) its a hike all the way up to Arapahoe Pass. However, I mistakenly took the diamond lake trail and it turned out to be a great move. Although the going got swampy after leaving the trail and heading for the ridge, I soon came upon a cabin and an old mine. The bushwacking was Class 2+ allowing as much rock scrambling as you want to add. I hit an impass at a fast moving creek that was at least 3 feet wide. After contemplating a wade, I decided to jump the creek since the water was moving fast. Bad move. I tweaked my back but good on the landing. In hind sight I should have removed my backpack before the hop.

In the cliff bands just below Lake Dorothy I happened upon a plane crash. Check out the picture... it looks to be a Cessna from the flaps. The scramble is fun up to Lake Dorothy and a good warm up for the ridge to come.

Finally on North Ridge, the first scramble continues your preparation for the Class 4 scramble above. The scramble on the North Ridge looks most daunting from the lake (see picture), but gets less intimidating the closer you get. Once on the crux it is pure fun. The downclimb immediately following the crux forces you to the left.

The main crux, downclimb and second crux constitute the highlight of the trip so enjoy it! The final scramble is anticlimatic, but if your adreneline is pumping it provides a gentle let down as you head for the summit. At least I felt confident enough to get in the picture :-)

I ran out of camera battery on top of Mt. Neva so no photos at the summit. I followed Dave Cooper's advice from his book Colorado Scramblesand found a descent that split two lakes below. This downclimb is a fun scramble over a vast boulder field.

The boulder field and snow fields continue on long trek back to Arapahoe Pass trail. I stayed high which led me to one more challenging downclimb over wet rock caused by melting snow. All in all this scramble tops both the Kelso Ridge on Torres and Father Dyer Peak. For me it ranks just below the scramble on the Crestone Peak for challenge and fun.

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