Saturday, September 10, 2016

Teocalli! Started a MTB ride but a hike broke out.

[Previously posted on FB 10-Sept-2016]
Had to keep today's activity on shorter side because a) my body is wrecked and b) I have 4hr drive to Durango. I wanted to work the Teocalli Ridge loop into a ride since the forest service reconstructed the trail a couple years ago, repairing abuse from heavy dirt bike use. The loop by itself is too short for "Hill Junkie" standards, and I didn't have time to loop in Deer Creek or other trails in the area. So why not a quick hike to Teocalli Mtn summit from the high point of the MTB loop?
I packed hiking shoes in Camelbak and didn't take much other precautionary gear. The forecast is like a broken record in a good way. 100% chance of gorgeous! Heavy frost on the ground starting out, but I didn't make it 30 minutes before stripping off the long sleeves.
I ditched the bike at the junction to the summit hike, which is right on the wilderness boundary. I quickly realized this was not going to be a quick nor easy hike. It gains close to 2000ft in a mile right up fall line of grassy slope. So tough on the calves. The descent was going to kill my knees because I didn't bring poles.
The herd path peters out near the top, so it was find your own route time. I cheated a little in that others have uploaded tracks to Strava so I could see how it was done. Still though, no markings, and GPS is only so accurate. The last 500ft of vertical is mostly on loose talus. The rocks were extremely sharp and easily cut you when not careful. I was probably the first person to summit for the day and had it to myself. Views of the Maroon Bells Snowmass Wilderness were stunning. Many 14er peaks were visible from this 13,208ft summit.
On the way down, I passed several groups of hikers heading up. Some asked about route finding once in the scrambly section. No way to explain it from where you can't even see it. Others asked if I biked all the way in and then hiked. They drove the first 2000+ feet I rode.
Back on the bike, the feature attraction was up next, the famed Teocalli descent. The rebuild did indeed nail it. I loved it. Certainly the best downhill run I've ridden in the CB area.
The ride/hike went 16.6mi with 4800ft of climbing in 3.9hrs moving time. Hardly an easy day. Have to keep that 5000ft/day average going...

Starting out on Brush Creek Rd. Teocalli Mtn center and far away

Teocalli looking closer, now on W Brush Creek Rd jeep track

Teocalli on right with the White Mtn cluster in center

On Teocalli singletrack off end of road

Teocalli Mtn

Singletrack is on boarder of wilderness area on flank of Teocalli Mtn, climbing very steeply. Looking down it here.

Teocalli summit looks so close but is still more than 2500ft up

Now on wilderness trail on foot to summit

Once you get to cliff bands, there really is no more trail to follow. Have to pick your route carefully. Nothing scary, but several bits of scrambling required.

Have to scramble through there

Like this

Prayer flags at the summit

14ers Castle Peak and Conundrum

Panoram of Maroon Bells Wilderness

Mt Crested Butte wee bump on left, towns of Crested Butte and Mt Crested Butte center and just right of center respectively.

Awesome view of the Maroon Bells Wilderness from Teocalli summit. I hung out for a while.

Several more 14ers in this one, Maroon and North Maroon, Pyramid are the ones I know on right side.

Looking down ridge line I scrambled up

Teocalli Ridge in center, which I'll bomb down on bike shortly. West Brush Creek drainage on right, which I biked up from very upper right corner of image. Middle Brush Creek drainage on left, which Pearl Pass Rd goes up and over the pass to Aspen (rugged jeep track).

Zoom of Middle Brush Cr drainage

Zoom of West Brush Cr drainage

Few hundred feet down from the summit

Hikers heading up on my descent claimed these were long horned sheep grazing (white dots center). I'm guessing they were mountain goats.

High point of Teocalli Ridge trail, ready for 2000+ foot descent. FS rebuilt the trail a couple years ago, vastly improving the fun-factor. I rode it only once before several years ago and it was rutted to hell by motos and no fun.

Near bottom of descent. Season's a-changin'.


Jason said...

Do you know the name of the ski area in picture 15?

Hill Junkie said...

Crested Butte