Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Elevation Gains: Hiking from Breckenridge to Copper

Taking a quick break by a snow fence just past
Peak 9 Restaurant (in the background to the left).
About 1,400 feet above the Town of Breckenridge,
just over 1/3 of the way up...
Tuesday found Max, Zorro and I making our "Annual Summer Hike from the Town of Breckenridge, up & over the Breckenridge Ski Mountain and down to Copper Ski Resort."

It is quite the adventure in elevation gain and trekking over high alpine terrain. It is also fun to see the expression on people's faces when they ask, "what did you do today?" and we answer casually, "oh, we hiked from & over Breckenridge to Copper." (then watch the questioning astonishment on people's faces ;-)

The Route Stats:
- 11.2 miles (modest by "flat distance").
- 3023 feet of elevation gain (and 3123 feet of elevation loss) - extreme pitch over 11.2m!
- 3h 50m total time.

Looking over the terrain as we pass Peak 9 Restaurant.
We'll be in some of that snow on the horizon in about 1.5 hours!
The (Siberian) Highlights:
  • Snow in August!
  • 1 encounter with a Wolverine (we were about 20 yards from it before it glanced at us and sauntered off)!
  • 1 encounter with a Fox (about 10-15 yards off the trail)
  • 1 encounter with a pack of Deer (3 about 20 yards off the trail and lots more rustling & running away in the heavy brush).
  • Countless "close range" encounters with Squirrels, Chipmunks and Field Mice...

A "Google Earth" visual of the route: (1) start in Breckenridge; (2) hike up the Breck
Ski Mountain; (3) surpass the Ski Resort (around the "Cornice" point) and continue
our path in high alpine terrain; (4) hang a right onto Wheeler Trail (the wjct waypoint);
(5) slope down & then up to Wheeler Summit (wsummit waypoint); (6) start down
to Copper; (7) exit high alpine terrain and back into forest terrain a bit before the
cjct waypoint; (8) frolic down through the forest to Copper Ski Resort.
Zorro says, "Sun, schmun - it's nice and cool at 12,000+ feet!"
Max declares, "I see snow - I WANT some of that!"
"Yum! I knew I wanted some of this!!!"
Zorro ponders the situation... "There's a trail in the dirt just below me, but my paws
are happy in the snow! Do I sense an alternate trail to my left???
"Yes! I think there is a path up this way - across the snow, let's go!"
The silly human agreed to try the "snow crossing route" - about 1/2 across and
I lost my footing/balance and the 3 of us catapulted & slid down this steep snow
embankment until hitting the dirt trail, giving us traction to stop! Thank dog for
quick-drying shorts (my left was soaking & freezing) and thank dog for huskies:
I hugged Max and Zorro as a means to warm my wet/freezing hands!
At the Summit of Wheeler National Trail - it is all downhill to Copper Mountain
Ski Resort from here on out...
Max holding down the "summit sign" amidst the strong winds at the summit.
Our high point was actually 12,600 as we looped above and down to Wheeler Trail
before joining the trail to reach its summit of 12,460 feet.
Looking at the path down from the Wheeler Summit. Copper Mountain Ski Resort
is visible way off in the distance. Onward & Downward - off we go!

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