Not only does my birthday often fall on a three day weekend, it is also prime peak bagging season. The onset of September brings more predictable weather to Colorado's high peaks. While there can be strong snow strorms this time of year, they are forecast well in advance, and when there are no fronts moving through, the weather is far less likely to deteriorate as the day progresses. Since we had a three day weekend to play with, my friend April, her roommate Sarah, Angi and I set off to the slopes of Mt. Bross for an overnight camp before our hike to the summit. This would be April's third, and Sarah's first fourteener. Bross is a rather boring summit to hike on it's own, but since I had summited the rest of the Lincoln Group on a previous solo trip, I figured this would be an easy way to finish the Tenmile Range.
We drove until the road became rather rough, near timberline. After lugging our camping gear a bit up one of the side roads to avoid passing traffic, we found some flat space and setup camp. We awoke just as the sun hit the tent, about 6am. After cooking up some instant oatmeal, we headed off toward the main road to the summit. Since we were on a side road and did not want to backtrack, we bushwhacked in the general direction of the main road. We quickly became too hot and I decided I had far too many clothes with me, and decided to tie my parka shell and fleece to a noteworthy tree to retrieve on the return trip. Angi decided to drop some of her extra clothes, and without much notice, April and Sarah followed suit. I had not fully realized that April and Sarah had left behind their only windproof layers. The clouds to the east were stunning.
We continued our off-trail hike for about 45 minutes before we regained the road. After another leisurely hour, we reached a mining cabin for a quick break. The east slopes of Mt. Bross are densely covered with prospects and related buildings, etc. I am constantly both amazed by the people who lived here, and the amounts of garbage they left behind.
We continued up the road, which began to wind around Bross' north slopes. The route in Roach's book seems to leave the road, but we opted to follow it all the way to the Cameron Bross saddle. As we wrapped around to the north the conditions became consistently snowier, with some ice present on the road. As we approached the saddle, a stiff, cold wind began to blow, and I got out some of my extra clothes, realizing April and Sarah had no more clothes remaining. Fortunately, Angi and I had enough to spare. We were all a bit cold, but not to the point of worrying about it, especially since the weather looked quite stable with a cloudless sky.
The road was not very rough, and we followed up all the way to Bross' large, flat summit where tire tracks were present. This was, of course, interesting and disappointing at the same time. At least there were no cars present at the summit when we were there. We sat, signed the register, ate food, and were greeted by some quite young kids, waiting for their mom to bring the food to the summit.
After the slow ascent up the road, and with the chilly wind, we opted to scramble directly down the somewhat steeper slopes on Bross' eastern ridge. This route was slightly loose, and was a great descent route. It would also be acceptable on the ascent, if you're looking for a break from the monotonous road hike.
After we reached the road, we were out of the wind and with the sun shining, we soon warmed up and had a pleasant hike back to camp. With a bit of good route finding, we were also able to recover our stashed clothes. We had a good time, great weather, and Sarah said her first would not be her last.
See more trip reports, my homepage, etc at http://www.cunap.com/~hardingr