Dune 8860

Page Type
Trip Report
Colorado, United States, North America
Date Climbed/Hiked:
Apr 5, 2008
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Dune 8860
Created On: May 29, 2008
Last Edited On: May 29, 2008

A "quick" trip in the sand...

4.1 miles, 2225' gain (per GPS).
The Medano Pass road goes along the east side of the peak. We had two vehicles (one of which had fairly low clearance), so we parked at the infamous Point of No Return. The road continues and gets closer than we parked (you can park .3 miles closer than we did). We crossed Medano creek (flowing, but not raging) and headed the direction the GPS indicated. We tried to choose the easiest line, but climbing dunes, there really isn't an easiest line. The steeper hills we took literally gave the ol' two steps forward, 1 3/4 back. Exhausting work. So we eventually got up to about 8600' and saw that we had to go NNE, but couldn't tell which of the two dunes in front of us were higher. We went downhill to the sound of sand-farts and went back uphill to the western dune, where my GPS showed an elevation of 8800'. The GPS indicated the summit to the east was actually the HP, so we contoured around north and then east and then south to the south summit. We wandered around the vague rounded summit until we were obviously heading downhill. My GPS showed 8820', so I know we were right on the point (+/- barometric variation, GPS accuracy, etc.) It is difficult to match terrain with the map. I don't know how much the dunes evolve and change and move, but the coordinates were right on at the summit. There is a lot of geographic/topographic variation that makes interpreting the terrain difficult. There are some other high dune ridges to the north/west, but none appeared to have enough prominence to "rank". It is amazing how far the dunes just keep going.
After this third dune summit, we headed back SE toward our track (now blown over by the sand) and down to the creek and back up the trail to the cars.



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