It amazes me that there is better cell phone reception in third world countries than there is in the United States. Honestly, during my 27 months in Guatemala I dropped a cell phone call less than 5 times. And here I am, sitting in my room in Colorado, and I can't even hear Gary on the other line due to horrible cell service.
"The what pass?" I ask him.
"The Laborious Pass..." I hear him say.
"Laborious?" I echo.
"No, the Boringest Pass." He says... or so I think.
"Lets just talk later." I tell him, and hang up in anger.
LaBoreas -- Laborious
It wasn't until after ascending 6,900' of vertical during our 13.3 mile loop that I realized that the cell phone Gods had translated his message correctly the first time. And although our loop was Laborious, it was just what we needed.
Topo map of the route
Elevation profile of the route
During a last-minute planning session consisting of Aron and I playing around on his Topo software, we managed to sketch out a route that would take us over a few 13ers that neither of us had climbed (see map above). The hike would also take us into the heart of Hoosier Ridge, one of the proposed Hidden Gems Wilderness areas. With some folks crying out that some of the lands in the Hidden Gems Proposal don't qualify for Wilderness protection, we have been taking it upon ourselves to visit as many of the parcels as possible. On this trip, we wanted to see if the land just outside of the proposed area (Bald Mountain) was any different than the land on and around Hoosier Ridge. We invited Gary Soles -- a Breckenridge photographer -- along to make the hike more interesting. After consulting the maps and telling Gary our exact plan, he decided to meet us at the half-way point, which I finally came to call by its correct name: "The Boreas Pass".
Aron and I left the truck at 10:30 (see map) and headed up Bald Mountain on a route to the summit that was as direct as possible. Unfortunately, as soon as we began the hike we saw an RV belonging to illegal squatters, who had been littering the landscape. The hike up Bald Mountain was pretty uneventful, which is good seeing as how our last hike together ended with me dislocating my shoulder while self-arresting on a snow couloir. We passed several mountain bike tracks, irrigation ditches and a set of power lines on the way to the rocky summit.
Aron on Bald Mountain
On the summit of Bald Mountain
Panorama of Hoosier Ridge and the Tenmile Range
After heading over Bald Mountain's several false summits we jogged down toward the Pass to meet up with Gary. He restocked my water supply and provided us with some good snacks before we set off for the Hoosier Ridge (the beginning of the Hoosier Daddy traverse). We made quick work getting up and over the first peak, at 12,333 feet. There was an illegal ATV track that had seen some recent use leading nearly to the summit of the peak.
We then entered the Hoosier Ridge proposal area, leaving all signs of humanity behind. As we crested the ridge-line that gave us access to the east bowl of Red Peak, we came across a divine sight: 40 big horn sheep grazing on the hillside. I found it particularly amazing when Gary, who had spent nearly his entire life in Breckenridge, told us that he had never seen a heard of big horns in the area. It was a humbling experience and reminded us that these areas need to be protected. We watched the graceful animals for around 30 minutes before continuing on our loop.
After reaching the summit of Red peak we continued southwest along the Hoosier Ridge, easily reaching the summit of Hoosier Peak. Gary told us about some spring skiing he had done in the Horseshoe Basin, just north of Hoosier Peak and east of Red Mountain. We then headed up Red Mountain, reaching the summit just as the sun set. It was glorious site, and a perfect end to a LaBoreas, but perfect day.
Then again, we still had to descend the 2,900 feet back to the truck. At least we had burritos waiting for us! Overall this was an excellent loop that I recommend for anyone looking for a long hike near Breckenridge. One of the best things was that we did the entire thing in shoes -- there was very little snow, even though it was already mid-October.