A climb up Mt. Jackson
Mt. Jackson had been on my list to climb for awhile and I set aside a long day back in late September 2010 to climb it.
Another weekend of nice non-thunderstorm forecast in the Colorado Rockies where the monsoon season is very light allowing longer climbs.
Mt. Jackson is south of Vail, CO in the Northern Sawatch with an elev 13,600 feet. This is a long 20 mile day with over 6000 feet elevation gain.
After driving out to Silverthorne Saturday Evening we slept a few hours and finished the Drive to Beaver Creek Resort and ski area where we had to park. This is quite possibly the first trip I've done where I had to start from a parking garage.
We started around 4 am Sunday on the overly-perfect trail to Beaver Lake. Passed Beaver Lake and didn't even know it was there and got to the Lower Turquoise Lake by sunrise (by now we had walked 7 miles on trail). Here is a twilight reflection photo from near Lower Turquoise Lake.
Twilight at Lower Turquoise Lake
Mt Jackson isn't anywhere to be seen yet but we continued heading up the trail until we broke treeline where we started walking cross country to the saddle of the north ridge of Jackson. Here other peaks like Holy Cross and Gold Dust as well as Notch Mountain came into view; the ones I had climbed almost a month ago. The sun was warming things up nicely and we continued to follow the long ridge in a southerly direction. After awhile, Jackson finally came into view when we had only 600 vertical to go. By now we had climbed 5500 feet but I was surprisingly feeling good.
Mt. Jackson final climb
We followed the ridge and the crux of the route was an easy class 3 pitch around a rock outcrop.
We summitted around 10 am and signed the register. We were the first group in 2 weeks and about the 15th group to summit this year.
Could only find two other people to climb this peak from WA and the one I particulairly remember was a woman from Whidbey Island back in 1998.
We enjoyed the view and I captured a few summit panoramas one which I really liked.
This panorama shows the Gold Dust Peaks; I was able to see the peak I climbed the last weekend in August.
Mt. Jackson Summit panorama
We took a long break near the summit as the weather was so nice. I started looking for other peaks I have climbed in Colorado and was able to spot most of the ones I've climbed. I was also able to name the majority of peaks I saw (I'm getting my Colorado peaks memorized now and it's sad that I know the CO peaks better than my WA peaks.
We started the long hike back and got back to Lower Turquoise Lake where I shot these.
North Gold Dust from the slopes of Mt. Jackson
Lower Turquoise Lake
We then continued down the long trail where I was excited to start seeing the aspens in their full glory. We missed the foliage on the way up because it was dark.
Here is what the trail looked like through the Beaver Creek Ski resort.
Aspens on the trails through Beaver Creek
Passed by Beaver Lake and got an amazing view of the lake and aspen foliage there.
Aspen foliage at Beaver Lake
Passed by lots of casual hikers and fisherman until we got back to the parking garage where we were then able to see the town of Beaver Creek in the daytime.
WOW this is a ritzy place. It would definently rival the town of Aspen CO.
Another CO climb in the books for me, one of my favorites so far.
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