Via Argentine Pass From
Monday July 7, 2014
Awoke at 4:40am and make a quick breakfast of black coffee and a bagel and hit the road at 5:50. Headed out route 93 to route 6, through the ClearCreekCanyon and out to I-70 westbound. Traffic was light and all went well as I exited at Georgetown and started up towards GuanellaPass. Rounded a few switch-back turns and caught a glimpse of Leavenworth Creek Rd. Stopped and backed-up to take a closer look and found this to be Forest Road FR248.1.
Turned right and proceeded up this rugged, dirt road where large boulders, ruts and gullies abound. High clearance vehicles only, leave the family car at home or you’ll be in for a long hike.
My S-10 ZR2 performed fine and although the high clearance is a must I stayed in 2-wheel drive the entire way to Waldorf Mine and a bit beyond to where the a creek crossed the road (approx. 6 mi). I stopped here, readied my pack and was on up the jeep trail heading for ArgentinePass at 8:30am.
Weather was perfect although a bit warm perhaps with bright sun and not a cloud in the skies. I most certainly could have driven further up the jeep trail but soon came to some snow drifts that looked like they still had a ways to go before melting away enough to drive the entire distance to the pass. The wildflowers were everywhere and although I don’t know my flora very well, I do know that the beauty before me was something to behold.
I also knew that my camera wouldn’t do justice but I snapped-away just the same in hopes to capture the essence of the moments.
Jeep trail was a series of long traverses and switchbacks with every step being up so the elevation gain came quickly. It took my customary mile or so to gain my gate and breathing to where I wasn’t huffing-puffing for too long. It took me just over an hour to reach ArgentinePass as I paused often for wildflower photos. The view from this vantage was quite impressive with the unmistakable Grays and Torreys peak right (north)
, Argentine and Wilcox Peaks left (south), Horseshoe Basin ahead (west) and Leavenworth Creek behind (east). Noticeably very green in all directions and the eastern slopes of innumerable peaks still holding a good amount of snow.
I now was on the Continental Divide and proceeded to my right (north) and began following the cairns towards Mt Edwards. The cairns lined-up right on the divide and the undulating trail went over one high hump after another until I stood directly in front of the final pitch going right to Mt Edwards. The massive “hump” before me had only two
little distinct protrusions at the very top and I figured it may be a false summit and the true summit was beyond. From here was a great view of Grays Peak and I could see plenty of people on the summit and also on the long switch-backs defining to trail up to the summit. There was still a good amount of snow and the trail crossed directly on the snows in more than one spot.
I followed the cairns on an unmistakable straight line pointed right for the top and inside of 10 mins. I reached an empty summit right where the two protrusions were; the time was 10:40am.
There was a cooling breeze out of the west as I settled-in and took a few photos as the views were nothing less than spectacular from the summit of this very non-descript
mountain. Grays and Torreys Peaks
seem close enough to touch and countless different peaks could be seen in all directions. Stevens Gulch was well below north and Horseshoe basin, Argentine Peak, Evans & Bierstadt
dominated the view south, east was a great green basis lasting all the way back down to near where I’d parked. I stayed nearly 20 mins., signed the summit registry, took three aspirin and headed back down the way I came at 10:58.
Clouds were now starting to build from the west and the bright sunny skies gave way to partly/mostly cloudy from Argentine Pass all the way back to the truck. The jeep trail was a grind of sorts but didn’t last long as I pretty much just kept going after stopping only briefly for photos on the way down; back to the truck right at 12:30pm. Although I’d seen many people on Grays and Torreys, I would not see one soul the entire time up and back on this beautiful morning.
As I started down the dirt road back to the trailhead I would see a few people in jeeps heading up as I was going back down the road but otherwise an uneventful return back to the paved road and back to Georgetown. My first alpine summit of 2014 and another centennial 13er……….Sweet!