The Best of Mount Sopris

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Trip Report
Colorado, United States, North America
Date Climbed/Hiked:
Jul 14, 2009
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The Best of  Mount Sopris
Created On: Aug 8, 2009
Last Edited On: Aug 8, 2009

Once Wasn't Enough

I decided it had been way too long since the last time I climbed Sopris. I grew up in the Roaring Fork Valley and had lived right outside the town of Carbondale in the colossal shadow of the mountain. I've always held Mount Sopris in the highest regard and felt it was time to once again pay my respects...

I had climbed this behemoth about fifteen years ago in the spring time. We had gone up the saddle in between the false summit and the east summit. For this trip I decided to now take the standard route up the east ridge.

I made it to the trail head a few minutes after five in the morning. I was planing on tackling the entire mountain, from TH to summit and back in one day. It is very common to hike in to Thomas Lakes and camp for the night and then make the two mile trek to the summit from there. A long day but I felt up to it.

After arranging my self and my gear I started up the trail only to realize five hundred yards in that I had left a crucial piece of equipment(SPOT satellite tracker) sitting on the dash board of my car. A quick jog down and a restart set me back less than an hour.

I made good time to Thomas Lakes. It was early and I saw no one. The groves of quaking Aspens and the vast amounts of this years wild flowers kept me in awe the whole way. It had been a little over four miles to the lakes and I felt like a million bucks! The sun coming through the trees and the early morning dew burning off to bloom into a hot summer day kept my spirits high too.

Mount Sopris Trail

Navigating through the Thomas Lakes camp sites and the labyrinth of trails surrounding them was fairly easy. The trail starts to get significantly steeper after passing the Lakes and continuing up to the east ridge.

Trail to summit Mount Sopris

I took the ridge with some effort and knew I was still in for a climb. Ahead of me was a false summit, the east summit and then to the west summit. Both the east and west summits are identical heights(hard to believe) but it is accepted that the one has not truly summited Sopris until the west summit has been achieved.

Tree line...
False summit...

At this point I look down the bowl between the east summit and where I was standing and reminisced about the climb so many years ago. It was good to realize that in a world of uncertainties there are some things that change so slowly its almost unrecognizable. It was the same mountain. The same slopes, bowls, ridges. It was still Sopris.

The miles now adding up to just shy of six and the elevation gain just short of 4000ft.

I quickly took the closest summit and paused for a few minutes and then continued to my destination. The west summit. An epic day. Skies like out of a dream. Views to Capitol Peak in one direction, Chair Mountain in another direction and the now tiny towns of Carbondale and El Jabelle in the other.

I spent some time up there. Relaxed. Ate. Sunbathed and just chilled. It was still early, not even nine o'clock yet and the day could not possibly be any better or any more beautiful...

Sopris, west summit


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The Best of Mount Sopris

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