South Arapaho Peak, 13397'
North Arapaho Peak, 13502'
"Old Baldy", 13038'
4th of July TH, 10150'
10 miles, 3900' gain, 6hrs 20min
Colorado's Indian Peaks, Roach
Started hiking at 5:35am up the Arapaho Pass Trail under foggy/cloudy conditions. My hope was that either the sun would burn the clouds off or I could hike above them. Followed the nice trail for 2 miles to the 4th of July Mine, then turned right onto the Arapaho Glacier Trail. I reached the 12700' Arapaho Saddle at 7:20am. I was still below the clouds but thought maybe another few hundred feet would do the trick.
A fine path led up to the South Arapaho summit, which I reached at 7:55am. I was now very encouraged. Clouds still enveloped the plains and lower peaks up to well above 12000', but the entire traverse over to North Arapaho was clear! I set off at 8am.
The route overall is simple - just follow the ridge. I was disappointed, however, to find that there are probably over 20 bright orange arrows painted along the traverse. These seemed unnecessary, and some of them are so close together as to be humorous. Even so, it was a very enjoyable traverse. There are a few class three sections required to avoid losing too much elevation. An angled flat slab is perhaps the crux. The rock is solid when necessary, and I didn't feel that anything was very exposed or dangerous.
I reached North Arapaho at 8:35am, enjoying my first close-up views of nearby Indian Peaks. The Arapaho glacier has a very obvious crevasse and the color of the glacial lake is stunning. I was only the 2nd person to sign the log in August - that after 3 pages of entries for July!
I returned to the Saddle at 10:15am, where I saw other people for the first time. It had surprised me to have such a popular route to myself on a summer Saturday. "Old Baldy" was a short hike from the Saddle and provides great views of the Arapahos.
On the way down I enjoyed the views of Jasper and Neva, as well as wildflowers which seemed to still be in full bloom. I descended back into the clouds, and after passing about 30 people I reached the TH again at 11:55am.
Hikes do not always exceed my expectations, but this one certainly did in beauty and a fun ridge traverse!
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