To Do in 2023

2023 Highlights
  • First bikepacking trip to Lockhart Basin (+ a lot of local training mileage on singletrack and dirt roads)
  • Spent 31 days and logged ~300 hiking miles in GSENM and Glen Canyon NRA, culminating in the Overland Route
  • 4-day Weminuche high pass loop in July
  • Logged several hundred volunteer hours on local environmental health and water-related projects
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Backlogged
Did not go to the High Sierra this year due to the late snow melt, or the Winds because I was being picky about finding a weather window to justify the 16h+ drive.
 
2023 Highlights
  • First bikepacking trip to Lockhart Basin (+ a lot of local training mileage on singletrack and dirt roads)
  • Spent 31 days and logged ~300 hiking miles in GSENM and Glen Canyon NRA, culminating in the Overland Route
  • 4-day Weminuche high pass loop in July
  • Logged several hundred volunteer hours on local environmental health and water-related projects
View attachment 128148 View attachment 128149 View attachment 128150

Backlogged
Did not go to the High Sierra this year due to the late snow melt, or the Winds because I was being picky about finding a weather window to justify the 16h+ drive.
I'm intrigued by the Weminuche high pass loop. We're probably going to do a Weminuche trip next July, and I had assumed we'd do the Elk Park/Needleton loop with train (perhaps with a few add-ons to Highland Mary Lakes and/or West Ute/Twin/Rock Lakes). I just searched the high pass loop - is this what you did? https://thetrek.co/the-weminuche-high-route/ If so, it seems like it's beyond our ability. I'd love to learn more about your trip!
 
I'm intrigued by the Weminuche high pass loop. We're probably going to do a Weminuche trip next July, and I had assumed we'd do the Elk Park/Needleton loop with train (perhaps with a few add-ons to Highland Mary Lakes and/or West Ute/Twin/Rock Lakes). I just searched the high pass loop - is this what you did? https://thetrek.co/the-weminuche-high-route/ If so, it seems like it's beyond our ability. I'd love to learn more about your trip!
There's not really a single "high pass loop" there, but rather a bunch of different high basins all clustered together with various passes connecting the different basins (I hate names like "THE Weminuche high route"... uggh) Most of the basins have a faint use trail that departs from the popular trails (such as the ones on the Elk Park/Needleton Loop) and make their way up the basins. Some of these use trails are much more clear than others; some are hard to follow and you're basically off-trail. Most of that hiking is fairly steep too, and downed trees can be annoying. But that's really not harder than what you'd expect for off-trail travel in the mountains. The hardest part is the passes themselves, as most of them are pretty steep and with annoying scree (although they're pretty short for the most part). For the most part, those passes don't exactly require Class 3 scrambling or anything; you'll either be totally comfortable on that kind of terrain (on all the passes) or sketched out on all of them. I'm guessing fosanna didn't feel nervous for a second! (but I sure did!) Since a lot of those passes have similar difficulty level, you could always have a tentative plan of leaving the Elk-Park Needleton Loop to do a variation that incorporates some of those off-trail passes, and if the first pass is out of your comfort zone, you could just backtrack and continue the standard loop.

If you come up with tentative plans for that trip and want to know details about specific passes or basins, feel free to PM me. I've only been to some of those basins, but I'd be happy to share info... I'd just prefer to keep it in PMs

One other note---the small amount of on-trail hiking that I've done there is also spectacular; you don't have to do a "high route" to see spectacular scenery there. I personally thought the trails there were some of the nicest I've been to in CO.
 
There's not really a single "high pass loop" there, but rather a bunch of different high basins all clustered together with various passes connecting the different basins (I hate names like "THE Weminuche high route"... uggh) Most of the basins have a faint use trail that departs from the popular trails (such as the ones on the Elk Park/Needleton Loop) and make their way up the basins. Some of these use trails are much more clear than others; some are hard to follow and you're basically off-trail. Most of that hiking is fairly steep too, and downed trees can be annoying. But that's really not harder than what you'd expect for off-trail travel in the mountains. The hardest part is the passes themselves, as most of them are pretty steep and with annoying scree (although they're pretty short for the most part). For the most part, those passes don't exactly require Class 3 scrambling or anything; you'll either be totally comfortable on that kind of terrain (on all the passes) or sketched out on all of them. I'm guessing fosanna didn't feel nervous for a second! (but I sure did!) Since a lot of those passes have similar difficulty level, you could always have a tentative plan of leaving the Elk-Park Needleton Loop to do a variation that incorporates some of those off-trail passes, and if the first pass is out of your comfort zone, you could just backtrack and continue the standard loop.

If you come up with tentative plans for that trip and want to know details about specific passes or basins, feel free to PM me. I've only been to some of those basins, but I'd be happy to share info... I'd just prefer to keep it in PMs

One other note---the small amount of on-trail hiking that I've done there is also spectacular; you don't have to do a "high route" to see spectacular scenery there. I personally thought the trails there were some of the nicest I've been to in CO.
Thank you so much - I will be in touch!!!
 
@Janice, @RyanP is correct. I made up a route using a combo of official trails and climbers' approaches from Gerry Roach's 13ers book and peak bagger trip reports. I also wanted to avoid the super high-traffic zones like Chicago Basin. There was still snow, so most of the annoying scree was buried. That being said, I am comfortable on steep snow with an ice axe and can tolerate steep, crappy alpine scree ascents/descents. I wouldn't recommend the route unless you're comfortable on that sort of alpine terrain.
 
@Janice, @RyanP is correct. I made up a route using a combo of official trails and climbers' approaches from Gerry Roach's 13ers book and peak bagger trip reports. I also wanted to avoid the super high-traffic zones like Chicago Basin. There was still snow, so most of the annoying scree was buried. That being said, I am comfortable on steep snow with an ice axe and can tolerate steep, crappy alpine scree ascents/descents. I wouldn't recommend the route unless you're comfortable on that sort of alpine terrain.
We have zero experience with ice axes, so that kind of thing won't be in our plans. We'll see how things progress...
 
My partner and I got in a bit over 80 bag nights this year in the end. Considering we both caught COVID, which impacted some weekends, I can't complain. I also started a new gig in June that routinely lets me have 3-4-day weekends and a schedule that more or less mimics my partner's. We hope to get out even more for that reason.

Highlights

- A solo trip where I connected all four of the park units in the Southeast Utah Group (Arches, Canyonlands, Natural Bridges, Hovenweep) and the places in between (Bears Ears, Dark Canyon Wilderness, Canyons of the Ancients, and others). I packrafted the first ~70 miles and backpacked about 180.

- Not mine, but my partner finished her PCT hike after an injury in 2014 with fires and the COVID shutdowns, throwing a wrench in the works to complete the trail. She's awesome (and plans on hiking the Colorado Trail this coming year)

-We did lose some "bag nights" because of a vacation with Joan's family. Her parents always dreamed of an Alaskan cruise. Not our usual trip (!) but we did get some hiking with some admittedly great views in the port towns. We enjoyed spending time with Joan's folks and her sister, brother-in-law, niece, and nephew. I get along awesomely with my in-laws and am grateful they accepted me into their family.

- Memorable longer trips in The Maze and The Weminuche

- Almost at the very end of 2023, we spent an awesome time in Organ Pipe Cactus Natl Monument and other parts of AZ

- And many weekends enjoying places near our desert home in Cedar Mesa, Canyonlands, and others.

-
We escaped the summer heat with trips to the La Sals, the Abajos, and the nearby San Juans.

- We did get in some shorter packrafting trips

- We also started spending more time in the San Rafael Swell

- We volunteer as site stewards and recently adopted a site that's a long day hike or a backpacking trip. Pretty excited to monitor more of backcountry site.

Overall, a great year
 
Let's see.

- Rescue Creek, Turkey Pen Peak, and Mount Everts in Yellowstone the first part of June
- Pleasantly surprising northern half of the Wyoming Range in late June, and just a touch of the southern end
- Mount Superior for my 59th birthday in July, Reid Peak in the Uintas late July
- The Thorofare and Teton Wilderness in August
- The Gallatin River, Bighorn Pass, and Fawn Pass in Yellowstone in September
- Ensign Peak to Grandview Peak in October - after this hike is when I started seriously considering a bunionectomy on my right foot.
- While in Salt Lake, a weekly hike somewhere along the Wasatch Front or Wasatch Back pretty much year-round.

The only plan that fell through was my Columbus Day hike up Arizona Creek in the Teton Wilderness in October due to my backpacking partner pulling out the week before. Perhaps I can fit it back in in 2024. You in @Bob? :)
 
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