Ingram Peak
T 10 P500

Thu, Jul 21, 2016

With: Steve Sywyk
Eric Smith

Etymology
Story Photos / Slideshow Map GPX Profile

On Wednesday I had gotten up early to have a go at Mt. Emma and Greenback Mtn. These two are located on the north side of Telluride off the the Highline Trail, a 5,000-foot climb that would have been too much for pals Eric and Steve who had joined me on vacation. Unfortunately I had trouble finding the trail and ended up hiking the Jud Wiebe Trail for a few hours instead, no peak. Oh well. Rested again, the two were ready to join me on another adventure hike today, so we set our sights on Ingram Peak to the east of Telluride. It sits across Ingram Basin from Ajax Peak, a summit we had climbed last year. Both are made easier by the Black Bear Pass Rd which can be driven to over 10,000ft from Telluride, parking available along the road near the power station. While Ingram does not have a trail going to its summit like Ajax, I hoped the lower elevation would act in way of compensation to make the two efforts roughly equal. At least that's what I told the others when asked how hard it would be.

We were at the parking area near the power station by 7:30a, a fairly early start today to avoid the afternoon rain that seemed to be coming earlier as the week wore on. We slipped through the hike & bike only gate at the start of the Bridal Veil Trail heading south, and soon thereafter found the unsigned use trail forking left about where we expected it after the first quarter mile. The trail was in good shape, not overgrown at all, and led up about 1,300ft into Grays Basin where it peters out among the brush and meadows found there. From there we turned left and headed northeast up steep, grassy slopes towards Ingram. I got ahead of the others at this point, eventually finding my way to the summit alone about 9:10a, about as straightforward as it gets. The others were not long in joining me about 10min later. We spent something like half an hour taking it easy in the soft grass, taking in the views and perusing the register.

I had plans to get another peak or two, but had no luck talking the others into joining me. The nice, grassy slopes could be seen giving way to rock and talus on the ridgeline to the higher summit, with a possibly tricky cliff section or two as a bonus - not the sort of thing they were much interested in. They were happy to let me go off by myself, so as they started back down the way we'd come, I followed the ridge southeast towards T 10. The ridgeline proved a piece of cake, even the cliff section having an easy class 2 talus slope that could be used to overcome it. I spent about an hour on the traverse, covering about a mile and a half in the process. T 10 rises to almost 13,500ft with more than 500ft of prominence, providing some outstanding views. I didn't realize that the summit has two points with the same spot elevation (13,477ft), separated by a fifth of a mile. I visited only the northern point, not the southern one. About 2/3mi to the southwest rises Three Needles, the other summit I had considered visiting, but it looked much tougher than a class 3 scramble and I decided to punt on it until some future visit when I could do a little more research. Instead, I decided to head east off the summit to Black Bear Pass, a short distance away and a relatively easy class 2 descent. The pass is a fairly popular 4x4 and OHV route and I would come across dozens of vehicles on the 4mi hike back down the road towards Telluride. In places they would be lined up 6-8 vehicles deep waiting to get by some tricky spot or over the main creek crossing. The hour and a half I took to walk the road was not much different than the average time for the Jeeps.

Back at the start, I was happy to see Eric's Suburu still there (I half-expected to walk back to town, another 4-5mi), but they were nowhere to be seen. I guessed that they would probably be visiting the creek above the power station as I knew Eric was a little concerned about the creek crossing for the Silver Lake Trail, a route he was interested in. I walked back up the Bridal Veil Creek Trail we had started on in the morning and sure enough, found them meditating and reading on some of the rock formations along the creek about half a mile up. The whole outing took just about 5hrs (perhaps an hour shorter for the others), a fine half day effort. And best of all, no soaking rain this time...

Continued...


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