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Weminuche High Route
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Tim Cheek
(hikerfan4sure) - MLife
Weminuche High Route on 09/05/2009 22:36:28 MDT Print View

Steve Howe pioneered a route from the Endlich Mesa Trailhead, the southernmost traihead in the Weminuche on the west side of the wilderness, to Silverton in an article in Backpacker that is now on their web site.

Endlich Mesa Traihead

The aim is to avoid people, and stay high.
The problem with his route was that his attempt to reach the Sunlight Lake from Hazel Lake was impassable. He had to descend to the Vallecito Creek and bushwhack through avalanche debris back up to Sunlight Lake.
I tried to avoid that reroute by getting to Sunlight Lake from a saddle just east of the 14,000' Sunlight Peak. My route didn't work either, at least not within my comfort zone as a solo hiker with no rope!

Sunlight Peak saddle

Sunlight Peak saddle with Sunlight Lake in the background

Sunlight Saddle

I couldn't tell what the exposure was, but I could tell that once committed I'd be unlikely to be able to retreat because it was steep and there were no handholds, just hard packed dirt.

The hike with a full pack to this saddle was a real work out. So many 14ers are tagged at the summit by day hikers that erosion has become a real problem. There were some shelves to stand and walk on in the last few hundred vertical feet, but the rest of it was class 3. I wouldn't attempt it if there was anyone above you because rock fall is unavoidable. You are at 13,000' - 13,800' so it takes time.

I'm going to try other routes, but if you are familiar with the area and know a way, well, like Ross Perot, I'm all ears...

Edited by hikerfan4sure on 09/05/2009 22:56:25 MDT.

Tom Clark
(TomClark) - MLife

Locale: East Coast
Re: Weminuche High Route on 09/09/2009 10:47:38 MDT Print View

You have a couple great photos there...amazing color & textures!

Tim Cheek
(hikerfan4sure) - MLife
Weminuche High Route on 09/20/2009 14:34:32 MDT Print View

Thanks, Tom. Actually, I was just trying to avoid falling!

Tom Clark
(TomClark) - MLife

Locale: East Coast
Re: Weminuche High Route on 09/22/2009 21:56:32 MDT Print View

Sacrifices sometimes are necessary to the mountain gods.