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CO, UT, AZ in June
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Travis Davis
(rockytop) - F
CO, UT, AZ in June on 04/22/2011 23:37:27 MDT Print View

Hello friends. I'm taking a 2 week trip out west in mid June (12th-24th). I'll be flying into Denver, doing the Four Pass Loop overnight near Aspen, an overnight in Canyonlands NP in UT, an overnight at the Grand Canyon (Tonto Trail), then back up to Colorado for a few days. Help me with my gear selections over a very wide range of conditions.

I'm also still looking for good 20-30 mile loops in Canyonlands and somewhere near Durango (the Weminuche, maybe?) if you have any suggestions. I will be sprinkling day hikes in also. Anyone know how hikeable the 14ers in CO will be in mid June? I'd like to do Elbert and Princeton, but I'm only bringing trail runners so any snow/ice will eliminate that.

Here's the main stuff...

Osprey Hornet 46 (mod) - 20oz
Liner - 1.3

SMD Lunar Solo - 27.4
Tyvek - 2.4
Stakes (7) - 2.8
MH Phantom 45 - 18.7
BMW Torsolite - 8.8

Clothing Worn - visor, synth/wool tee, shorts, socks, XA pro's, sunglasses, watch

Black Diamond Cork Trekking Poles - 18.2

Clothing Packed
Driducks top - 5
Socks (2 pair) - 3.5

Homemade Alcohol stove - .2
Plastic fuel bottle - 1.1
IMUSA 24oz pot - 2.4
Cozy, lid - 2
Spork - .4
Bic lighter - .7
Platypus 2+ liter - 1
Gatorade bottle (2)- 2.8
Aqua Mira drops - 3

Princeton Tec Quad headlamp - 3.2
Small Med kit - 1.6
ID, CC, Cash - .4
Phone - 3.4
Charger - 2.9
Camera - 6.9
Duct Tape - .9
Towel - .8
Toothbrush/toothpaste - 2
Map -

Base Weight is somewhere around 8 pounds

Things I have that I can add for cooler weather...

Nano Puff - 11.4
Cap 3 bottoms - 6.2
Merino 200 L/S - 7.5
Fleece hat - .8


Sleeping bag - needed for grand canyon in june? what about canyonlands? can i leave it in the car? alternatives? never done anything in the desert before.

Will the 45 degree bag be enough for stuff in CO in June? It's good close to freezing with my nano puff and baselayers. Will I need to bring those along? What will my lows be around Maroon Bells and Weminuche?

I think everything else should be the same in the desert or in the mountains. Anything else I should think about?

Any feedback is super welcome, as is any advice on altering my trip plans any! Thanks!

Edited by rockytop on 04/22/2011 23:39:21 MDT.

Jason McSpadden
(JBMcSr1) - M

Locale: Rocky Mountains
Re: CO, UT, AZ in June on 04/23/2011 10:27:16 MDT Print View

James, I don't want to dissuade you from giving the Colorado portion of your trip a shot. But know that your dates are "early" as far as the high country is concerned. The mid-state mountains have and continue to have a lot of snow this year. I'm in Fort Collins and it is snowing today. I've heard that southwestern CO has seen less snow this year but the Weiminuche is "high". You can count on snow at all of the passes that time of year and most north facing slopes. River and stream crossings will probably be challenging with snowmelt.

Your 45 degree bag seems light to me even in the summer for Colorado and the high desert. But where there's a will there's usually a way. Good luck with your plans.

Edited by JBMcSr1 on 04/23/2011 10:45:19 MDT.

John Devitt
(cabana) - MLife

Locale: Colorado
+1 on 04/23/2011 12:51:46 MDT Print View

Yeah... June is early for the Rockies. I think you would be okay in mid July if you camp below 10K'. I use a 20 F deg bag in the summer, and a bag with 7" loft for the "Fall". But that is just me, I sleep cold and have seen the weather get cold & snowy fast here in the high country. Have a great trip!

Travis Davis
(rockytop) - F
CO, UT, AZ on 04/23/2011 12:52:30 MDT Print View

The average june temps at the inner canyon at the Grand Canyon are low 70's. Will Canyonlands be that much colder to where a 45 bag won't work? And you think I'll see temps below freezing in CO if I camp around 10k feet in June? Maybe the Weminuche is a bad choice since its high, any other options? What elevation are most of the camping spots aon the 4 pass loop and what will late june temps be?

Matthew Zion
(mzion) - F

Locale: Boulder, CO
Re: CO on 04/23/2011 13:07:53 MDT Print View

June is early but above tree line should be relatively snow free. Key word relatively. I know people who get their kicks doing 14ers in the winter so I say go for it. UT and AZ will probably feel like the surface of the sun in comparison.

edit: I'd just pack so you can sleep and be comfortable below freezing. And if you need some company I'm going to be hiker trashing up CO starting June 8 until early July.

Edited by mzion on 04/23/2011 13:12:06 MDT.

Gary Dunckel
(Zia-Grill-Guy) - MLife

Locale: Boulder
CO high country in June. on 04/23/2011 13:10:00 MDT Print View

"And you think I'll see temps below freezing in CO if I camp around 10k feet in June?"

It's likely, although not too much lower than 30*F. But you could possibly hit the mid-high twenties.

You might want to pick up a Trails Illustrated map of the Maroon Bells if you are thinking of doing one of the 4 Pass Loops (there are several options...). The coveted lake campsites are all over 10,500', although you could find lower places to camp. In addition, your passes are all over 12,000', and you will likely encounter plenty of snow that high in June. July-September are better months for doing those loops.

Edited by Zia-Grill-Guy on 04/23/2011 13:14:04 MDT.

Hk Newman
(hknewman) - MLife

Locale: Western US
CO, UT, AZ in June on 04/23/2011 13:20:39 MDT Print View

Desert: The Tonto Trail will be sizzling in June and probably Canyonlands too . Plan on bringing lots and lots of fluids, as desert heat in June can kill. Used a 45*F Phantom sleeping bag as a quilt up to 30 September in some years in Canyonlands, though a 45*F quilt would be my preference now if I did it again (...and I just might). Thinking about a MYOG faux - Marmot "Black Magic" using an old Driclime jacket too.

CO in June: Some areas of the southern Weminuche close to Durango may be snow-free but they've been hit with a lot this year. Having gone up to the CDT/CT intersection via Highland Mary Lakes in late June by Silverton, there's plenty of snow on the ground in normal years. You will likely need a warmer bag than the desert - when I go to Durango in late Sept, I bring a separate set of gear for Canyonlands in case I change my mind.

Edited by hknewman on 04/23/2011 13:27:40 MDT.

Travis Davis
(rockytop) - F
CO, UT, AZ on 04/23/2011 15:36:22 MDT Print View

Thanks for the responses. So...what will I need for the Weminuche and Maroon Bells area in June? How much snow are we talking? Will I be postholing? Bringing a warmer sleeping bag won't be a problem. Will I need boots? Snowshoes? Crampons? An ice axe? What are we talking?

Matthew Zion
(mzion) - F

Locale: Boulder, CO
Re: Snow on 04/23/2011 16:37:56 MDT Print View

Gonna be what you see in peoples Sierra pictures from the PCT. We got a lot this year so patchy and deep in the shaded places. I don't think you'll necessarily need boots, crampons, or snowshoes. If you get high the alpine areas should be pretty wind blown and descent to walk on. Ice axe I would take.

Travis Davis
(rockytop) - F
CO, UT, AZ on 04/23/2011 18:05:20 MDT Print View

Cool, so consensus is my gear is good for AZ and UT, bring the sleeping bag, it'll be hot so hydrate. And for CO, bring a warmer bag, pack some layers, and bring an ice axe. Anything else?

Jason McSpadden
(JBMcSr1) - M

Locale: Rocky Mountains
re: CO, UT, AZ in June anything else? on 04/23/2011 19:00:31 MDT Print View

James, You are getting well prepared. I didn't see a compass or gps on your list. With the snow amounts and possible avalanche zones bringing down trees and taking out trails you will need to be able to navigate. Sometimes the trails are not all that clear. That early in the season with swollen creeks you may have to travel a ways to a safe crossing and knowing the contours and direction is really helpful.

As far as "post-holing" is concerned if you hit the snow early in the morning you won't sink in but you will slide easier. All of this just adds to the "adventure"!

Good luck.


Travis Davis
(rockytop) - F
CO, UT, AZ on 04/23/2011 21:28:23 MDT Print View

What about bear bagging? Just realized I haven't figured that out yet. Will I need a bear can? Can I use a bag? What's the best thing to get?

Chad Helmke
(the-gear-recycler) - MLife

Locale: High Rockies
CO continued... on 04/23/2011 21:58:16 MDT Print View

The above posters all have given great advice on CO. My place is right at the base of Elbert and we're at approximately 125% of annual snowpack so June will definitely be hit and miss snowy in the forest below treeline and a real possibility for some major coverage above.

In my opinion, gear selection depends on how much you can tolerate by way of suffering. I'm a warm blooded person who doesn't mind the cold as much so I usually pack a little lighter than most. Saw J Devitt post earlier that he's rockin a 20 deg bag in summer and I sleep warm so am good with a 30 and a MB UL Down jacket (which is invaluable year-round up here). Leadville (10,200 ft) averages only 26 frost-free days a year so prepare for cold and be pleasantly surprised if it's warmer which sort of goes for the rest of CO above 10k as well.

One last thing, I would pack snowshoes and not use them vs. leave them and need them. Postholing REALLY sucks and is a huge energy drain and in my opinion can ruin a trip. I should know as I went on a mid-June trip last year with average snowfall totals and got so frustrated with postholing up Mt. Harvard that I turned back. First 14er I've ever turned back. I have some old Powder Wings collapsible snowshoes that the frame is shockcorded like a tent pole and they pack into the bottom of my pack as a just in case. I know weight is a concern but better prepared than a ruined trip.

Just my 2c! Have a great trip and if you want to shoot me a PM for any trail info before you head out, feel free!

BTW, if you can even manage a couple of dayhikes into the Weiminuche, do it. Some of the most amazing scenery in the lower 48 if you ask me. And be sure to hit Buen Tiempo Mexican restaurant in Ouray when you're heading back to Den. Fantastic!

Edited by the-gear-recycler on 04/23/2011 22:01:10 MDT.

Mike Clelland
(mikeclelland) - MLife

Locale: The Tetons (via Idaho)
RIght on! on 04/24/2011 15:09:25 MDT Print View

RIght on! Your list looks great!

A - You can repackage your aquamira in smaller bottles.

B - there are lighter headlamps.

C - NIX the phone and charger.

D - NIX the 2x gaitoraid bottles and just go with the 2+ liter platy.


45 degree bag should be fine. Take the extra warm clothes. THe rockies can get snow anytime of the year. So, possible temps in the 30's is normal even mid-summer.

Take the bag for the Grand Canyon. THe desert can get cold at night, no humidity in the air to hold in the daytime warm temps after the sun goes down.

There should be plenty of water (by the grand canyon standards) in June. So a 2+ liter platy should be fine.

Mike C!

Travis Davis
(rockytop) - F
CO, UT, AZ on 04/24/2011 17:07:15 MDT Print View

Thanks for all the tips!

I placed an order for an ice axe today. A friend is going to let me borrow snowshoes and strap on crampons (I can wear them with my trail runners if I want, I think). I'll probably take them if they'll fit in my luggage and make a decision when I get there. I'll probably pack a 15* bag also. Think I'm ready to go!

Faxed in my Grand Canyon permit request today for Monument Creek on the Tonto. I believe that's the only permit that I'll need to plan ahead for.

Chad, I'll have time to either do an overnight in the Weminuche or 2 day hikes. Let me know if you have any suggestions for either of those. I have a friend that's a fishing guide in Pagosa and he recommended Emerald Lake. Taking the Narrow Gauge Railroad to do something sounds really cool, but a little too expensive for the ride I think. I don't have a Weminuche map yet (should arrive soon though) so I haven't been able to sit down and plan any of that part out yet.

Tim Zen
(asdzxc57) - F

Locale: MI
Re: Camera on 04/24/2011 17:11:33 MDT Print View

MC -- I gotta ask about cameras. I have not seen a comment from you on the weight of cameras or why you would bring a camera. When you hike in a group do you share a camera? Each person could use their own memory card. Maybe a pin hole camera would weigh less. Five ounces when your base weight is eight pounds -- it seems hard to justify.

I do like your tip on right-sized bottles. A painless way to save weight and space.

Edited by asdzxc57 on 04/24/2011 19:41:59 MDT.

Travis Davis
(rockytop) - F
Ursack/Bear Can on 04/30/2011 20:52:32 MDT Print View

Does anyone know if it's mandatory to use a bear can where I'll be going in CO (probably Maroon Bells area and Weminuche)? If not, should I buy an ursack? bear can? can I rent one somewhere?

* *
(jsj42) - F
Re: Ursack/Bear Can on 04/30/2011 22:41:26 MDT Print View

No they're not required. Only in RMNP. As to whether you should buy an ursack or a bear can... I guess if you want to. Or not if you don't want to. You can rent bear canisters, but I only know of a place in Estes Park. Store your food properly. If you worry that you don't know how to do a proper hang or might become too lazy to do one, then perhaps you should buy a can.

Brian Lindahl
(lindahlb) - MLife

Locale: Colorado Rockies
Re: CO, UT, AZ in June on 05/03/2011 14:28:16 MDT Print View

You'll definately have snow in June. For the 14ers, you'll want snowshoes unless you have cold nights and you're able to finish (return to the trail) by around 10am. If you can, you'll just want microspikes. Based on my experiences, crampons are overkill unless you're doing steepish climbs or the snow is softer.

You might be lucky with weather, but you're sleep system is generally too cold. A 30-35 degree bag with your layers to get you to 25 degrees would be better.

Sumi Wada
(DetroitTigerFan) - F

Locale: Ann Arbor
Re: CO, UT, AZ on 05/06/2011 13:27:01 MDT Print View

>> Faxed in my Grand Canyon permit request today for Monument Creek on the Tonto.

I take it you're planning to hike down and up via Hermit? Be prepared for HOT. Have you ever hiked in the GC before? I ask because I honestly can't imagine hoofing it down in the heat only to turn around the next morning to hike out. If you can eek out a second night, there's a lot of great exploring around Monument like Granite Rapids, Hermit gorge, etc.

Also, the mice are very feisty in that area; consider some sort of critter-proofing for your food.