View Full Version : Along the divide

09-07-2005, 15:37
If anyone is curious...

I was in town this weekend due to having to take my
turn working a Saturday on aholiday weekend (boo!
hiss!), but I did manage to get in a nice hike Monday
in the Indian Peaks Wilderness.

The IPW and Rocky Mtn National Park are my two main
stomping grounds for Colorado hiking. Anywhere from
45minutest to 1.5 hrs away (depending upon the
trailhead) and I am in some beautiful country.

The Continental Divide runs through both swatches of
mountains. The Continental Divide Trail (not always
the same!) runs through both of these places as well.
As with all things CDT, both the CDTA and CDTS routes
go through here. Sometimes they are the same, often
they are not. As I feel comfortable hiking off trail
(esp. in above tree line areas), I often skip the
trails that go down to the valley from one pass and
back up to another. Often will go cross country from
one pass to another. Not always doable as I am not an
experienced climber and a hard class three/easy class
is about all I want to do! As a hiker, I don't really
carry any climbing equipment in any case.

This past Monday was no different. Had a somewhat late
start (9am-ish) from the TH. On this trip was my good
friend Dave. Dave has been hiking in Colorado since
he was three years old. He also worked as a camp
counselor at the Estes Park YMCA (the property is
adjacent to RMNP) during his college summers. I am not
exagerating when I say he knows the Front Range trails
near Boulder better than jsut about anyone else . And
not just trails, but little known nooks and crannies
off trail as well. Whenever Dave suggests a hike, my
friend Nahum (he who makes me take pictures of him for
his folks back in Israel! :D) and I pay attention. A
Dave B. hike is sure to be something great.

Our goal was a mix of on trail hiking following a
portion of the Jim Wolf CDT route and some off trail
hiking to some valleys and lakes. Fall was in the air.
The tundra was starting to turn yellow and russet. The
air was a bit crisp. Though it was 80s in Boulder and
still summer, the cool air at 10k+ feet said fall is
upon us. I love it!

We made it to Devil's Thumb Pass an admired the view
from the divide. Hiked off the official trail and
followed a faint use trail along the divide itself.
Made our way down the "real" trail again (part
of the CDTA route) then after a while we hiked off
trail into this beautiful valley. Made our way to
Columbine Lake after climbing up some unnamed passes,
and hiked off trail again to Caribou Pass on the
divide. I believe this pass is on the CDTS route. Dave
and I followed an old road bed that connected Caribou
and Arapahoe passes and was just below the
divide. Awesome! After Arapahoe, it was all downhill.

Another great hike.

This weekend? An almost entirely off trail hike that
is actually on the divide the whole way! From Milner
Pass on Trail Ridge Road, along the Continental Divide
over Mt.Ida, Cracktop, Sprague Mountain, and Flattop
Mtn, before descending to Bear Lake (on trail
section). Should be awesome!

Pics: http://gallery.backcountry.net/co05?&page=41

09-07-2005, 16:01
As usual, Mags, great pics.

Big Dawg
09-07-2005, 18:52
Thanks, Mags! Great shots!! :sun

Spirit Walker
09-07-2005, 19:37
Okay - since you've done both routes, which is better, the CDTA or the CDTS route in the Indian Peaks area? I loved the CDTS route - should we try the other next time?

09-07-2005, 19:57
Okay - since you've done both routes, which is better, the CDTA or the CDTS route in the Indian Peaks area? I loved the CDTS route - should we try the other next time?
The CDTA route sticks in the tree mores and is bit shorter. If you look on a Trails Illstrated map, the "official" CDT trail marked in orange on the map and is the CDTA route.. The Jim Wolf route is longer, but goes above tree line more, goes a bit more into the IPW and hugs the actual divide a bit.

Next year, I am thinking of doing some cross country like I did this weekend to stay on the divide as much as possible..at least in the areas where I feel comfortable of not only my navigation skills, but also my limited scrambling skills. The section from Devil's Thump Pass to the "official" CDT via cross country was an example.

SOOOOOO if you want to save time and avoid above treeline exposure (bad weather?) stick to the CDTA route. For the views ? CDTS.

YMMV - literally at times on the CDT! :)

09-07-2005, 21:48
:sun very nice pictures ,I just love those crisp clean Mts :D ky