UN12,130 “Cherokee” (Indian Peaks Wilderness)


Distance: 15.5 mi
Elevation Gain: 4000
Difficulty: Easy Class 3
Time: 10Hrs round trip

Useful Links


There is Arapahoe Bay Campground near the trailhead, which a good option for staying the night before hiking.  The campground was full so we elected to sleep in the back of the truck at the trailhead.  There are a few VERY nice backcountry sites along the trail.  There are 2-3 sites just above the waterfalls at 4.5 miles.   There are 8 sites 7 miles back at Crater Lake.
I believe all back country camping in this area requires permits.  June – Sep

Trip Report

Jeremy, Dayton, and myself have been trying to coordinate schedules ever since our unsuccessful attempt at Juliet Couloir this spring.  Jeremy proposed this relatively unknown 12er in the Indian Peaks wilderness.  It didn’t take long for Dayton, and I to agree to making Cherokee Peak our objective.  Both Gerry Roach and the author of the summit post page, lavish praise on this peak and the Lone Eagle Cirque.  This praise is WELL deserved! Continue reading

26.2 Here I Come

be-the-best-version-of-youFor me one of the keys to maintaining a fit and healthy lifestyle is picking big goals to motivate me.  If the goal is big enough to scare me a little even better.  Well the thought of running a marathon scares me more than a little.  So I have decided to take the plunge and commit to running my first marathon.   After doing research and reading reviews I choose the Colorado Marathon.  I like the time of year, as it will allow me to train over the winter / spring when it isn’t too hot outside. It is also supposed to be a beautiful course that runs along the poudre river.  When it comes to motivation I will take a beautiful course over screaming fans any day.  My only concern about the date is that I will be peaking for the Marathon during couloir climbing season.  I really hope I can find a way to fit in at least a couple of climbs.

After a summer focused on mountaineering I am back to running 4 days a week.  I am working on getting back to being “run fit” for the Rock and Roll 1/2 Marathon on Oct 20th.  I feel like I came off the summer quite fit, while still being rested and healthy.

In addition to completing the marathon I have some other goals I want to stay focused on during training.

  • Be healthy!  Running a Marathon is very stressful on the human body.  I want to be careful to do things in a smart way that allows me to complete this big goal injury free, and more healthy than I started.
  • Stay balanced: Obviously training for this is going to consume a lot of time and energy.  I want to devote the attention that a race like this deserves, while still maintaining other areas of my life that are important to me.
  • Eat Well!  In order to be successful, and be healthy I need to focus on great nutrition.
  • Find great gear:  If you no me you know I am a gear head.  I am motivated by quality gear, and have a lot of fun trying out new stuff.
  • Be minimal:  Last year I began transitioning to minimalist foot wear.  While it has been a long and hard process, I love running in less shoe.  I have also never felt healthier as a runner.  I know that putting on this many miles in a truly minimal shoe will be difficult and may not be realistic for me.   I intend to incorporate them as much as possible into my training, and run the marathon in the least shoe my body can handle.


Kelso Ridge

Kelso ridge is a dramatic alternative to the very popular route up Torry’s peak near Denver.   14ers.com has a great route description so I am not going to repeat that here.

I have been chased off this route twice by weather.  The forecast for Saturday morning was 60% thunderstorms after 11AM.  Not a great forecast, but it looked like we had a window of good weather before 9AM.  We decided to be on the trail by 5AM.  We arrived at the trailhead around 4:45 to find a mostly full parking lot.  The first few miles of this route follow the standard trail, so we got an easy warm up. The trail was very easy to follow by headlamp.   We reached the turnoff to the ridge around dawn. The sun revealed no sign of approaching weather so we put on our helmets, and started up the ridge.   Continue reading

Mount Rainier – Disappointment Cleaver with RMI

This is the story of my climb of the mighty Mount Rainier in Washington state.  Living in Colorado and climbing mountains regularly, I have become quite at home at 14,000 ft.  However, there are a couple of major differences between the Colorado mountains and Rainier, prominence and glaciation.  Standing tall at 14,411 ft,  Mount Rainier is one of North America’s premier mountaineering destinations.  It has the largest system of glaciers in the U.S. outside of Alaska, and is covered with huge crevasses.  Mount Rainier has a topographic prominence of 13,211 ft.  This makes it the most prominent peak in the contiguous United States, and the 21st most prominent peak in the world, beating out K2.
Continue reading

California Peak

At 13, 849 ft California Peak is the 84th highest peak in Colorado.  This grants it “centennial” status.  We climbed this peak in the late Spring (May).   Via the north ridge route.  This route is described by Gerry Roach as a “classic”.    This gentle giant is nestled in the dramatic and rugged  Sangre De Cristo Range.  The peak is an easy one, however, the spectacular views and solitude are sure to hold your interest.  This is a mountain you should have on your list!!

Continue reading

Conundrum Hot Springs

Conundrum Hot Springs is a 100 degree pool  near Aspen Colorado, that is situated in a stunning alpine basin at 11,000 feet.   At the hot-springs you stare up at two 14,000 ft peaks (Castle and Conundrum) and a 13er Castlebra.

Our faithful backpacking partners Erik and Steph drove up from Albuquerque to hike back to the springs with us.  Our plan was to camp near the springs Friday and Saturday and climb a peak on Saturday morning.

Continue reading

Rainier Training


This post is part of a larger series of posts about my climb of Mt Rainier This 3 day climb is very physically demanding, and culminates with a 12-18 hour summit day. RMI stresses that you must come to the mountain in the best shape of your life. I started preparing physically about 8 months before the climb.  You need to be able to keep a pace of 1,000 vertical feet per hour for two days in a row while carrying around 40lbs of gear.   The old marathon axiom “it is easy until it gets hard” holds true here.  That pace should feel pretty easy and relaxed at first.   It is much harder at 14,000ft with 6 hours of climbing behind you. I felt my training plan left me well prepared for my climb.  I was in good enough shape to have fun almost the entire time.  I was very tired at the end, and my feet hurt a lot, but I was not completely exhausted. Continue reading

Rainier Gear List

This post is part of a larger series of posts about my climb of Mt Rainier

It contains a list of the gear that I brought along and used when climbing Mt Rainier.  I have updated the post with information about what I used, and what I liked.

37 lbs of gear

I intend to keep climbing difficult mountains so Rainier provided just what I needed, another excuse to buy more gear.    I found it helpful to know what other climbers use, so I have included a full gear list here.

Continue reading