North Star Mountain

elevation: 4,149 m.  height gain: 810 m.
area: Hoosier Pass, Colorado, USA map USGS 1:24,000 Alma, CO
         39106C1

2017-Apr-28


Ref: 14ers.com
at the trailhead


The trailhead at Hoosier Pass after the storm.
BACK IN COLORADO FOR ROUND 2 IN 2017

When I arrived in Canada april 11th from my spring Colorado trip, I found out my boss hadn't saved my position for the upcoming season. I was shocked and quickly had to think of what to do next. I figured I should apply at Kicking Horse Mountain Resort for summer-winter seasonal employment. My good friend Christine hired me to work in the mountain operations departement, my new job started in a month. With all this spare time and few scrambling objectives possible at the time, I decided to head back to Colorado. I packed a bunch of topo maps, I wasn't exactly sure which mountains I would attempt on this last minute trip but I trusted I would make my time there worthwhile. I had two days of driving to think about my first objective.

Snowshoe trip: RT 6.75; 3.75 up. On my way to the mountains, I decided to stop in Georgetown for a snack and access to WIFI. While I ate, I checked the forecasts and texted Tim. It looked like I brought unstable weather along with me, it was snowing and a bigger storm cycle was moving in the following day only giving me a window for a short climb. Tim suggested I drive to Hoosier Pass, south of Breckenridge and ascend North Star Mountain; that seemed like a good plan. I left Georgetown and got on the I-70, there was a road closure ahead because of an accident. I chose to bypass the Eisenhower-Johnson tunnels and exit at U.S. 6 to go through Loveland Pass. The snow made that drive treacherous, by the time I got to Breckenridge it was dark and snowing even harder. I finally reached Hoosier Pass' parking lot at 9:30 PM; I was so relieved to park, I had spent a full day driving in tough wintry conditions. The wind shook the truck during the night but by the morning, the snow had stopped and the wind had died down. I got my stuff together and set off. At first I plowed through fresh snow but in a short amount of time I reached the wind-scoured alpine terrain. The climb to the ridge wasn't difficult or long, it felt good to get moving after two days in the truck. The weather was unstable and low cloudcover seemed to follow me from the east; to the west, a combination of varied clouds and blue sky made the scenery interesting. I engaged on the ridge hoping I could complete the traverse to the summit at the west end. The rugged ridge was delightful with snow, I carefully made my way towards the summit dealing with several ups and downs along the way. Even with the clouds, it was thrilling to travel this awesome ridge with Quandary Peak and the impressive north face of Mount Lincoln on either sides. After less than 4 hours, I reached the top and dropped my pack by the cairn. West of me, I could discern the connecting ridge to Wheeler Mountain, it looks quite challenging. I had a quick snack and took numerous pictures before backtracking. I thoroughly enjoyed the ridge walk and the outing as a whole, it felt great to be back!

wind-scoured ridge

On the wind-scoured ridge above treeline.

mining relics

Relics of the mining era.

looking back

Looking back.

east end of the summit ridge

Reaching the east end of the summit ridge.

worth visiting with snow


This beautiful ridge is worth visiting with snow.


low clouds are closing in


A glance back before low clouds close in on me.


nice cornice


Nice cornice to negotiate.


nearing the western end


Nearing the western end of the entertaining ridge.


looking back again


Looking back again.


summit ahead


The summit is just ahead.


wheeler mountain


Wheeler Mountain (left center) and Drift Peak on the far right.


summit cairn


The summit cairn with Mount Lincoln's impressive north face.


backtracking


Backtracking along the beautiful ridge.


enjoyable ridge


More of the same.


last glimpse


Last glimpse towards the western true summit.


not too challenging


Not very challenging but thoroughly enjoyable nonetheless.


mounts bross lincoln and democrat


Mount Bross (left), Mount Lincoln and Mount Democrat to the right.


the sky clears


The sky clears revealing other 13ers to the west.


quandary peak


Quandary Peak's Cristo Couloir.


montgomery reservoir


Montgomery Reservoir below.


mount silverheels


Mount Silverheels across Hoosier Pass.


snow and sun


It's snowing and the sun is out, how special is that!


staying on the ridge


Staying on the ridge instead of following the road.
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