Peak(s):  Red Butte - 8283
Date Posted:  06/07/2012
Date Climbed:   06/02/2012
Author:  Matt
 Dumpster Diving in Aspen   

With the recent demise of 14erworld, we've seen an influx of solid folks to this site and plenty of interest expressed in trip reports about "obscure" and low peaks. While this site focuses on peaks above treeline, it's evolving into a one-stop shop for Colorado peaks, many of which fall in to the "dumpster diving" category. Now that at least one avowed dumpster diver has made his presence known, I think it's time to push the evolution of the TR section.
Usually the term refers to low-hanging fruit-- peaks conveniently located close to the road on the way home from more heroic adventures, like bagging five low peaks on the way home from getting five 13ers in a single day. I don't know what makes some folks do this, but more power to them! Myself, I just like to hike and see things I would have missed if I drove straight home or directly to the post-climb feast.
So, with plans to ascend Cathedral Peak on Sunday, I started poking around LoJ to find some easy prey on my way to the trailhead. I found Red Butte in the Aspen quad and noted that a city street passes just a few hundred yards from the marked summit. That fit the definition of dumpster diving to me. Seeing that only seven folks had claimed its summit, it also fit the definition of "obscure," if I put out of my mind how many Aspen locals have probably hiked it. Five seconds, about 20 keystrokes, and two mouse clicks got me directions to the TH and a cool moving panoramic of the summit view.
Saturday afternoon, I found the TH, and parked a little down the street. Despite the ominous weather and challenging hike ahead, I packed only my camera and a rain shell. What follows is a dumpster diving adventure. This peak offered many of the challenges and excitement typical of the Elk Range, despite being almost 5,000' lower than anything else I've hiked in Pitkin County.

The trail is part of the Aspen city park system, and starts, fittingly enough, with a sidewalk that bisects the yards of two large and lavish homes. It's hard to miss.

I rounded a corner and immediately felt my balls shrink.

Could I do this? The smooth, clean sidewalk gave way to a rocky dirt trail and Red Butte's summit ridge looked so far away... I regrouped and decided to press on. The solid trail switchbacks mercilessly up to the lower part of the summit ridge. Once on the ridge, I felt like I'd been teleported back to one of the Hogbacks along C-470, but with a luxurious, meticulously crafted Aspen-style trail winding between the scrub brush--not once did the scrub snag my clothes or scratch my shins. Compared to some of the Jeffco peaks, this trail's so nice, it's like the staff of the Little Nell came out and threw rose petals in my path.

Below is the first of several demoralizing false summits.

As I moved down the ridge, I was presented with a little scramble. I'm telling you, this peak has it all.

I topped out onto the false summit, and followed what became a surprisingly exposed ridge walk.
A fall would not be fatal, but I sure didn't want to find out by tumbling down into some guy's pool down below.


I stopped for a second to take in the view of one of Red Butte's more famous neighbors.
Has anyone climbed this one? It looks tall.

I crossed my fingers and hoped that this was the last of the false summits. It was.

Atop the dumpster, I took in some cool views of Aspen and the surrounding area.
Aspen Highlands

Mt. Sopris


The wind was starting to pick up, so I headed down.
Back at the car, I looked at the clock--28 minutes, car to car. I almost fainted with exhaustion. Stats: ~1 mile r/t, 200ft gain, 25 pictures.
If you've ever got time to kill and not much money to waste in Aspen, I recommend Red Butte. It's a dumpster diving classic in my book.
More here in the Aspen Times

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

Comments or Questions
You're lucky
06/07/2012 13:54
you didn't get attacked by a ferocious toy poodle or Gucci-swinging cougar on the climb.

Pushing Limits
06/07/2012 14:11
Reinhold. Ueli. Matt.

06/07/2012 15:02
Now were talkin'

06/07/2012 15:14
And you did it solo!

Tale well spun
06/07/2012 15:39
Thanks Matt. Not to diminish your accomplishment, but this may make a great climb for my 2-year old when we are out that way in August - and I was just going to take her to Cathedral Lake...

Steve Knapp
06/07/2012 16:03
Nice report Matt. It looks interesting, the low peaks can certainly be fun. Totally a great add-on when you have some extra time in Aspen. I still need to climb that, so thanks for the report.

Ha ha, just realized you linked to me on the 5 13er + 5 low peaks in a day thing. That was fun last summer. We still had daylight for more too but at some point you just have to get the drive home done, or you'll never get home.

06/07/2012 16:21

Looks like a good option for a snow climb - thanks for posting - I'll have time to complete my research for a winter attempt.

Kevin Baker
Red Butte rocks
06/07/2012 18:20
Thanks for posting, Matt! One of those rare low peaks with a trail to the top! I had no idea that one had a trail and I just bashed up the west face. The fairy trail was a nice surprise when I hit the ridge! Maybe Matt will break the record for most TR responses for an 8er.

06/07/2012 18:41
I'm heading to aspen right now! Inspired by your perseverance, I feel compelled to dive in to the challenge presented here. lol

Thanks for the report, I enjoyed it

Expanding my horizons ...
06/07/2012 18:50
Wow. You are a man of much diversity. It's stellar trip reports like this that make me question my ”must be 13,000' in order to climb it” rule. The only thing that is missing is the ”BEER” portion of the climb. 8) Thanks for posting. Happy trails!

06/07/2012 19:07
Thats one airy ridge walk!

06/07/2012 22:33
I'm sure your balls grew after this amazing feat!

Put a smile on my face
06/08/2012 13:36
Very nicely written, Matt! Loved it!

Fellow Dumpster Diver Here!
06/08/2012 17:10
Well done, Matt! Looks like it was a fun outing, loved it!

06/08/2012 19:32
I had no idea so many people were into dumpster diving.
I hope this kicks off a flurry of low peak reports because you never know when one more peak is gonna sound too good to pass up.
Thanks for all the comments.

It's on the Bucket List
06/12/2012 05:00
Nice way to raise the bar Matt. 8)

In Aspen one day
09/25/2012 12:45
Nice climb Matt, I saw it one day in Aspen and wandered over there and climbed up the East face. It just caught my attention and I was drawn over to it, it really dominates the northside of the town. I had to check it out on LOJ to see if it was a ranked peak. much to my surprise it was. Dumpster Diving is a way of life for some of us, can't beat an excuse to climb up something most overlook, these are very satisfying little triumphs if you ask me!

one man's trash is another man's treasure
07/29/2013 18:29
Gotta get to 100 ranked Colorado peaks for 2012. Going to Snowmass with the wifey on 9/13-9/17. We're hitting this. Hope you have a great Labor Day!

Dumpster Diving
08/12/2013 11:14

04/02/2015 19:45
I wonder if you noticed a good ski line down that peak too?

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