Peak(s):  Mt. Ouray  -  13,971 feet
Date Posted:  06/13/2020
Modified:  06/16/2020
Date Climbed:   06/12/2020
Author:  overthe59hill
 13er Ouray Challenge   

  • PEAK: Mt. Ouray, 13,971'
  • ROUTE: West Ridge
  • TRAILHEAD: Marshall Pass Cabin
  • DATE: June 12, 2020
  • DEPARTURE: 7:20 am
  • SUMMIT: 1:14 pm
  • RETURN to TH: ~6:00 pm
  • CHECKLIST: My 8th 13er
  • CELL RECEPTION: None (Verizon Wireless/Spectrum Mobile)

My husband Bob can't hike any more. He dropped me and our dog Tippi off at the Marshall Pass Trail head and planned to visit a friend in Howard with our other dog and return to pick me up. His last words to me as I began to walk up the hill at 7:20 am were, "When do you want me back?" "1:00!" I shouted back to him. That was not gonna happen.

A couple preceded me by about ten minutes. I ran into them on their descent when I was almost to the summit.

Before the hike

Bob left his friend's house at 11:30 because he wanted to be back early. Maybe he hoped I would return sooner than 1:00. I was not even at the summit until 1:14. Throughout the hike I had been texting and sending him pictures on my breaks, and did not receive a single message in return from him. In past hikes he would reply to me, so I knew he was having the same connectivity trouble on his end. I had my WiFi off and airplane mode on while hiking to spare the battery. I reversed those on breaks in an attempt to reach Bob. We have Spectrum Mobile and Verizon Wireless.

Leaving timberline, faint trail

There were several fallen trees over the trail, which was easy to follow through the woods until timberline and then it became faint. Timberline is about .80 of a mile from the start. I came to a place where I could identify my position according to pictures that I brought with me from the 14ers dot com directions. On my way down I wasn't as sure about the trail at that point but a few cairns helped guide me back to the right place at timberline.

Tippi approaching Mt. Ouray

I dropped into the larger saddle at about 10:20; three hours after leaving the trail head. I thought I had a conservative estimate of one mile per hour ascent, and faster down. According to my app (MapMyHike), I had hiked 2.2 miles, so I was slower than I wanted to be, but this should mean I have less than a mile to the summit. I did not know the terrain ahead was 100% boulders, and of course it's all uphill, and that short stretch would take me another three hours!

About to drop into the saddle at 10:20 am.
About two thirds of the hike is over boulders
Looking down at the trail head

I continued to send updates to Bob. At 11:24, my text read "2.57 miles at 11:22 am (I always included the time of my text). Another half mile to go. I won't make it by back by 1:00." I hoped he would relax and not bother to return that soon.

My text at 12:10, "2.82 miles. Not there yet. Every 10th mile is excruciating. I will be up shortly." It would be another hour.

I plugged a portable battery charger into my phone when I was close to the top, because the charge was down to 46%. Unfortunately, the charger didn't even work very long. I had recharged it the day before, but.. I guess now I need to find out what's wrong with that. I wanted to be sure to get the whole hike covered, and of course, to stay in touch. The weather was great, thank you Lord!

Another text to Bob, "2.99 miles at 12:46. Still more to go."
I reached the summit at 1:14 pm. It was kind of a shock. I looked around and told Tippi, "Holy Cow! We're here!" My app said I had hiked 3.17 miles in 6 hours. I took several pictures.

Summit rock pile
Tippi at the summit
Summit marker. It looks melted.
Summit shelter

Total time 10 and a half hours. Actual hiking time 7 hours, 52 minutes per MapMyHike. I took a lot of breaks and paused my app for most of them.

This was a more grueling hike than I thought it would be. I love the solitude, beauty, and satisfaction of hiking the peaks.

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
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Comments or Questions
What about Bob?
06/16/2020 07:59
You've left us hanging, did Bob wait 5 hours for you at the trailhead?

What about Bob?
06/16/2020 09:26
Haha, that's a good observation!

He did get some of my messages and knew I would be late, although I wasn't getting his messages. He left a note for me on the cabin.

It's 5:30. Trying to find cell phone coverage to see if you left any more messages. I will be back by 6 pm. Wait in the cabin."

I didn't see the note. Bob wasn't there when I got back but, long story short, he arrived shortly.

What about Bob?
06/16/2020 08:13
He and our other dog walked up the trail a little past treeline at 1:30, and returned to the car prayerfully.

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