Peak(s):  London Mountain  -  13,194 feet
Date Posted:  09/29/2021
Date Climbed:   09/08/2021
Author:  petal53run
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 Finding Londons Bright Side   


Dogs: they are playfully everywhere. Running in parks, hanging out of car windows, splatted on sofas, rolling in the dirt, shopping in stores but most importantly, wrapped in our arms. Statistics report that 63.4 million households have 89.7 million dogs in the US. I would say multiple dogs are in some homes. And how many dogs are mountain climbers? Although I see dogs eagerly doing so, I could not find that number. According to Outside Magazine(1-2020), 3 dogs have summited all 58 of Colorados 14ers. That passion forges a special bond between owner and pet; considering the shared trust needed to navigate the difficult peaks.

There is no formal registration process to track climbing canines. Through self documentation, 15 or so are a few peaks shy of the coveted 58. What kind of dog does this? Although the American Kennel Club recognizes 197 dog breeds, that does not guarantee a winner atop a summit platform. In reality, no one breed reigns. The desired traits needed to successfully journey to the summit is the pet’s personality, trainability, perceptiveness and ability to explicitly follow their owner’s methodical patience. Pretty awesome tricks our pups can do. Now I’ll explain why I climbed London Mountain.

While my pup wasn’t gifted to climb 14ers, she passed the initial hug test to be my awesome dog. Lola was my Basset Hound. Removed from an abusive home by Basset Rescue, our mountains to climb was learning to trust humans. We successfully conquered to have time to live a full life of 11 1/2years. Unfortunately her valiant fight against cancer ended with her being euthanized Sept7. On Sept8, climbing a mountain was my therapy. Movement helps me think. No mountain in Colorado was named Lola, so the matching LO in London sufficed.

That night, sleep was not happening so I was driving W on I70 at 3AM to Alma. Mosquito Pass or CR12 is a couple miles S of Alma on which the 2WD dirt road goes W to the TH(pic1). From there, the surface is definitely 4WD. I marveled at the sunrise colors before hiking up the 4WD portion S of the TH(pic2). I was able to find a cadence for my mantra and headed up the hill. Even with the ebbing morning sun at 1/2 m, London beckoned(pic3). I stopped to read about the London Mill(pic4-5-6-7) and all the gold, silver and lead that was mined from London mountain transported to the mill via a rope cable tramway(pic8); a modern invention during the 1879-1889s. Pics of metal cans(pic9-10 and such(pic11) and flowers(pic12-13) in the nearby grass. As I continued upward, I thanked my lucky stars to have crystal blue skies and lots of thinking time.

After about 1 3/4m I reached the familiar saddle between Kuss and London. Grumpy weather stopped me from climbing London after summiting Treasurevault, Mosquito and Kuss peaks on 8-12-2021. Because my mind swarmed with thoughts today, I deliberately paused to gaze at the S Mosquito peaks of Sherman and buddies(pic14). This overlook is marked by a line of large rocks(pic15).The start at the base of the W side of London Mtn is clearly marked with a worn inviting dirt trail (pic16) going to the prominent first tower. I was forewarned by previous London reporters that several false summits lay between the base and the summit. The other valuable tip was to stay right when picking a line. Here is a pic17 of reaching the 1stTower. The 2ndTower had a protective rock barrier and as pic18 shows a path was still visible. The trail path levels out when approaching the 1st crest. There were a couple cairns(pic19-20) for encouragement which lead the way to the top of the ridge and from here, London Mtn is still there.

Getting closer(pic21) and embedded rocks flat spots, oh theres a trail finally(pic22), and grassy spots appear (pic23), a bit of scrambling(pic24) and at the 13194 summit (pic25-26). The views were super long of the Mosquito range; Pennsylvania pic27, Kuss pic28, Tweto & arkanasas pic29, Loveland pic30, Alma pic31, and here I was standing in the midst of peace and quiet. I took a few minutes for solace. The return trip descent was not stressful on the knees and felt speedy. In some spots the trail was not obvious so stay to the left. Back on the 4WD road, I could hear the water flowing down the hill going back to the car. Pic32 of a mini waterfall. Driving in the morning dark, is well dark, so driving E to Alma while the sun shined was like a golden reward (pic33-34-35-36).

During my research on high altitude hiking canines, I recommend Outside Magazine for its useful articles and consistent, thorough research and tested suggestions. Perusing the web yielded a few How to Train articles with REIs expert advice ranking 4 3/4stars. Gear? Lots of choices but finding what works makes success. Tons of Which Breed is Best info abounds but the desired personality traits and attitude needed for climbing adventures overwhelmingly were found in the nonpurebreeds; aka, the mutt.

As mentioned, my dog was a Basset Hound(pic37); the dalmation part of her marked her with beautiful spots but she was typical hound. Easy going, territorial and convincible with patience and food, she could melt any heart with her manipulative droopy eyes, long ears and friendly demeanor(pic38). Bred to sniff out rabbits (whats that?), she hunted for backpacks to open zippers for candy, pulled food off the kitchen table (short legs can stretch), howled when I practiced my euphoium&clarinet and raided trash cans. Not exactly angelic traits to be a mountain climbing dog, but she was my canine best friend(pic39).

In sum, this was a pleasant walkup hike. I categorize this Class 1-2 trail as a thinking trail. Its relatively close to Denver and a 5.9m roundtrip from Mosquito Pass TH. From Londons base, its less than 2m to the top. Following directions gets one to the summit faster which means stay to the right of the towers. Its not a consistant dirt line, but varies in character by surface and angle. Mostly the routefinding was obvious, but when unsure, I emphasize, STOP and you will see it. The Mosquito range surrounded me and I felt like the views hugged me as I was hiking. According to the dog owner hikers, London Mountain sounds like it would rank as an easy-to moderate hike. I assume that the class difficulty rating we human climbers use would apply to dogs. And a chart to rate trail buddies? Theres no better outdoor companion than a dog(pic40).




Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42


Comments or Questions
outdoor50rock
doable climb with my dog
09/29/2021 12:07
Thanks for info. I've thought about taking my dog along and London sounds perfect. Love your pics


TomPierce
Your third from the end photo...
09/29/2021 14:55
...is classic! Looks like a good time, thanks for posting!

-Tom


ltlFish99
Delightful
10/04/2021 19:52
Report with wonderful photographs.
I personally think the mountains are very therapeutic.
Thanks for posting this.



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