Peak(s):  "Cupid"  -  13,117 feet
Grizzly Peak D  -  13,427 feet
Date Posted:  10/17/2021
Date Climbed:   08/18/2021
Author:  petal53run
 Cupid & Grizzly Bear Hugs   

Cupid & Grizzly Bear Hugs

When the alarm rang at 3AM, driving for hours didn’t sound fun. But drifting back to sleep did. Two hours of shuteye later I was driving on I70 to US6 to Loveland Pass(11990) TH to climb GrizzlyD(13433) & Cupid(13427). Chancing that I would get a parking spot at this highly popular trail at 6AM, I was surprised to be the third person there. While I was lacing up my boots I savored the pinkish sunrise as the day sky dyed it blue.

In 2015, I climbed Sniktau&Cupid. This beautiful August day I planned to summit Cupid on my way to GrizzlyD. These 3 Front Range mountains were vetted alpine skiing courses for the proposed 1976 Olympic Winter Games(which never happened). How did these 13ers peaks get their names? First, Sniktau, pen name for Edwin HN Patterson(1828-1880), was the journalist & editor for the Georgetown newspaper in 1873. Second, grizzly bears once roamed the Rocky Mountains until hunted to extinction in 1952. The remaining evidence of this majestic Class7 predator are 5-13er peaks, the tallest designated as A-E for the shortest and 1mountain top, all named Grizzly, according to Third, Cupid is the bump between Sniktau&GrizzlyD and possibly in reference to Loveland ski area(pic1 looking E at Golden Bear, Hagar, Pettingell & Hassel ridgeline).

The hike starts above treeline which in my theory qualified it as a day hike because 1400+ feet is a short distance. Tons of flowers(pic2-3-4-5) lined the lot edge on my way to the TH(center of parking lot). The stairs were the start where I met Josh. We compared notes and decided to hike together to Cupid. From there he would assess continuing to GrizzlyD. Going E, the steps were flat boulders embedded in the hill(pic6). This hike immediately makes your heart pound, both visually and physically. The incline progressively steepens after ascending the steps. Next is a hill with loose dirt/gravel(pic7) which improves into a solid double dirt track(pic8).

At the fork, the left single dirt path leads to Sniktau. We took the right trail(pic9), which stretches across along the Wside of the mountain to get to Cupid. The trail attempts to level out across the tundra for awhile until it gradually bends upward along the side of the hill. Pic10 of mushrooms. The elevation gain is comfortable to the ridge. Here, the line is clearly visible through the bumpy rock surface(pic11). We waved to some cairns onward to Cupid(pic12-13). When a pile of rocks on top of the tallest hill came into view, we veered off the trail for an easy scramble to summit Cupid(pic14-15).

That was easy enough which put GrizzlyD next. The trail ahead was deeply etched as it cut through the tundra(pic16) A marmot scurried in front of us as we went down the first descent(pic17). Going back up the first big hill is when GrizzlyD came into view(pic18). Here is a pic19 of the trail going to the rocky top and here is pic20 of Josh looking at the landscape behind us. We pressed on and saw tracks in the dirt(pic21). What a surreal view ahead(pic22). Down in the saddle were a herd of mountain goats(pic23-24). We politely kept our distance as we passed(pic25). Then the trail steepens dramatically as it becomes really rocky and turns into a sharp switchbacks up the face. The footing is somewhat stable in the loose gravel. The last push was the scramble on chunky rocks to GrizzlyDs 13433 summit(pic27-28). My sign says Cupid, but trust me, it definitely is GrizzlyD on August 18, 2021. Even though the wind was blowing moderately, the temperature was a cool reminder that winter was soon to come. I took pics of the peaks around us. N pic29 is Sniktau, Pettingell group; E pic30 is Grays&Torreys; SE pic31 of Ruby/Edwards; S pic32 is Montezuma area and looking W(pic33). We returned by traveling the same trail in reverse(Josh pic34) with awesome views of Arapaho ski basin and the Continental Divide peaks. At the TH the weather called for shorts.

Why the 5 peak and 1 mountain tribute to Grizzlys? These behemoth sized mammals are magnificent despite their horrible attitudes. They entice us with the images of the western open range that are still active in our minds. Unfortunately, humans insatiable appetite to build and conquer has squeezed the Grizzlies habitat out of existence. Unlikely is the Answer, the Question, are there resident grizzly bears in Colorado is driven by CO Parks&Wildlife optimism & sighting report form. Investigations have identified sightings to be the cinnamon black bear with a similar but smaller hump above the shoulders as the Grizzly. While these bears are cute and cuddly as a plush toy, remember the TY beanie babies Monarch & Sequoia, the last known CO Grizzly bear(1979) remains are displayed at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science as a hide(pic35)& skull(pic36). Not the expected iconic example, however, live rescued/displaced Grizzlys bears are at the Cheyenne Mtn Zoo, Wild Animal Sanctuary in Keensburg and the Denver Zoo.

In sum, an hour drive from Denver, Cupid&GrizzlyD were the perfect choices for an out and back hike of 5.5m. Not just a morning venue as we did, they can easily be an enjoyable climb during any daylight hour; albeit bad weather. Winter skiing would be doable, too. Ranked mostly as Class1; Class2 describes the final pitch to the GrizzlyD summit. The roundtrip was nearly 4 hours for us and one could add Sniktau for another hour. Routefinding was usually obvious as the entire trail was rutted and the up&downs were easily manageable and kind on the feet&knees. I would be safe to say that CO Grizzlys peaks/mountain have friendlier personalities than a real Grizzly bear. Although travel on the trails to the summits vary in difficulty/terrain, these Grizzlys are ranked tamed. Climbing 13000+ feet for a bear hug can be viewed as a majestic accomplishment.


Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36

Comments or Questions
Nice Mountains
10/17/2021 15:21
I did these in the last of June. In June I lost the trail a little where there was still snow. These mountains got me thinking more of doing more 13ers and leaving the 14ers for the crowds. Enjoyed the photos. Helped with the memory of the day.

grizzzly bears
10/21/2021 11:43
Grizzly B was a tame peak and a great hike getting there. Its too bad that there is no room for them anymore in Colorado. Need to enjoy what we have. Great pics and report. Thanks for clarifying all the Grizzly Peak designations.

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