Tim Parr and I have been talking about doing this hike/run for a long time. In fact, we even hatched the idea to do it during another fantastically epic back-country outing earlier in July. This awesome endeavor took place on Friday, September 17th and proved to be just about everything we hoped it would. Just ‘above’ and to the northwest of Crested Butte, this run spans an incredible ridge with views in all directions and summits galore. On this, the most beautiful day in the history of the world, we ended up summiting 11 peaks which added a significant total of summits in the area to our respective totals for the summer. Basically, on this ridge you stay above 11,500′ the whole time, and top out over 13,000′, with every summit above 12,400′. We were planning on mainly hiking with small stretches of running, and knew that there would be a few sections with exposure that would slow us down substantially. The summits that we gained on this day were as follows: Ruby Peak, Mt Owen, Purple Peak, Afley Peak, Oh-Be-Joyful Peak, Hancock Peak, Richmond Mountain, Cascade Mountain, Augusta Mountain, Mineral Point, No-Name Ridge, and Purple Mountain. Two days prior, Tim had set up another vehicle for the end of the outing and we were ready to go. We each took about 1000 calories, 2 liters of water, a spare jacket, and a head-lamp.
Published October 8th, 2010 by Duncan Callahan
Ruby Range Ridge Traverse
A view to the Northwest from the saddle just below Ruby Peak.
Here is a good shot of the 13,058′ monster Mt. Owen. Big.
I love being in the ‘high’ and ‘back’ country. Stunning, Inspiring, Perfect.
Tim gets a few extra feet of vertical on top of Afley Peak.
Cascade Mountain in the foreground. Augusta Mountain and Mineral Point loom.
The weather on this day was brilliant, perfect, and inspiring.
We had planned on an early 6:00am start to this adventure, but at the last minute Tim had something come up which delayed our start until 2:00pm. We knew we would have perfect weather for the outing, but I was a little unsure about doing one or two of the technical parts of the ridge in the dark. I am very ‘out of my element’ on anything approaching technical. Exposure and I do not get along well. Tim did a very good job being patient and coaching me through the early technical sections. (To give you an idea of how ‘bad’ I am on this stuff: some of you who know this ridge are probably saying right now: “What technical sections?”) Once it got dark on ‘No Name Ridge’ though, I mentally froze up on the last scramble section. We turned around and went down a basin instead of heading up and over Purple Mountain. Had we gone up and over the last summit, we would have been back to the other car in about a total of 7 hours. With my ‘shaking-in-my-boots’ and ‘petrified brain’ though, we ended up taking much longer to get back to the other car. We eventually made it though, both very tired and happy to eat a bit more food after a long day. Tim and I now have another shared experience on the epic trails and peaks around the Gunnison Valley. Thanks for a good summer of training buddy… your positive mindset everyday helped me dramatically. Here’s to a good remainder of the fall. Train well. Live well. DC