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Mt. Blanca, CO Run: This year's quasi-annual trip to Mount Blanca is September 8-9 and will be led by [email protected] <[email protected]>. Here is the info scoop for those of you who haven't been on the trip before, haven't been up the mountain for a while and have forgotten, or are just plain getting so old that every new day is an adventure!

We will be leaving at 9:00 am from the trailhead on Saturday, Sept 8th. The trailhead is defined as the junction of the Mount Blanca road and Highway 150 (see attached map). Almost everyone will want to drive up on Friday evening and camp in the area so we can get a prompt 9:00 am start. Those of you who know me know that '9:00am start' means just that, we start rolling down the trail at 9:00 am with everything in place and our tires already aired down!!!!

There are several places to camp on Friday night that the club members have utilized in the past. They include:

Great Sand Dunes National Park & Preserve - Cost $14/night, the campground is about 17 miles straight north of the trailhead. The campground includes flush toilets and is pretty darn nice if you don't mind the extra drive north. They do not take reservations but there have generally been campsites available if don't arrive too late, www.nps.gov/grsa/planyourvisit/campgrounds.htm.

KOA Alamosa - It is located about 3.5 miles east of Alamosa on Highway 160 and is on the way to the trailhead. It is a typical KOA, www.koa.com/where/co/06101/.

Wal-Mart Parking lot - It is located on Highway 160 on the west side of Alamosa. It is bright, noisy, and free!

A short way up the trail (about a mile in from the highway) is a 'parking lot' that is flat enough to camp on. Some people will probably leave their tow vehicles here. There are no facilities and the nearest sagebrush is several hundred yards away!

And now for the trail itself......

The Mount Blanca trail is difficult. My suggestion is that you have at least 33 inch tires and a rear locker. 35's and two lockers would be even better! While some have undoubtedly made it successfully up the mountain with less equipment, you will have a much more enjoyable time if your vehicle is equipped properly for the mountain. If you do not have at least 33 inch tires and a rear locker and still want to come, please call me and we can discuss. Rocker panel protection is also a good idea unless you aren't afraid of a few 'beauty marks'.

The trail is approximately seven miles long. Lake Como is about five miles up and we will camp there. The trail ends far above tree line at Blue Lakes. There are five major obstacles on the trail (Jaws 1, 2, 2.5, 3, and 4) but there are whole sections of the trail that are quite difficult. The trail has been the scene of several fatalities on Jaws 2 over the years but that is not the only area that can get you in real trouble. You participate at your own risk. The 'disclaimers and other legal stuff' on the club's events page says it well; http://www.nm4w.org/schedule.htm

Beyond the trail difficulty, this is a spectacular trail. I think the route is as beautiful as anything in Colorado. Lake Como is nestled in a glacial cirque right at tree line with three 14,000 foot peaks surrounding it. Lake Como is at 11,700 feet so the nights can be a bit crisp. It is also likely to be wet as the local group of mountains does a great job of creating its own weather! The trip down on wet granite can be as exciting as the struggle to overcome gravity on the way up. The after dinner campfire has been the scene of some mirth and hilarity over the years (who can forget the Hootie-Bear Dance?) but the altitude and effort of scaling the trail also has created some epic early snores! We will come back down the mountain sometime Sunday morning and should reach the trailhead by mid-afternoon. If you have any questions, shoot Mark an email.
 

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Wow, can't wait to see some pics. I took my Samurai up there years ago (F & R lockers, SOA, 4:1 t-case, 4.56 gears, etc, etc), but you won't catch me up there in the daily driver X any time soon!
 
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