The hulking form of Uncompaghre leans into the sky like the prow of a ship at sea, and every time I gaze at this 14,309 foot peak I imagine it animating and sailing off into the clouds.
But Uncompaghre isn't going anywhere just yet—a good thing for those who want to climb it and stand atop the San Juan Mountains.
|Uncompaghre (the "tall ship" in the center of the photo) dominates|
the skyline near Lake City Colorado.
Uncompaghre is described as a "walk-up"—no technical climbing skills required—although a near-vertical section of loose scree near the top requires some hand-and-feet scrambling.
Nerves of steel are required, however, to drive the rough and rutted four-wheel drive road to the trailhead. After arriving safely at the trailhead it's another four miles and 3000 vertical feet to the top of Mighty Unc. Braving the climb to the top of Uncompaghre's wide and level summit I feel like a pioneer arriving in a brand new world; layers of peaks and valleys stretch to the horizon with no roads, vehicles, buildings or towns in sight.
|Less than a mile from the trailhead Uncompaghre bursts into view,|
allowing unobstructed anticipation of the destination.
|As we neared the summit we turned around to see the trail far below.|
The yellow arrows point to two areas of the trail.
|Tim navigates an area of loose rocks near the summit.|
|View from the top. This is a great place to linger on a clear day.|
September is the perfect month to climb Uncompaghre. The next time you're in Lake City, Colorado, grab a guidebook to Colorado's high peaks and discover new lands for yourself.