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Boulder Mountain - Chaffee County, Colorado

Our Climb Of Boulder Mountain In The Southern Sawatch Range Via Baldwin Gulch

Boulder Mountain, Elevation 13,524 Feet
Boulder Mountain is a large mountain among a plethora of 14ers, 13ers and other peaks in the southern Sawatch Range. It does not get much love from mountain climbers, which is a shame, because we had an excellent hiking experience. Enjoy my photos below.

Photos and commentary by Steve Garufi in Buena Vista, Colorado. Facebook - Twitter - Pinterest - YouTube

Boulder Mountain Colorado
Photo Above: The view of Boulder Mountain from the mining road that travels up its southern slope.

Baldwin Gulch 4WD Colorado

Photos Of Our Hike

June 16, 2012 - We began our hike on Baldwin Gulch Road, where it begins at Chaffee County Road 162 in Chalk Creek Canyon. We hiked for 1.2 miles from this spot to another road that leads up Boulder Mountain. If you have a 4WD high clearance vehicle, you can drive this road and save distance.
The route to Boulder Mountain is simple. Road 279 is an old mining road (accessible for Jeeps and ATV's) that travels to a mine way up on the southern slope of Boulder Mountain. Where the road ends, hike along the ridge to the summit. Your National Geographic topographical map (Salida, St. Elmo, Mount Shavano) covers this region. If you are a 4WD enthusiast, I do recommend Boulder Mountain. It looked like it'd be fun to drive!

Note that only 0.1 miles ahead of Road 279 is another old mining road that makes a more direct route upward. On our hike, we took the second route (not the marked Road 279). These roads meet approximately one mile up anyway, as shown on your map.

Mount Princeton CO This was a long ascent and tough hike, at least for my standards. At the base of Baldwin Gulch, the elevation was 9,400 feet, and we'd ascend 4,000 feet in elevation. As we continued, eventually we became high enough to see Mount Princeton to the northeast.
Mount Antero CO The grand view of Mount Antero to the east.
Gulch We cheated off the road a few times. Once we continued up this gulch to avoid hiking back and forth on long switchbacks.
Boulder Mountain, CO Near timberline, Boulder Mountain and its summit came into better view.
Sam Palpant Hiking Upward we continued. That's Sam, my hiking partner for the day.
Boulder Mountain, Colorado Near the end of the road, this was our view of Boulder Mountain's summit. We had one last grunt to the top.
By the way, we were up on these slopes at approximately 11 a.m. and clouds were moving in. We could have endured rainfall, but we were very concerned about the dangers of thunder and lightning.

Way up on Boulder Mountain, we saw troubling developments happening toward Mount Shavano and Tabegauche Peak. We also heard some thunder rumblings. We considered turning back, but we saw much of the sky to the west was blue. As long as those dark clouds in the photo traveled in an easterly direction, we thought we'd be okay.

Mt. Princeton Colorado

Mt. Antero Colorado

Hiking up the steep slopes, I rested often. Adjacent are two more photos of Mount Princeton (top) and Mount Antero (second) respectively.

When we arrived at the summit, we heard more thunder rumblings happening toward Mount Antero and it appeared to be raining in the Arkansas River Valley, with Salida as the nearest town.

Steve

The Summit of Boulder Mountain 13,524 Feet

We were so happy to be on Boulder Mountain. We earned this climb for sure. 4,000 elevation gain. ~7 miles round trip. Very grateful!

Adjacent Photo: The view of the Sawatch Range to the north.

Mountains

Mount Mamma Colorado

Mount Antero Colorado

Mount Princeton Colorado

Enjoy the mountain scenery, friends.

TOP: Facing southwest, a ridge continues to other mountains. Mount Mamma, Grizzly Mountain and other unnamed 13ers can be reached in this direction. In most cases, mountaineers have done a loop that goes around Baldwin Lake and goes down into the Baldwin Gulch area.

SECOND: The view of 14ers Mount Shavano and Tabeguache Peak (center) with Unnamed Point 13,870' in the foreground on the right.

THIRD: To the west, facing across toward Mount Mamma (13,634').

FOURTH: The grand view of Mount Antero (14,269').

FIFTH: What a beautiful view of Mount Princeton. Ahhhh!



My pages in this region:

  • Grizzly Lake
  • Poplar Gulch Trail
  • St. Elmo
  • Tincup Pass #1
  • Tincup Pass #2
  • Agnes Vaille Falls
  • Mary Murphy Mine
  • Hancock Ghost Town
  • Snow In Gully On our way down, we hiked in a gully that had snow remaining. Those in the Colorado climbing community won't think twice about seeing patches of snow in June, but I know this blows the mind of my friends in places like Texas, Mississippi and Florida. :)

    Video

    I'm so bad at making these, but above is my video at the summit.

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