Saturday, July 9, 2011

Mount Wilcox and Otter Mountain

Dave invited us to join him on a hike of Mt. Wilcox. The forecast didn't look great but we decided to give it a shot anyway with an early start. All of the hiking was off trail and fortunately there wasn't much snow left to contend with -- just one snowfield we crossed at a narrow point.

We made it to the summit in just over an hour and a half. The wind was strong up top! Even getting a few feet below the summit provided some shelter. We snacked and watched the clouds forming over Bierstadt and Evans to the east. After 20 minutes we decided to see if we could tag Otter Mountain, instead of going back down the way we came. If weather rolled in, we had an escape route planned to treeline.

As we hiked the clouds unexpectedly seemed to dissipate, so we were able to summit Otter and then the high point south of it. We stopped again for a while just above treeline before descending further. I had seen this descent suggested in Best Hikes with Dogs: Colorado, so despite the close contours on the map I figured it wouldn't be too bad. It was manageable, but definitely steep! Once the terrain leveled off we found our way back to the road. We ended up just a quarter mile from where we had parked -- not bad!

It turned out to be an awesome, rain-free day. Six miles and 2,500' ascent in about 4 hours (plus breaks). We had the whole mountain to ourselves too, which is just mind boggling given that not even 5 miles away are two 14ers that had many hundreds of hikers on them today.

View Mt Wilcox and Otter Mountain in a larger map

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