Hunt Lake - Bald Mountain - Banana Mountain
My Hike Near Boss Lake and Monarch Pass In Southern Chaffee County, CO - July 6, 2009
Bald Mountain (alt. 12,851 feet) and Banana Mountain (alt. 12,323 feet)
are two "12er" mountains in the southern Sawatch Mountain Range near
Monarch Pass and the Monarch Mountain ski area.
The nearest towns are Poncha Springs and Salida to the east.
Bald Mountain is situated on the Continental Divide; Banana Mountain
is located east of Bald Mountain and adjoined by a ridge. Adjacent photo: The view of
Banana Mountain and Bald Mountain in the general vicinity of Boss Lake.
This was a great outdoor adventure! My climb transpired on Monday July 6,
and I did not see another person throughout my approximately 5-6 our hike.
Only near the very end, as I was walking away from Boss Lake Reservoir,
did I see two mountain bikers, but that was it!
Oh and secondly, I was especially grateful that
the Colorado weather gods did not
perform it's very predictable afternoon rain shower.
I started my climb very late (8:45 a.m.) and did not return to my car until 3:45 p.m.
How to Get There: I urge you to get a topographical map. If you don't have one, you have no business being up there.
Buy it online (Salida, St Elmo, & Shavano Peak, Colorado - Trails Illustrated Map # 130)
or pick one up at The Trailhead Outdoor Store in Buena Vista.
Now having said that, I walked up the 4-wheel drive road to Boss Lake Reservoir (C.R. 235 - located west of the Monarch Ski Lodge) to
Boss Lake Reservoir. I continued on the well-defined trail around the south side of the reservoir to Hunt
Lake and to the Continental Divide ridge between Bald Mountain and Clover Mountain. At that point,
I summited Bald Mountain, then walked on the ridge to Banana Mountain and finished by continuing
toward Syncline Hill and walking downhill in the forest to reach the trail near Boss Lake.
What a day! Enjoy the photos, friends. :)
Buena Vista, Colorado
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|The Journey To Banana Mountain
The views became much nicer as I walked along the ridge. What an amazing photo!
Hunt Lake is on the left, Banana Mountain on the right and much of southern Chaffee County
(including Salida, CO) can be seen way out there.
|The mountain views were very nice to say the least.
|On the south side of the ridge, I could view the
Waterdog Lakes, the Monarch Mountain ski area and
the Monarch Pass parking lot. So pretty!
|The view of Clover Mountain.
|I zoomed-in on Mt. Aetna (alt. 13,771 feet). Look at the avalanche shoot on that thing!
|Looking back at Bald Mountain as I continued toward Banana Mountain.
|Things become more exciting and challenging as I walked along the ridge toward Banana Mountain.
If I do this over again, I would stay on the ridge and bear the brunt on any steepness.
There was some class 3 climbing in some spots up here - nothing to extreme but a definite upgrade from what I had experienced earlier.
|The Summit of Banana Mountain - Alt. 12,323 Feet
One token photo of myself (top) and the grand view looking toward
Salida and the Arkansas River Valley way out there.
The distinct gray line is State Highway 50.
My many pages in this area:
Bike Monarch Pass
Bike Poncha Pass
Old Monarch Pass
Maysville, CO Schoolhouse
Boss Lake Reservoir
Waterdog Lakes Trail
St. Elmo Ghost Town
Snow - Driving Over Monarch Pass
Bike Salida & Buena Vista
"S" Mountain in Salida
|A vivid photo of the old mining area on the side of Monarch Ridge. This area can be seen along side Highway 50.
|I originally intended to summit Syncline Hill (alt. 11,404 feet),
but opted to turn at the saddle to rejoin the trail near Boss Lake Reservoir.
|While in the forest, I was enamored with the site of patches of
snow. Look at this!
Snow baby snow! SNOW IN JULY! 88:)
What do you Texans and
Arizonans think about this? :)
|One final photo as I scrambled down the forest to reach the trail. It's a great shot of Banana Mountain
(left) and Bald Mountain (right).