My Hike To Crested Butte Via The Mt. Crested Butte Ski & Snowboard Slopes - July 2, 2011
Introduction To Crested Butte (Elevation 12,162 Feet)
Crested Butte is by far the most recognizable peak in this skiing and snowboarding mecca in western Colorado.
In fact, the towns of Crested Butte and nearby Mt. Crested Butte each derive its name from it.
Today I hiked to the summit of Crested Butte, beginning at the base of the
ski slopes of Mt. Crested Butte. Most hike on the road that switchbacks many times as it reaches the highest ski lift.
Also, some choose to pay for a ski lift ride, then hike the final 0.6 mile trail at the top.
Either way, this is an excellent mountain climb opportunity.
Photos of Crested Butte Seen from the Highway 135.
The stunning view of Crested Butte from the town of Crested Butte.
The view of Crested Butte from the public parking lot next to the Grand Lodge in Mt. Crested Butte.
I parked here, and began my hike from this spot.
I formally started at the bottom of the main ski lift near the Grand Lodge and other hotels.
Within a short distance of walking up a grassy ski & snowboard slope and crossing a mountain bike trail,
I was on the service road. Many times the road intersects some of the ski lifts,
and it was indeed tempting to "short cut" up the slopes.
I did that a few times, but be warned it can be quite steep.
Then again, you should already know this if you're climbing a mountain of this stature. ;)
Beautiful purple wildflowers.
The more I climbed, the smaller and farther Mt. Crested Butte looked.
Eventually, whether walking directly on the road or hiking up a ski & snowboard path,
I made it to the highest part of the ski lift area. On the left is a marked trail for Crested Butte.
From here, it is approximately 0.6 miles, and quite a "grunt" above timberline.
Note: At the trailhead, a sign read "trail closed." Beside it
was a sign reading "Peak Trail impassable due to deep snow covering trail.
Hiking off trail can cause environmental damage. Please be aware of hazards! Thanks!"
However, as I spoke with other hikers in the vicinity, everyone who
had already been to the top said the snow wasn't too much. I'm not sure how one determines if snow is "impassable" anyway.
My hunch is these signs exist as a strategy of Mt. Crested Ski Resort to
remove liability if someone should get hurt or killed. Even when I asked the ski lift operator at
the bottom for directions to the road, he politely tried to discourage me, telling me there was "way too much snow."
I share all this so you're not alarmed if you have a similar experience.
Obviously, use your mind, be prepared and always put safety first.
There was one large snowfield,
and the three guys ahead of me helped provide perspective over how large it is. Thankfully,
I endured no postholing. :)
Coming closer to the summit. The trail travels left (on the photo) and reaches the summit from the other side.
A steep and rocky grunt near the top.
Crested Butte Summit - 12,162 Feet
A ski, a few memorials and a register were at the top.
Now this is a mountain with beautiful mountain views in all directions!
Adjacent are two photos of the town of
Crested Butte to the west.
Directly below and toward the southwest was some kind of
suburban community with a golf course.
Whetstone Mountain (elevation 12,516') is the large mountain behind.
Another grand view is to the northwest. That's Mt. Crested Butte.
To the south is the Slate River Valley and Crested Butte South.
More stunning mountain scenery to the north and east.
A standard picture of myself on the summit directly below. :)
Truly, I don't spend enough time in Gunnison County, but here are some of my pages:
From what I heard, the ski lift will allow hikers to ride down for free, but the last ride was at 2:45 p.m. I started very late in the afternoon and was coming down at 5 p.m.
Anyway, it was much quicker going down compared to going up obviously. I walked short distances on the road, but most of the time, I scrambled down ski & snowboard slopes.
Adjacent is a photo near the very bottom, looking back at the mountain.
Leaving Mt. Crested Butte.
As I slowly droved out of Crested Butte, I captured one last shot of this beauty.
Friends, if you enjoy hiking and gaining the summit,
this is a mountain well worth your time.
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