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  • Mt. Bierstadt Group Summit - Front Range, Colorado
  • A rest before the summit push on Dallas Peak - San Juan Range, Colorado
  • Broken Ankle + 6 Miles = Tired
  • The classic San Juan approach - San Juan Range, Colorado
  • Overlooking Noname Basin from Twin Thumbs Pass - San Juan Range, Colorado
  • Upper Noname Basin - San Juan Range, Colorado
  • Nearing Noname Cabin - San Juan Range, Colorado
  • Twin Thumbs Twins - San Juan Range, Colorado
  • Nearing the summit of Pt. 13,736 - Sawatch Range, Colorado
  • Blustery day on Iowa Peak - Sawatch Range, Colorado
  • Morning snow at 15k, Cerro Ramada - Cordillera Ramada
  • Artesonraju from the summit of Nevado Pisco - Cordillera Blanca, Peru
  • February crowds on Gray's Peak - Front Range, Colorado
  • Kicking steps on Cerro Lliani - Cordillera Vilcanota, Peru
  • Final traverse to the summit of Wheeler Mountain - Ten Mile Range, Colorado
  • The long walk to Pachanta - Cordillera Vilcanota, Peru
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    Afternoon at 17k on Cerro Ramada - Cordillera Ramada, Argentina
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    The final ridge on Iowa Peak - Sawatch Range, Colorado
  • Summer summit on Longs Peak - Front Range, Colorado
  • A rest day at the Pachanta Hot Springs - Cordillera Vilcanota, Peru
  • Mind over matter on Mt. Parnassas - Front Range, Colorado
  • Rest stop on Cerro Lliani - Cordillera Vilcanota, Peru
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    Post nap surprise on Cerro Ramada - Cordiller Ramada, Argentina
  • Summit on Cerro Lliani - Cordillera Vilcanota, Peru
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    Ridge walking on Grizzly Peak - Sawatch Range, Colorado
  • Enroute the summit via the West Ridge on Pacific Peak - Ten Mile Range, Colorado
  • Mule train bound for Chilca - Cordillera Vilcanota, Peru
  • Taking in the view from Fletcher Peak - Ten Mile Range, Colorado
  • Hiking on Silverheels - Mosquito Range, Colorado
  • Traversing! Gladstone Peak - San Juan Range, Colorado
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    The best of times at Willow Lake - Sangre de Christo Range, Colorado
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    High Altitude Cerebral Edema? - Cordillera Ramada, Argentina
  • Bound for Chilca - Vilcanota Range, Peru
  • Going alpine light, Holy Cross Ridge - Sawatch Range, Colorado
  • Cumbre! Campa I - Cordillera Vilcanota, Peru
  • Roadside lunch with the best of company - Cordillera Vilcanota, Peru
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    Long ridge walk to the summit of California Peak - Sangre de Christo Range, Colorado
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    Crossing el Rio Colorado . . . in the afternoon - Cordillera Ramada, Argentina
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    Dealing with Fall snows high on Casco Peak - Sawatch Range, Colorado
  • Moonrise over Mercedario - Cordillera Ramada, Argentina
  • Still climbing at 20,900 on Cerro Ramada - Cordiller Ramada, Argentina
  • Talus on Halo Ridge, Mt. of the Holy Cross - Sawatch Range, Colorado
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    Deteriorating conditions on Mt. Arkansas - Ten Mile Range, Colorado
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    After the climb - Cordillera Ramada, Argentina
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    Taking in the view from the summit of Crystal Peak - Tenmile Range, Colorado
  • Topping out on Mt. Arkansas' North Couloir - Mosquito Range, Colorado
  • Glissade on Mt. Arkansas - Mosquito Range, Colorado
  • Hard snow morning on Teakettle Mountain - San Juan Range, Colorado
  • Spring snow announces the start of the climb on Dallas Peak - San Juan Range, Colorado
  • Crossing the Eolus Catwalk - San Juan Range, Colorado

Squaretop Peak

April 14, 2001 & December 26, 2010 - Southeast Ridge from Guanella Pass


April 14, 2001

Gary and I had both climbed Mts. Bierstadt and Evans and rather than repeat them, we headed for Squaretop on the other side of Guanella Pass.  Our trip to Bolivia was in the works and I needed this climb to start breaking in a pair of double plastic mountaineering boots.  We parked about one mile beyond the top of the pass and put on snowshoes for the gentle climb to the saddle we would to cross to get onto the flank of Squaretop.  The snow was sufficient for shoeing in the basin but the shoes came off for the climb proper, which was mostly on rock with some patchy snowfields on the lower slopes.  About 500 vertical feet below the summit, the gloomy weather that had held off all morning finally dropped onto the peak.  Blowing snow and wind cut visibility first to just a few hundred feet and then to barely one hundred feet by the time we reached the summit.

We snacked at the top and then headed down the ridgeline toward the saddle we crossed over on the ascent.  Enroute the saddle, the snowstorm became a snowy thunderstorm and with the threat coming closer, we vetoed the saddle crossing and instead took a steeper draw to lower ground.  The storm passed and we crossed the drainage to make the interminable final climb (all of 75 vertical feet and three rest stops) back up a short slope to the truck.  The climb took about six hours and was an attractive alternative to the more popular 14’ers nearby.

December 26, 2010

I took a shot at the same route described above on the day after Xmas. The weather report was calling for a warmish, low wind, bluebird day and this seemed like a good route for a solo climb. The road in from Georgetown remained closed so the approach had to be from the Grants side and I was able to make it to within 0.8 mile of the regular winter closure gate at Duck Lake. I tried to get a bit further up the road but the price of a few extra yeards would clearly be hours of shovelling if the truck ended up off the packed track and into the softer snow the covered most all of the road. Knowing discretion ws the better part or valor, I executed a 180 and parked the truck.

The day promised to be clear and warm and the weather man was correct in his forecast. I left the truck at about 9 a.m. and made good time up the road to a reasonable cut off point for the trek toward Squaretop. The road was well compacted by snow machines and snowshoes were not needed. However, snow conditions changed as soon as I left the road to head cross country toward Squaretop. The recent storms dropped enough snow, which soon demonstrated this would be a challenging approach to say the least. The snow was unconsolidated and the snowshoes provided no flotation whatsoever but for a layer here or there. As a solo act, there was no trail breaking rotation among other climbers, hence all the drudgery would like with me and me alone. After about 0.2 mile, I'd had enough, retraced my steps and continued onto Guanella Pass to take a look at Bierstadt before heading back to the truck. No summit but I did get 5.5 miles of late December physical conditioning.