August 2013 in Colorado, Part IV – To kilopeak

To finish off the Colorado trip, I needed three peaks to reach a lifetime total of 1000 peaks. 

A specific peak number requires some definition of a peak, and as mentioned on my topographic prominence page, I use the oft-accepted minimum value of 300 feet to count my total.  I also keep track of more minor peaks on my own, but don’t make an effort to climb those.  Note that just because a peak only just barely has 300 feet of topographic prominence, it doesn’t mean that the climb is just 300 vertical feet.  If there’s a road to the top, it could be even less, but often it is much more.  I’ve become more of a “completist” lately, so at least locally I try to climb everything down to 300, rather than just focus on the most prominence peaks in an area.  Anyway, I’ve averaged about 1000 vertical feet per new peak I’ve climbed, considerably more than the average prominence of the peaks.

My plan was to take advantage of my more rugged vehicle to drive up to the long ridgeline of the Williams Fork Mountains northeast of Silverthorne.  There are some really rough spots getting up to the ridge, requiring high clearance and all-wheel drive.  The ridge road isn’t quite as bad, although I ended up getting a flat tire up there on the way down.

There are four peaks that satisfy the 300-foot rule up there, including the highpoint of the range, which has more than 2000 feet of prominence.  However, if you can get your vehicle up there, all of the hikes are short, and one is a drive-up to a comm tower.  I picked up the drive-up and one of the short hikes before making the main peak (Williams Peak) my 1000th:Williams Peak

I shot a bit of video to mark the occasion.  Before I turned into a “completist”, I thought 1000 peaks would be a good lifetime goal, but now I’m hoping this is the first kilopeak of several.  There’s another point on this ridge with a specified altitude just one foot lower than Williams Peak, at the top of this slope, so I hit that for peak 1001:Grassy slope

The weather was holding out over my range, but activity was building up quickly over adjacent ranges:Building storms

At least my flat tire happened after I had climbed my four peaks, but I almost got rained on by the time I put on the spare.  Unfortunately, the tire was ruined and I couldn’t find a replacement in the area I was staying and had to make the 750-mile drive home soon.  So, I ended up having to buy four new tires to keep my AWD system balanced.  To close out, one last shot of the Gore Range from the Williams Fork Range:Gore Range from Williams Fork Range

Total hiking stats (August 11th, 2013): 4 peaks, 2.3 miles, 1030 vertical feet

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