Autumn is in full-swing, if not winding down. Over the past weekend, I had the opportunity to grab one more 14er before the snow would start to fall up in the mountains in earnest. Joining me on this trip were three international student/friends: Hieu Nguyen (Vietnam), Xiaoen Ding (China), and Amandeep Vashisht (India). For the latter two, this would be their first 14er.
We drove over to Fairplay the night before. Along the way, the aspen stands up on Kenosha Pass were bright yellow, the color intensified by the play of the sunset. The next morning was chilly, about 25 F, as we made the drive up the bumpy forest road to the Mount Bross trailhead, situated several miles northwest of Alma. We decided to climb Mount Bross via its east slope from the Mineral Park Mine. Climbing any 14er is hard but, with the exception of Mount Bierstadt, I would say this was as gentle an introduction to the sport as one could hope. Altogether, the route is about 9.5 miles of a Class 1 hike on an old mining road almost the whole way to the top. The elevation gain is about 3,000′, if not a bit less. Let’s give this a 2 out of 10 on a scale of difficulty for you mountaineers out there keeping score.
The weather was sunny and warmed to the mid-40s. We took our time as the mining road snaked and switchbacked up the east slope past several old, abandoned mining claims. The landscape was barren, rocky, and vast. For their first 14er, Amandeep and Xiaoen did a great job keeping a steady pace at the high altitude 🙂
Once near the top, the trail made a dogleg to the south and it was smooth sailing for several hundred meters up to the summit. From the summit, one can easily see two other 14ers, Mount Democrat and Mount Lincoln (and its satellite peak Mount Cameron) in the Mosquito Range. We ate a snack, took some pictures, and enjoyed the magnificence of the Colorado landscape before starting our descent.
Few other people, great friends and conversation, and a nippy October day all combined to make this one fine Sunday …