Ouray has always been inviting but I never climbed it. Last week I mountain biked up Marshall Pass. The ride up the pass travels just below Ouray and offers great views of the mountain. The views of the mountain during the ride put Ouray to the top of my "to hike" list. I got in touch with my friend Drew Petersen, who climbed Ouray before to see he if was up for another climb. That was Monday. On Wednesday, July 29th we set out for Mt Ouray.
|Looking into the Devil's Armchair of
Mt Ouray from Marshall Pass Road
From Marshall Pass, our hike began traveling north on the CDT. We followed a doubletrack section of the CDT a short distance before reaching the remains of an old trail that heads uphill towards Ouray. The old trail quickly fades to more of a herd path and travels through open woods with small cairns occasionally marking the way. This herd path is relatively easy to follow, although it does fade at places. Usually another section of herd path or a cairn comes into view to confirm the route. Even if the path is lost, route finding is straightforward. Heading directly uphill will bring you to treeline very quickly.
At treeline the route becomes less distinct. Leaving the herd path from the woods, there are a few small cairns that can be easily missed. Even without cairns, the route is pretty straightforward. Climb uphill and gain the ridge. Once on the ridge, follow it uphill and you will reach the summit.
|Looking toward Mt Aetna and Taylor just above treeline
|Looking back down toward treeline
|Grassy slope below Ouray's ridge
|On the ridge with the summit in the distance
|Short stretch of grass before hitting the rock
|Early morning sun peaking over the summit
|Looking toward Chipeta
|Last stretch before the summit
|North over Chipeta
|South toward Antora Peak
We spent about a half hour on the summit before our descent. We made fairly quick time heading down the mountain. We stuck closer to the ridge proper as we descended. Staying on the crest of the ridge we descended a band of rock that may of been a short descent over class 3 rock. The rougher descent can be easily bypassed however. We made relatively quick time on our descent.
|Looking back down the ridge before our descent
|Looking back up the section of class 3
|A little further down the ridge
|A small bump along the ridge
|View toward Marshall Pass with Antora in the distance
|Cattle grazing far below
(Click on the photo for a better view)
|Descending below the ridge
|Small section of rock below the ridge
|One last look to the north toward Aetna and Taylor
before entering the trees
|Tomcat on the descent