We made another trip into our favorite Colorado wilderness area- the Weminuche.
This section of the San Juans has always been special to us, and one that we try to visit regularly. Unfortunately, what makes the rugged, remote area so fun to visit, also makes it a challenge to get to, and we don’t find ourselves there as often as we’d like. But about every other year– particularly if it’s a special occasion and we want to do something memorable– we clear four or five days of our schedule and make it happen.
Among our multiple forays into the area was a trip here ten years ago this same week, for my 30th birthday, where we went into Vestal Creek and traversed five peaks in the Grenadier Range– Arrow, Vestal, and the three Trinities. Another was six years ago, for Christy’s birthday, when we went into Ruby Creek for four days and climbed Pigeon, Turret, and Jagged peaks. That was fun. And two years back we made the trip here for our one year wedding anniversary. We camped up Trinity Creek for a couple of days and climbed Storm King Mountain. See that post here. It was on that trip that we caught a glimpse of a neighboring valley framed with interesting peaks and a cerulean blue lake, and we decided we’d have to check it out up close on our next visit.
As my 40th birthday approached and it came time to decide on what to do, we easily agreed– Leviathan Creek.
One valley south of Trinity Creek on the east side of the Grenadier and Needle Mountains, Leviathan Creek empties from Leviathan Lake down into Vallecito Creek. Above Leviathan Lake is a high 13er with the same name, and that was our goal. So after a 6 hour drive– first to Silverton, and then over Stony Pass to Beartown (a curiously named starting point for any wilderness outing), we shouldered our massive packs and headed in.
It was a huge effort to get up to Leviathan Lake. But by noon on the second day we had made it, and set up camp for the next few days. We would need that much time to go through all the food, etc. (including 3 liters of wine) we hauled up there. We climbed Leviathan Peak that afternoon and Mount Silex the next day, and had the entire massive valley all to ourselves.
Big birthday parties might be fun at the time, but trips like this are more memorable in my opinion. And they’re even better when you have photos to remind you of it all afterwards. Here are a few.