St Vrain Glacier and Buchanan Pass

Using the term “Epic” to describe this run is not an overstatement. The group departed for St Vrain Glaciers form Camp Dick in Indian Peaks Wilderness which is a 17 mile out and and back. I added on a section to Buchanan Pass, Red Deer Lake and mistakenly a section of Eagle Creek Trail turning it into a 28 miler with 5,500ft of gain. Garmin Route is here although it is a 1.5 mile short due to a dead battery.

Buchanan Pass in the distance. The glaciers are behind the tress to the right of the Pass.

The red flower is called an “Scarlet Paintbrush”.  The purple is an Aster, I believe.

This is the Middle Vrain Creek. My feet could stand about 3 minutes in this icy cold glacial flow.

The St Vrain glaciers are in a bowl like area of peaks, in the distance, above Gibraltar Lake. Approaching tree line.

What is left of the glaciers looking south-west with the Continental Divide in the background. As I was setting up the camera, I asked if it was flashing (i.e. the timer had started) and someone said, “No, but you are.” Thanks for the support 😉

Vanity Shot #1. Ogalalla Peak in the background in the glacial bowl. Just to the left of my right shoulder, you can see the rest of the group. A few of us decided to pursue another higher peak before descending.

This ended my group run part of the day as I left for Buchanan Pass which is at about 12,000 ft. We are at 10,000 ft here.

The next several miles was fairly wet, shaded in some spots and in others like this one, just filled with color. Looking back towards the valley where Camp Dick is located.

Breaking though tree-line and heading for the Buchanan Pass, my fourth “Pass-topping” this year on foot.

This is the last 500 ft or so of climb. At this point, trail “running” is not an option for me. Power hiking is the best I can do.

On top of the Continental Divide again. As you can see, the clouds were starting to roll in so after a quick snack, it was back down. My intent here was to run the 2 miles to the intersection of Buchanan Pass and Eagle Creek, the way I came up, and take the Pass trail back to Deer Lake. Because the intersection is so poorly marked, I went right by it and literally ran into a Search and Rescue team on horseback out looking for a hiker that had been lost for sometime….hmmmmm. I had a map and still missed the turn-off?  They had a GPS unit and confirmed my suspicion that I had gone to far. At no point to did I feel lost or in danger. I had plenty of water, a map and was seeing people all day long.

So this is Red Deer Lake. Very nice, but a bit of a let down after the Glacial area. A friend of mine had never been there, and he has been everywhere, so I just had to go 😉

Thus ended another day on the trails.

2 thoughts on “St Vrain Glacier and Buchanan Pass

  1. Pingback: Fall in the Rockies – St Vrain Glacier | Single Track Mind

  2. Nice post! Was just up there yesterday with my dog and a small day pack. Beautiful place and nice pics by the way. You did it justice.

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