Peak(s):  Jupiter Mtn  -  13,830 feet
Date Posted:  08/19/2015
Modified:  08/24/2015
Date Climbed:   08/19/2015
Author:  Caleb Braun
 Jupiter Mtn Via SW ridge and Columbine Trail  

My hiking partners and I took the train from Durango to Needleton to begin our hike into the basin. I did not include the 14ers we summited in this report. I really wanted to bag Jupiter Mtn. as part of the trip because I'm confident that I will go for the centennials after finishing the 14ers. It was just too convenient to pass up and the weather was absolutely fantastic! I know some of you may not agree with my decision but I left the basin at 4:09pm to summit Jupiter after hiking into the basin and summited at 5:58pm! Again, fantastic weather without a cloud in the sky.

At the junction of the Twin Lakes Trail (goes up the basin to the 14ers) and the Columbine Trail, I took the Columbine Trail which heads East towards a pass. This is a picture of the trail after the junction. It is easy class 1 hiking.

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About a half mile in I ran into the mine shaft. It is a huge mine shaft! I could probably stand inside it without my head touching. I wonder how deep it is?

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Once the trail started to level out in a valley before the pass, I exited North towards Jupiter. In hindsight, I would have shot farther East up Jupiters slopes than I did.

While heading up the Columbine Trail, it felt like I was heading too far to the East, when in fact it was a great route saving lots of time. Here is a photo of the general approach up to Jupiter. Jupiter is on the Left. This picture is taken at the elevation at which I left the trail heading North on relatively flat terrain.

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I headed slightly towards the west naively thinking that what I could see was the summit of the mountain. These photos show the route I took as I got closer.


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This photo clearly shows the route that I took. I headed for the grassy slope in the center. I wish that I had known that this was a false summit. I did not have a map on this excursion so it was all guess work. The actual summit was farther to the East. I should have headed that direction much sooner. The grass was very steep and a worthy workout. The terrain did not permit me to set my heals down very often, so my calves were engaged nearly the whole time. I would highly recommend trekking poles for this route. They definitely helped me out.


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The first false summit of my shattered dreams, lol. I had set out to hike this mountain in 2.5 hours from the Columbine TH. Because of the false summit, I thought I could do it in 1.5 hours only to find that I had 30 more min of steep hiking. ('')

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This is the terrain, once I gained the ridge. There were definitely more rocks on the ridge than the slopes leading up to it. Again, if I had to do it over again, I would not have shot for that grassy slope in the beginning. Instead, I would have started the climb about a quarter of a mile East of that point.





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Finally, I gained the summit at 5:58pm. It took me 1 hr and 49 min to summit. I forgot how long the descent took for me. I believe about 1 hr 10 min hiking down the route I came and running down the Columbine Trail. When I read people's times in trip reports, it is usually very hard for me to gauge how long it would take me, therefore I will give you a reference to my fitness level. My time in the Pikes Peak Ascent (only ascending Pikes Peak) is 3 hrs 59 min. I hope that helps you estimate your time up Jupiter.

This picture clearly shows Windom from the summit of Jupiter. What a beautiful area!

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The flowers were very beautiful on the slope.


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On the descent I found a small social trail that, guess what....was slightly east of my original route. It began at the creek in the photo. It might be difficult to find however, it did present an easier route than the one I had taken. If you are going to hike this mountain, I would recommend hiking along the creek when leaving the Columbine trail looking for this social trail. Then, stay slightly to the east of the route which I took. I'm very glad that I hiked Jupiter. It was beautiful and reminded me of why I love off trail hiking so much. Have fun making your own way! I hope this report is helpful.

By the way, the route is mostly Class 2. There is a very small section in a notch near the summit that I would probably consider to be Class 3.

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Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
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 Comments or Questions
jsf80238

Thanks for posting
12/16/2019 18:29
Cool picture of the mine.



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