Peak(s):  Ouray, Mt  -  13,971 feet
Date Posted:  02/08/2017
Date Climbed:   02/05/2017
Author:  Dad Mike
 Ouray - NE Ridge  

Ouray
Time...4:45am - 12:30pm
Distance...13.2 miles
Elevation Gain...5115 feet
Trailhead...Winter Closure on CR 210, 3.5 miles from Little Cochetopa Creek TH
Route...NE Ridge

My first attempt on Ouray didn't go so well. I attempted it from Marshall Pass Road in March a few years ago and this is how I felt after wallowing for 4 hours in the trees...
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When I was researching routes for this winter, I noticed there was a cabin for rent pretty far up CR 210 on the way to the Little Cochetopa TH. I called the owner told me the road was plowed about a mile past his place. He also went on to lecture me about how difficult a winter attempt on this peak would be, something about the Ouray wind cloud, and how experienced climbers took 10 hours to climb this route in summer. Challenge excepted. As it turns out, this route is not too difficult and pretty safe...definitely the way to climb it in winter. But it was still nice to have the extra motivation.

Slept at the plowed parking area at the road closure and got an early start so that I could get back in time for the Super Bowl. I was surprised to find a snowmobile track all the way to the Little Cochetopa Creek TH...about 3.5 miles from the closure. I still used shoes, but the track made for a smooth start to the day. From the TH, you just need to cross the creek and climb up the steep, north-facing hillside on your left to meet up with the ridge.

Sunrise and a cloud wave over the Sangres
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Looking back down at Little Cochetopa Creek
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Start at the ridge...as I broke out of the trees I immediately got hit with a strong right to left wind.
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Higher up on the ridge...summit starting to come into view. The wind was no joke. I stayed on the right side of the ridge so that when I got knocked to the ground, I would be pushed into the rocks and not off the mountain. Seriously...it was that strong. Sarah T told me about a similar experience she had on Ouray. So the hype is real...all fear the OURAY WIND CLOUD!!!
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Devil's Armchair...this part of the ridge has a few tricky sections that can be easily avoided on the right.
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Got to the summit around 9:30, took a few pics, built my B&B cairns, admired the view of the whole length of the Sangres, and got the hell out of there.
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Descent
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Crossing Little Cochetopa Creek
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Here's the hill you need to ascend to gain the ridge
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Thank you sledheads
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Looking back at Ouray and Pt. 13,472 from Hwy 50
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Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
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 Comments or Questions
Jay521

Hooray, Ouray!
02/08/2017 10:56
I loved Ouray but never thought of giving it a go in the winter. Very, very nice report.

--Guess you didn't like it all that much on your March attempt, eh?


gunnison_garrett14

Thank you!
02/09/2017 09:55
I have been wondering about Ouray in the winter!


Dad Mike

@Jay
02/09/2017 10:05
Could you tell I was frustrated? What gave it away?


Gene913

But what about . . .
02/09/2017 19:18
Great route and great pics, but were you glad you got back in time for the SB?


Dad Mike

@Gene
02/11/2017 09:57
If I had known how bad the first half was going to be, I would have climbed 13,472.



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