Elevation: 10,763 ft - 12,447 ft
Elevation Gain: 1,684 ft (net) 2,012 ft (cumulative including the bushwhack)
The view looking west from the unnamed 12,447 ft point. Buffalo Mountain is the large rounded mountain in the middle. My condo is on its slope.
I recently started out to hike Argentine Pass only to find out that Peru Creek Road was closed due to a rock slide. Since I was with a friend with a 4x4, we decided to drive up to the town of Saints John (see my winter outing) to see what it looked like in the summer. This turned out to be a superlative excursion above treeline on a lovely day without the threat of a single thunderstorm.
Looking down the valley. We normally snowshoe up the middle. That is Grays and Torreys in the distance.It is amazing how different the place looked in the summer. In winter, we snowshoe straight up the valley but in summer, willows dominate the drainage and you have to stick to the road. I should warn purists, that this outing was not a pure wilderness experience. We did encounter numerous 4x4s, but since we were hiking faster than they could drive, it was quite easy to get us and the dogs out of the way.
This is the slope I have laboriously snowshoed up in the winter. Those boulders were covered with 20 feet of snow.In winter, there is a small ridge to the right of the Wild Irishman Mine. This is the furthest up this trail I have ever gone. I had no idea that there was a road under all that snow that switch backed up the ridge. As we slowly ascended, we came to a vista point looking down upon the town of Saints John with Grays and Torreys in the distance. The perfectly symmetrical valley was a joy to photograph and I was feeling positively angelic for having gotten there with only quad power, particularly after several jeeps passed us with less than fit individuals at the wheel.
The valley vista. The symmetry was put there by a rational mind (geologic forces) just to please me.
Frosty Ball Thistles undoubted seeded there by some wayward alien species.
The road along the ridge, which is actually called Glacier Mountain, goes on seemingly forever, but we decided to make the General Teller Mine our terminus. This mine is a series of mostly collapsed buildings on the side of the ridge. Be sure to walk all the way to the bottom-most ruin for an expansive view of the Deer Creek Valley. I don't know what entranced me more, the secluded meadows below or the pastoral hills rolling off into the distance. Don't be fooled farms girls, this is not your mothers backyard. This bucolic scene contains Mountain Goats, which several 4x4ers reported seeing further up the road. Alas, we only saw tufts of fur on the road markers and in the duff.
Near the mine were two large cairns like gates on either side of the road. Note the plethora of Alpine Sunflowers.