Saturday, Aug 13, 2016
Red Cone & Radical Hill & Saints John trails

Sean from the jeep group listed a run to Red Cone with an exit on an un-determined trail. Red Cone has stellar above timberline views so I jumped. It was only the two of us. For a reasonable Saturday, we only encountered about six other vehicles through the day.

Hwy 285 had this nice (what looks to me to be) Thunderbird. It looks small sitting next to the modern sedan.

Heading west-northwest up Hall Valley road. We'll ride along the ridge and the far end of the valley - right to left after getting to the top of Radical Hill.

Sean, on the first obstacle of Red Cone, high centered on the old tree stump. I tried some rock stacking on the rear but no go. A side by side pulled up behind us and there was almost enough room for them so they watched and helped.

My first intention was to winch pull it off of the rock as that would be more gentle than via a strap. While I put my recovery bag into the jeep I failed to bring in the winch's control (note to self: get the in-cab control switch installed). As I had already turned around for the winch I debated turning around again (I'd have to anyway) for a stronger pull or just stay face to face so I could watch what was happening though being shy about breaking something in a reverse direction pull.

The first, somewhat gentle tug with the elastic snap strap produced a distinct BANG. I must have broken somet hing - but what...

While it's not nice to break stuff, I'm wholly content breaking this new (less than two trail miles of use) locking hub. It's not-too-costly and is easy to replace. I'd have, at worst, three wheel drive if I locked both the rear and front.

After the break I did turn around and pulled him off of the stump (his jeep was sitting on a slider and had no under-body damage) via a forward pull. It took four or five heafty pulls to get the job done.

I didn't go back for a pic but the side-by-side guy said we ended up taking off the top of the tree stump.

Let'n the side by side get rolling past us.

Nice looking day!
(I'm topless/doorless and there was some chance of rain)

Looking southeast towards Fairplay.

More clouds - and they are getting some dark bottoms.

Forward towards Red Cone


Up top
12,801 Feet

One of those places where an insurance rock to keep a tire from rolling was put to use.

Looking down the valley towards the small town of Montezuma. We'll pop out at the "left side" of town.

The first of three pitches coming down Red Cone. This is a one-way portion of the trail. The caution is to roll faster if you feel the rear end sliding sideways (any uncontrollable sideways action would result in a "very bad day"). With having, essentially, only rear wheel drive (unless I lock the front differential) I started out in gear but soon noticed the rear tires, which were the only retard to motion, sliding - and getting sideways. Brakes helped as that brought in the front tires - but still the rears wanted to sidestep. Putting the jeep into neutral and using only brakes proved the relaxing option.



Just past this curve will be pitch #2. It was rather moderate and of little concern.

Though it does get near the edge of the mountain.

How many feet down to the Webster Pass trail?
A bit of hold out snow.

Heading down pitch #3. This captured the most attention.

The Lev-O-Gage shows 16 or 17 degrees of slope.

A 16 degree slope looks to equate to a 28.7% grade.
If I recall, a "steep" highway (I-70 just west of Denver) is around 6 to 7% grade.

Over the hood and looking DOWN.

Sean with three bikes behind.

Talking with one bike rider who just came down said it's quite interesting to keep the rear on the ground while using the front to brake.

I do like this view - and take many photos of it.

Some clouds are getting dark - do I put on the small top or wing it?

Down from Red Cone we're heading over to Radical Hill.

And the dark bottom'd cloud let loose a decent snow pellet "storm". I was happy it was snow pellets as they bounced off of me where rain would have found me wet.

At the Radical Hill trail's mine cabin, looking towards Red Cone.

Sean watching others work up through the mine area of Radical Hill's trail.

I don't know if this happened at the tree-stump rock but Sean dented the "milk jug" / plastic end cap to the bumper and pinched closed the tailpipe.

Dark clouds moving away

No photo going through the mine site.The trail is narrow enough and at an off-camber angle where one would not wish to roll sideways down hill. Sean stayed more on-trail but with a greater lean. I kept due watch and stayed slightly to the outside on the built-up berm to have less lean (but closer to the edge).

Up top, watching others and enjoying the view. No sheep/goats around today.

click for a larger size

The white dots - snowfall.

I was up here a few years back and when I was, the trail at the left of this picture caught my eye. We didn't travel it that trip but will this. A good looking trail to check out.

(click for a larger size)

Getting closer!

At the intersection for it - Saints John Road.

Clouds in the distance show precipitation but they won't be a bother to us.

(click for a larger size)

12,000 feet up atop a mountain on a nice afternoon with a trail awaiting. Today's a good day.

Cool whisps from the clouds.

There are a couple dead end spurs and I told Sean - if anything looks good to you - take it!

I did bring a winter coat, hat and gloves. The coat was put on/off several times through the day.

Saints John Road had a couple fairly steep, though not as long as Red Cone, sections.

Lock the rear and front to get enough traction to get up.

The ski runs at Breckenridge.

Another jeep with people out looking at the broken down structures atop the mountain. I wonder what living up on the ridge was like with a winter storm whipping outside...

The white haze is snowfall. The white dots are snow flakes blowing up mountain with the breeze.


More snow haze

Working our way down. Multiple old mine sites. The entrances have been "collapsed" to keep people out.

To the left is the ?slag / tailings? pile and to the right, with the grass disrupted is the collapsed entrance.

A campsite with a view - right at timberline. No road, that I saw, to the site so it was a reasonable hike up to it.

Miner's cabin.
Outhouse downhill.

Down near Montezuma - an old mill in ruins.