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When Lightning Strikes • Following our colorado River • Walking along water

Trail & timberline The Colorado Mountain Club • Summer 2009 • Issue 1003 •

Wild & Scenic


The Cache La Poudre

Trail & Timberline


Celebrate the Mountains live blues by

Moj a m b u s

▲ Live Blues by Mojambus, great food, and happy hour ▲ Booths by top outdoor companies (i.e. free stuff!) ▲ American Mountaineering Museum tours ▲ Skills clinics and demonstrations ▲ Incredible silent auction** ▲ Indoor rock climbing

be r

$1 0/ / $1 5




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▲ Hiking, climbing, and trail work ▲ Father's Day Pancake Breakfast by the Kiwanis

Over $8,000 in auction items

The Colorado Mountain Club presents

Mountain Fest 2009 june 20 & 21 ** Silent Auction items from these great companies. Visit to view items or place your bid.

CamelBak Logo.eps

Revised Date:.6.18.06




CamelBak Corporate Logo

GOlden, colorado

american mountaineering center 2

Trail & Timberline

Letter from the CEO Conserving a precious resource


ou may have noticed that each issue of Trail & Timberline now has a central focus. What better theme than water for this summer’s issue? Much of the magazine celebrates our rivers, but we must not forget the shortage of water that plagues the West. This is everyone’s problem. At least 36 states anticipate water shortages by 2013. Colorado is among them, yet distinct with its winter snowpack and mountains being the origin of several major rivers. That water is already oversubscribed, and the demands continue to increase. I’d like to encourage you all to take some big steps

"My family always reduced or eliminated water-hogging lawns and replaced them with native plants. We installed drip irrigation. We caught and stored rainwater. I still remember my father making my brother and I use his bathwater when he was done. Gross? Not so much to a dirty kid." to conserve water, like changing your landscaping, growing appropriate plants and recycling grey water from your house. Certainly, there are plenty of little steps that can be taken as well: turning off the faucet when you brush your teeth or rinsing dishes prior to loading the dishwasher. I have a bucket under my shower head to catch the first few minutes of cold water for my plants. I’ve lived nearly all my life in Colorado or the even-drier Arizona. I still take water for granted—just turn on a faucet and out comes an endless supply. My family always reduced or eliminated water-hogging

lawns and replaced them with native plants. We installed drip irrigation. We caught and stored rainwater. I still remember my father making my brother and I use his bathwater when he was done. Gross? Not so much to a dirty kid. Water is one of our most precious natural resources. Please join me in reducing, reusing, and recycling our Earth’s water. On an entirely different note, I invite all of you to attend Mountain Fest on June 20th and 21st. The CMC is taking this traditional event and kicking it up a notch.

We will have a live blues band, vendors and clinics galore, hikes for kids and adults, an incredible silent auction, and much more. Bring friends, family, and friendly pets to this event and celebrate mountain-style.

Katie Blackett Chief Executive Officer

Trail & Timberline




22 The Way a River Went

30 The Grandest River

Find a friend in a river. We suggest a few hikes that will satisfy your need to stride through the backcountry—and give you a place to cool off when you're done.

It hasn't always been called the Colorado River. And, believe it or not, it hasn't always started in our state. But, the iconic Colorado River has been providing inspiration and commodity for a lifetime.

Story and photography by Chris Case EXTRA: What does it mean to be a wild and scenic river? We explore the National Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, the federal designation that helps protect our nation's most precious rivers. By Chris Case and Mely Whiting

By Ted Alvarez Photography by Chris Case EXTRA: Since 1922, Colorado has been at the center of western water law. By Glenn Patterson EXTRA: Contentious as it is, Glen Canyon's damming has given as well as taken away. Our archivist interviews CMC member Paul Stewart who worked on construction of the dam. By Woody Smith

Summer 2009 Trail & Timberline • Issue 1003 •


Trail & Timberline

Departments 01 Letter from the CEO 05 Inbox 06 On the Outside 10 Mission Accomplishments

Learn the latest from the Conservation and Education Departments, as well as the Museum.

16 From the Field

A long-distance trekker tests La Sportiva's entry into the light hiking world.

18 The Clinic


If you live in Colorado, you need to know about lightning.

22 Pathfinder

Need to cool off? Flow like water on these beautiful riverside hikes.

40 From the Archives

We've heard about the 1963 American Everest Expedition, but the triumph of American mountaineering may have come in 1958. By Gary Landeck

42 CMC Adventure Travel

Want to get away? Join classic CMC trips to Nepal, Vietnam, the Grand Canyon, and more.

On the Cover

The Cache La Poudre begins in sinuous curves near Milner Pass in Rocky Mountain National Park. Chris Case

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Editor’s Note

Trail & timberline

What's in the water?


Chris Case

’ve absorbed a few ideas about water thus far in life. I grew up hiking in the coastal reserves on the Atlantic Ocean in Connecticut, the abundant expanse of water overwhelming in its scope. For my Master’s dissertation, I analyzed and scrutinized a river with a famous name, the Colorado River. This one, however, flows from the rolling high plains of western Texas, through the metropolis of Austin and the paddies of rice country, to the estuarine waters of Matagorda Bay on the Gulf of Mexico. Like many rivers we know in our home state, this other Colorado River has many straws drawing upon it.

The official publication of the Colorado Mountain Club since 1918.

Editor, Director of Photo & Design Chris Case Assistant Editor Doug Skiba Advertising Sales Robin Commons

The Colorado Mountain Club 710 10th Street, Suite 200 Golden, Colorado 80401

The CMC is a 501 (c)(3) charitable organization.

Water is remarkably necessary. But I’ve learned that there are many definitions of necessary and—most strikingly— what is meant by the term conservation. Here in the West, the value of water is just as often measured in dollars as it is in delight. Here, the word conservation has meant, for many years, the use of water such that nary a drop is “wasted” by flowing by unused. You may have heard that a fight over water might be coming to a western state near you and, indeed, many parts of the world. If you are interested in learning about the breathtaking tragedy that can strike when communities invest their futures and fortunes on the prospect of rainfed irrigation channels, look down under. Australians of the Murray-Darling Basin are facing a great tragedy which can be read about in April’s National Geographic magazine. But then there’s the value of water measured by delight. I’d like to focus our attention on the wonders of water. So, while we’ll touch upon some of the concerns that face our state, our emphasis will remain on the pleasures of the quiet creeks, the roaring brooks, the cascades and rivers of Colorado that we should all try to cherish and protect.

Chris Case 4

Trail & Timberline The Colorado Mountain Club is organized to ▶ unite the energy, interest, and knowledge of the students, explorers, and lovers of the mountains of Colorado; ▶ collect and disseminate information regarding the Rocky Mountains on behalf of science, literature, art, and recreation; ▶ stimulate public interest in our mountain areas; ▶ encourage the preservation of forests, flowers, fauna, and natural scenery; and ▶ render readily accessible the alpine attractions of this region.

© 2009 Colorado Mountain Club

All Rights Reserved

Trail & Timberline (ISSN 0041-0756) is published quarterly by the Colorado Mountain Club located at 710 10th Street, Suite 200, Golden, Colorado 80401. Periodicals postage paid at Golden, Colorado, and additional offices. Subscriptions are $20 per year; single copies are $5. POSTMASTER: Please send address changes to Trail & Timberline, 710 10th Street, Suite 200, Golden, Colorado 80401. Advertisements in Trail & Timberline do not constitute an endorsement by the Colorado Mountain Club.

Please recycle this magazine. Printed on 10% post-consumer waste recycled paper.

Mark Silas

Inbox Outbox We want to hear from you. Send your letters to Trail & Timberline, Colorado Mountain Club, 710 10th Street, # 200, Golden, Colorado 80401 (attn: Letters to the Editor) or email us at Please include your name, mailing address, email address, and phone number. Published letters may be edited for length and clarity. Trail & Timberline makes it to the top. Member Steve Bonowski holds issue #1001 on the summit of Kilimanjaro (19,340 feet) during his recent CMC Adventure Travel trip.

New 10th Mountain Division Hut! Summer Rentals

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Continental Divide Cabin Situated adjacent to the Colorado Trail nestled in the forest ten miles north of Leadville, on Hwy 24 at Tennessee Pass. Enjoy abundant hiking and mountain biking on extensive nearby trails.

For a Nightly Rental go to or call 970-925-5775.


See CMC Press Order Form on Last Page Trail & Timberline



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On the Outside Finch Lake, Rocky Mountain National park Chris Case

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Put One in Your Pack and Go for a Hike

Join the Circle... By designating either the CMC or the CMC Foundation in your will, you can reduce estate taxes and make a meaningful gift to the club you love.

Help build a legacy. Join the 21st Century Circle today. Consult your attorney for bequest language, or call Doug Skiba at 303.996.2752 to join our planned giving circle. TO ORDER PACK GUIDES See CMC Press Order Form on Last Page


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For Members member benefits → Join us on over 3,000 annual trips, hikes and activities in the state’s premiere mountain-adventure organization. → Expand your knowledge and learn new skills with our schools, seminars, and events. → Support our award-winning Youth Education Program for mountain leadership. → Protect Colorado’s wild lands and backcountry recreation experiences. → Enjoy exclusive discounts to the American Mountaineering Museum and Base Camp gift shop. → Travel the world with your friends through CMC Adventure Travel. → Receive a 20% discount on all CMC Press purchases and start your next adventure today. → Browse over 60,000 items in the world’s largest mountaineering library.

opportunities to get more involved Monthly Giving

Join our select donors who give back to the club every month by using electronic funds transfer (EFT). It is easy and convenient, you can discontinue anytime, and you’ll provide support for critical programs. Sign up at

Gift and Estate Planning

By naming the Colorado Mountain Club in your will, you will be able to count yourself among the proud members of the 21st Century Circle. Read more at Please consult your financial advisor about gift language.

Volunteer Efforts

If you want to share your time and expertise, give back to the club by volunteering on a variety of projects, from trail restoration to stuffing envelopes. Visit for a complete listing.

Annual Report Available Online

We’re proud of the efficient way we use your donations. Download the PDF at and read all the details.

Shop and Search

Use and to raise money for the club when you designate CMC as your beneficiary.

Contact Us

If you have any questions about donations, please contact Doug Skiba, Development Director, at 303.996.2752 or Our Membership Services team can answer general questions every weekday at 303.279.3080, or by email at

The Colorado Mountain Club thanks the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District and its citizens for their continuing support.

The Colorado Mountain Club is a proud member of Community Shares of Colorado.

Trail & Timberline


Heath Mackay

Mission Accomplishments

Part of the Family

The CMC unites with the Backcountry Snowsports Alliance By Heath Mackay and Chuck Ogilby, BSA Board Members

From its beginnings in 1912, the CMC has been an advocate for the protection of access to and the preservation of Colorado’s mountain landscapes. In 1915, it played an instrumental role in the creation of Rocky Mountain National Park. The CMC recently decided to dedicate more resources to protecting Colorado’s nonmotorized winter experience. Thus, the union of the CMC and the Backcountry Snowsports Alliance (BSA)—the principal advocate for human-powered winter recreation in Colorado—comes at a fortuitous time. Collectively, a more robust CMC is poised to enhance advocacy for quiet, human powered backcountry recreation during all of Colorado’s seasons. Much has already been accomplished, including the creation of the Backcountry Snowsports Initiative, a new focus of the CMC Conservation Department that will help resolve winter conflict issues throughout the state. The CMC will utilize the resources and volunteers of the BSA to address local issues, as well as proactively advocate for non-motorized winter users in Forest Service Travel Management Plans while engaging the support of all CMC members. During the last 18 years, the board 10

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members of the BSA, its staff and volunteers worked tirelessly to ensure that Colorado had quiet areas in which to enjoy the winter landscape. The wheels were set in motion for a quiet winter advocacy group in the early 1990s, when snowmobiles were becoming more and more powerful, allowing riders to access terrain that was traditionally only visited by backcountry skiers and snowshoers. The epicenter for conflict between motorized and non-motorized users was Vail Pass, home to acres of moderate terrain that is easily accessible by snowmobilers and human-powered recreationists alike. Recognizing the need to better manage this popular area, the Forest Service assembled the Vail Pass Task Force, a diverse group of users of the greater area, to attempt to resolve the growing conflicts. In order to present a unified voice representing the winter non-motorized public, the BSA was formed. In the years to follow, dedicated and collaborative efforts by the BSA and CMC convinced the Forest Service to equally divide the Vail Pass area into motorized and non-motorized areas. The experiences on the pass led the BSA to broaden its scope and help address other conflict areas across the state. With the help of engaged locals, the BSA has since helped to develop better

land management plans, set aside land for quiet winter recreation, designate trails as “non-motorized,” and protect backcountry areas from ski area expansion. The BSA was not just an advocacy organization, but a community of backcountry enthusiasts as well. Through the years, the BSA volunteers and staff have hosted avalanche awareness clinics, hut-trip seminars, film festivals and the annual Backcountry Bash, which featured an amazing selection of silent and live auction items from our generous partners. Many, if not all, of these attributes will be retained now that the BSA is a part of the CMC.

Visit to learn more about the Backcountry Snowsports Initiative.

Black and white images courtesy of Panopticon Gallery; color image by Thomas Pollard

Of Men and Mountain Photography Exhibit of Bradford Washburn photographs opens in June By Jake Norton, Mountaineering Museum Director

Cruising well above the Earth, on my way to Mount Everest, I find myself ruminating on one man: Bradford Washburn. How many hours did this pioneer of aerial photography spend cruising above the Earth in search of beauty, perspective, form— the perfect image of the perfect mountain? For those who don’t know the name, Brad Washburn was born in Cambridge, Mass., and by the age of 19 had already climbed Mont Blanc, Monte Rosa, and the Matterhorn. His climbing led him to photography—for him a way to find new and better climbing routes, mainly in the mountains he so loved in Alaska. Beside me is a bag full of expensive gear—digital SLRs, lenses, compact flash cards. And I know that for all the sophistication of my gear, my images will fall flat in comparison to the wonders of Brad, whose

negatives (at least for the bulk of his career between 1937 and 1976) were as large as the piece of paper this is printed on. And, as you can imagine, a negative that size comes from an even bigger camera. Brad’s workhorse, a 50 lb. modified Fairch-

Nevertheless, his black-and-white images from Alaska, and earlier from the Alps, are moody, captivating, crystallizations of natural beauty—very simple in many ways. And so it is with great pleasure that the American Mountaineering Museum will exhibit many of Brad’s favorite images. They are part of a collection of images, on permanent loan to the American Alpine Club, which had been his personal stash, the go-to images when someone rang and asked for his work for an exhibit. Many are signed, and all are exquisite examples of what photography can be when a meticulous approach meets a magnificent eye. Now, if I can only capture one image like his of Everest.

Brad’s workhorse, a 50 lb. modified Fairchild K-6, sat on his lap as he leaned from the open door of a Bellanca Skyrocket. ild K-6, sat on his lap as he leaned from the open door of a Bellanca Skyrocket. Word is he had a chain coming from the other side of the fuselage to his harness. Safety first. He later took photographs from a Learjet whose rear emergency window had been modified with a three-quarter-inch optical glass photo-window. So maybe he did have some technological advances that I don’t.

The exhibit runs from June 8 - Oct. 26, 2009. For details, visit

Trail & Timberline


Chris Case (2)

YEP instructor Mike Zawaski guides A.j. up the climbing wall (Left). The anticipation of getting on the wall struck A.J. like any other first-time climber (Above).

Choosing to Trust

Introducing rock climbing to children with disabilities By Brenda Porter, CMC Education Director

Watching A.J. as he was guided high into the air, with harness and helmet strapped tight, was an intense experience for the crowd of classmates and volunteers. His squeals of joy and an unabashed smile— reactions not unlike that of most kids— couldn't be contained. Back on the ground, after reaching the top of the 30-foot climbing wall, the 13-year-old’s wide grin seemed to express great joy. Then, still happily squealing, A.J. was returned to his wheelchair. Alex Novotny—A.J. to his friends— was one of a group of first-time climbers from Everitt Middle School who lined up again and again to focus their minds and challenge their bodies as never before during a rock climbing class offered by CMC’s Youth Education Program (YEP). Because A.J. has multiple physical disabilities, he couldn’t describe in words how it felt for him to leave his wheelchair for a climbing harness and rope. He chose instead to trust in the YEP staff, volunteers, teachers, and schoolmates to help him reach a new goal. For him, the challenge was more mental than physical, and he wanted to try 12

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it as many times as possible during his trip. According to Sharon Devita, a paraprofessional teacher at Everitt, students who are wheelchair-bound often must watch their classmates from the sidelines during physical activities. She was one of several chaperones helping this class of students who came with a range of disabilities. They each needed special support to climb for the first time in their lives. “I had limited expectations before we came. Now, I am amazed at the possibilities climbing has for our kids to build trust and self-confidence,” she said. “Most of these kids have limited means, so this opportunity is even more important,” she said in reference to YEP’s scholarship opportunities. Stacy Wolff, CMC’s Youth Education Program Manager, often works with children who have special needs such as visual impairment, deafness, autism, and learning disabilities. However, no one with severe mobility disabilities had previously registered for a climbing course. Wolff said she was inspired to find a way for all of the teenagers to participate, especially A.J. and his friend Christopher who is also in a wheelchair. So, she recruited some help. Because neither student could coor-

dinate their arm and leg movements, YEP instructor Mike Zawaski used a mechanical pulley system to help them reach the top of the wall. A chest harness helped keep them upright and an encouraging instructor climbed alongside as a guide. YEP volunteer Jacob Cloud belayed while other classmates pulled the rope through the system. As with any good climbing expedition, the two teenagers experienced the thrill of personal achievement only through teamwork. And, perhaps even more importantly, they had the opportunity to participate with their peers. When the CMC’s founders wrote “Render readily accessible the alpine attractions of this region” as part of our mission in 1912, they probably couldn’t have imagined the future success of the Youth Education Program (YEP) in doing just that. Providing access to outdoor recreation skills, academics, and opportunities to 5,000 K-12 students each year, including people with disabilities, is another way to complete our mission. YEP is currently exploring a partnership with Special Olympics Colorado to provide climbing activities to more youth with special needs throughout our state. Contact YEP if you are interested in supporting this new initiative, or visit

Keeping Colorado Wild

Congress passes historic land protection bill Jim Riddell

By Bryan Martin, CMC Assistant Director of Conservation

CMC Collection

Sun strikes the red rock walls of Dominguez Canyon (above), one of the nation's newly-designated wilderness areas. The Big Thompson River flows through Estes Park in 1916, the year after the establishment of Rocky Mountain National Park (below).

Rocky Mt. National Park Denver Grand Junction Delta Dominguez Escalante National Conservation Area

On March 30th, the United States Congress made history with the passage of the Omnibus Public Lands Management Act, protecting over two million acres of wild lands throughout the nation. Here at home, the act protects two iconic landscapes: Dominguez Canyon and Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP), which the Colorado Mountain Club has been working to protect for many years with a myriad of partners. In 1915, the CMC was instrumental in the formation of RMNP (read more about this in the upcoming issue #1004 of T&T). Almost a century later, a new generation of CMC members has been instrumental in its passage as Wilderness. The act protects the park’s backcountry areas from future development, allowing future generations the same recreational opportunities and experiences we enjoy today. CMC staff and members joined Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, Senators Mark Udall and Michael Bennett, Congresswoman Betsy Markey, and ex-Senator Wayne Allard on April 9 in Estes Park to celebrate. The act also establishes the 210,000-acre Dominguez Escalante National Conservation Area, just south of Grand Junction. At its center is the Dominguez Canyon Wilderness Area—a magnificent 60,000-acre red rock landscape carved by the Big and Little Dominguez Creeks and bounded by the Gunnison River. A hiker’s paradise, the area is known for its herds of desert bighorn and ancient rock art. For years, CMC’s Western Slope Group has been leading trips in and caring for this magical place. Not to be overlooked, the legislation also establishes the South Park and San Luis Valley National Heritage Areas, creates an authority for willing landowners to sell property to assist in the completion of National Scenic Trails such as the Continental Divide Trail, and directs the Forest Service to study how best to protect the Front Range mountain backdrop. The measure passed with bipartisan support in both the House and Senate. To learn more about these and other Wilderness areas, visit

Trail & Timberline


Get Out, Help Out John Wallack

Giving back through trail stewardship

Mount Eva (13,310 Ft.) in the James Peak Wilderness Area.

Saturday June 6

National Trails Day - Participate with thousands of people across the country as we give back to the trails we love. National Trails Day is now a permanent fixture on the calendars of trail clubs, businesses, and government agencies nationwide.

The Colorado Mountain Club is proud to be leading over 20 volunteer stewardship projects this summer and fall. Volunteering on Colorado’s public lands and natural areas will help you experience your state like never before. It is more than a way to give back and preserve Colorado: The work is great fun, as well as an opportunity to meet great people, build camaraderie, and visit new landscapes. Our projects vary in scope and location; everyone should be able to find a project that interests them. A number of projects have hiking days scheduled before or after work is completed so you can plan a weekend adventure. Join us on a volunteer stewardship project. For more information on our program, becoming a project leader, or scheduling a project for your company, please visit or call us at (303) 996-2759.

▶ Greyrock Mountain – Connect with the CMC’s Fort Collins Group for an easygoing day of light trail maintenance near the majestic Cache La Poudre River. Enjoy beautiful views in almost every direction. ▶ Maxwell Falls – Join CMC for some light trail maintenance and trash clean up in an area that CMC’s climbing schools use often. Maxwell Falls is an easy to reach hiking loop and climbing area between Evergreen and Conifer.

Saturday June 13

Lost Creek Wilderness I

The Kenosha Range and the Lost Creek Wilderness are seldom explored areas just south of Bailey. Here we will assist the US Forest Service (USFS) in opening a trail to the public by clearing brush, removing downed trees, and bolstering boggy sections.

Sunday June 14

Section 16 Trail

The Pikes Peak Group has adopted this popular hiking and mountain biking trail which connects Bear Creek and Red Rock Open Spaces with the Pike National Forest. We’ll clean out water bars and do some light rock work. Refreshments will be served.

Saturday June 20

Mts. Lincoln, Bross, and Democrat

Come over to the Mosquito Range to help with the trail repair, restoration, and sign installation needed to assure this summer’s conditional opening of public access to the private land on these peaks, which lie in the heart of Colorado’s historic mining belt.

Saturday, June 27

Lost Creek Wilderness II

See June 13 (Phase II of this project).

Saturday July 11

Golden Gate Canyon State Park I

Only 30 miles from Denver, Golden Gate Canyon is truly one of the Front Range’s best kept secrets. Beautiful views of the Continental Divide, wonderful meadows and wildflowers await participants on this light trail maintenance day.

Saturday July 11

Waldo Canyon Trail

Just west of Colorado Springs, Waldo Canyon is a popular 7-mile loop with amazing views of the Pikes Peak massif. The trail is heavily traveled and is in need of caregivers to ensure it remains in good condition.

Saturday July 18

Herman Gulch

We will maintain the Continental Divide Trail near Herman Lake. The CDT travels through the Bard Creek Roadless Area as it leaves I-70 and reconnects with the physical divide. We anticipate this to be one of the most picturesque projects of the year as we work near the lake under the shadow of Pettingell Peak.

Saturday July 25

James Peak Wilderness I

James Peak and the South Boulder Creek Trail are popular hiking and skiing areas for CMC members and the public. We will work with the USFS to repair stream crossings and improve drainage structures to keep water off the trail and prevent erosion.

Saturday August 1

Hassell Lake

Hassell Lake is just off US 40 near the Big Bend Picnic Area. It is a beautiful high altitude lake with views of Jones Pass, the continental divide, and Vasquez Peak. The trail is eroding badly so we will work with the USFS to armor the trail and put subtle rock steps in where necessary.

Saturday August 8

Barber Fork Trail

Just south of Idaho Springs you will find this easy-to-access loop hike. We will meet at the Forest Service office in Idaho Springs and work with USFS employees to address some light trail maintenance needs.


Trail & Timberline

Friday-Sunday August 14-16

Wilson Peak

Since 2006, the Colorado Mountain Club has been working with our partners— the Telluride Mountain Club, San Miguel County and the USFS —to restore access to one of southwest Colorado's most popular fourteeners, Wilson Peak (14,017 ft.). With a new route in place and access secured, please join us on our first project to finalize the route and place signage along the trail. A summit attempt is also planned for the weekend.

Saturday August 15

Colorado State Forest

Connect with the CMC’s Fort Collins Group to help maintain a popular hiking trail near Cameron Pass. Enjoy beautiful views of North Park and the Mount Zirkel Wilderness to the west.

Saturday August 22

Buffalo Cabin Trail (Dillon Ranger District)

Join the CMC and the Friends of the Dillon Ranger District to improve drainage structures on the trail that leads to Buffalo Mountain, one of Summit County's most distinguishing landmarks on the south side of the Eagles Nest Wilderness Area. This forested trail promises to be a shady spot to work.

Saturday, August 29

James Peak Wilderness II

See July 25 (Phase II of this project).

Saturday-Sunday August 29-30

Cedar Mountain

This remote mountain rises 1,000 feet above the Yampa River Valley and provides incredible 360-degree panoramas from the summit. Help out on the trail for a day and take advantage of the area’s abundant outdoor opportunities throughout the weekend. One work day and one hiking day are scheduled.

Saturday, September 12

Golden Gate Canyon State Park II

See July 11 (Phase II of this project).

Saturday September 12

Fraser River Trail

Join members of the CMC’s fly fishing section and Colorado Trout Unlimited for a fun-filled day maintaining the Fraser River Trail and opening the river to more fly fishing access.

Saturday September 19

Denver Mountain Parks

Join the Denver Group for a project easily accessible from the Front Range. Aspens will have begun turning and the weather is always beautiful this time of year in the foothills. Help maintain one of Colorado's historic mountain parks.

Saturday September 19

Greyrock Mountain

Join the CMC’s Fort Collins Group for an easygoing day of light trail maintenance near the majestic Cache la Poudre River. Enjoy beautiful views in almost every direction.

Saturday September 26

Saturday October 3

Saturday October 17

National Public Lands Day is the nation’s largest hands-on volunteer effort to improve and enhance the public lands that Americans enjoy. In 2008, 120,000 volunteers built trails and bridges, removed trash and invasive plants, and planted over 1.6 million trees. Join the CMC for this 16th annual event. We have three project locations scheduled in 2009.

▶ Wolford Mountain, Kremmling − Help the town of Kremmling and the BLM construct a new hiking and mountain biking trail on Wolford Mountain. Enjoy breathtaking views of the Gore Range and the headwaters of the Colorado River. ▶ Eldorado Canyon State Park, Boulder − This year's volunteer projects will include: 1) trail restoration and stair work on the Eldorado Canyon Trail, 2) weed management in the inner canyon, and 3) trail corridor maintenance. Volunteers will be able to rotate between projects or stay with one project throughout the day. Lunch will be served, along with copious helpings of gratitude from park visitors and employees. ▶ Camel Back Wilderness Study Area, Montrose (tentative) − Just west of Montrose, Roubideau Creek cuts a magnificent canyon down from the Uncompaghre Plateau. Here we will maintain the Dry Creek Trail that rises from the floor of the canyon to the top of the plateau.

Chatfield State Park

Join the Denver Group’s last project of the season at nearby Chatfield State Park. Volunteers will help with trail restoration, sign installation, and improvements to the drainage of existing trails.

Beaver Creek Wilderness Study Area

Come out for a beautiful fall day among pinyon juniper stands and colorful collections of Gambel Oak. We’ll be working with the BLM to trim overgrown sections of the Beaver Creek Loop and Trail Gulch. This trip is co-sponsored by the Pikes Peak and El Pueblo Groups.

The Colorado Mountain Club would like to thank the following agencies for working with us to preserve and maintain Colorado's beautiful backcountry.

Trail & Timberline



Softer Trailon insert for cushion

TPU shank for torsional stability

Men’s: 38 - 47.5 (half sizes) • Women’s: 36 - 43 (half sizes)

Overall these shoes are great for day hiking, but still offer enough cushioning and support for most lightweight backpacking trips. If you’re like me and like a lightweight shoe, the FC 1.1 should work very comfortably for all but the heaviest packers or those needing the ankle support of boots.


Trail & Timberline


#589 Men’s Beige/Yellow • #590 Women’s Grey/White

Vibram® River with Impact Brake System™

Dual-density Trailon/ TPU shank


Board Lasted

Trango 2 • W’s: Women’s Trango 2

Roughout Leather/ Flex-Tec/ Synthetic Leather/ Mesh

Men’s: 17.28 oz / 490 g • Women’s: 14.04 oz / 398 g

Soft EVA sidewall fo facilitate easier flex.

9 Dual-density well cushioned midsole gives a running shoe feel 9 Breathable abrasion resistant upper offers excellent durability and comfort on the trail 9 Gusseted tongue keeps trail debris on the trail and out of the shoe

Soft anatomically sculpted ankle cuff to deliver all-day comfort.

FC 1.1

The shoes provided stable arch support and my feet felt secure and stayed in place during on-trail hikes. The Vibram tread offered good traction even on a wet wooden footbridge, and the ventilation worked well with my notoriously perspiring feet. The shoes were described by my co-workers as “hot,” but the style is pretty conservative in my mind and the yellow highlights aren’t bright enough to disturb wildlife.

Send More. Spend Less.

Dual-density Trailon midsole delivers a running shoe feel on the trail.

The La Sportiva FC 1.1s are marketed as “trekking” shoes and performed well on several hikes in a mix of terrain and conditions. While a little heavier overall and a bit bulkier in the toe box than my usual hiking shoes, I did like that my feet didn’t end up wet after post holing through some wet spring snow. The FC 1.1 is rugged, with leather trim on the uppers, and well-built for extended wear.


TPU shank for correct flex and torsional rigidity.

Perforated Flex-Tec combined with a highly breathable mesh for a well-ventilated upper.

Shoes might be the most personal piece of gear there is. So, I’ll start with a brief qualification. I almost always wear very lightweight trail runners for hiking and backpacking. On the AT, I burned through four pairs of such shoes, the last three being Inov-8 Roclites. I usually consider weight over most other factors when deciding on new gear. Though Gore-Tex and other waterproof materials have many great applications, I prefer shoes that breathe well and dry quickly.

A great-fitting, lightweight, breathable multi-use light hiking shoe with Flex Control technology FEATURES


#589 Men’s Beige/Yellow • #590 Women’s Grey/White

TPU shank for torsional stability

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A great-fitting, lightweight, breathable multi-use light hiking shoe with Flex Control technology In 2006, Josh Shusko thru-hiked the Appalachian FEATURES Trail over the course of five and a half months. 9 Dual-density well cushioned midsole gives a running shoe feel He9 Breathable moved abrasion to Colorado shortly after summiting resistant upper offers excellent durability and comfort on the trail tongue keeps trailtrail’ debris on the trail and out of the shoe 9 Gusseted Mount Katahdin—the s northern terminus— and has been getting out as much as possible to WEIGHT Men’s: 17.28 oz / 490 g • Women’s: 14.04 oz / 398 g explore Colorado’ s vast public lands by foot. He UPPER Roughout Leather/ Flex-Tec/ Synthetic Leather/ Mesh serves as the Communications for Trango 2 • W’s: Women’sCoordinator Trango 2 LAST Board Lasted theCONSTRUCTION Continental Divide Trail Alliance.

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m o Fr

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Photo: Sarah Claire Burkhardt

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The Clinic

© Parsons

When Thunder Roars Go Indoors


he phenomenon of lightning has a storied past: The Navajos credit the creation of the Grand Canyon to their Thunderbird, symbolic of lightning; Romans killed by a strike were considered disfavored and were denied burial rituals; Greeks held that any spot struck by lightning, itself a manifestation of gods, was sacred. Since Roman times, when many emperors wore laurel wreaths or sealskin to ward off lightning strikes, we’ve learned a thing or two about lightning. Still, as superstitions have subsided, myths persist. [See our Fact-Fiction guide. – Eds.] Unfortunately, people die each year from lightning, including four in Colorado in 2008. A spark can reach over 5 miles in length, soar to temperatures near 50,000 degrees Celsius, and contain 100 million electrical volts. You shouldn’t play with fire like this. So, what should you do? Experts are now recommending the “30-30 rule.” If you see lightning and count fewer than 30 seconds before you hear thunder, you should be seeking shelter—you’re already in danger. Don’t resume your climb for at least 30 minutes after the last lightning is seen and the last thunder heard. And, we’ve probably all heard some variation of the flash-to-bang-method: To calculate your distance from lightning, take the number of seconds between the “flash” and “bang” of thunder and divide by five to find the number of miles. But, due to miscalculations or forgetfulness, this method is less safe than the 30-second rule. For additional information, visit 18

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Bigger mistakes can happen, and sometimes they lead to grave results. Such was the case last year on a CMC climb on Lookout Mountain in Golden. What’s it like to be struck by lightning—and survive? What can we learn from what went wrong that day in June? CMC member Brooke Bagwell was struck by lightning and survived. After tying in to climb, things turned very bad in a literal flash.

An interview, in two parts. Set the stage for us. What do you remember from the time of the strike? I remember looking down, retying my knot. There was a flash out of the corner of my eye, a sensation in a split second. I tried to push the rope away, and felt this heat just wash over me. [An investigation of the incident revealed that the lightning had struck rock 40 or 50 feet above Brooke, and had traveled down her rope, through her harness, and into her body. – Eds.] There was an element of pain, but I don’t remember it well because I was numb from the waist down immediately. I felt like I was thrown to the ground. Then, I remember hearing someone say “Rock, rock!” I realized I couldn’t turn over, I tried to move but couldn’t. People were telling me to take my harness off, but then I realized I couldn’t do that or move…

Mary Ann Cooper, a leading expert on lightning injuries and director of the Lightning Injury Research Program in Chicago, says that you should immediately call an ambulance if a lightning strike causes cardiac arrest, a major fracture or spinal cord injury, the person becomes unstable (for any of a number of reasons), or their mental status changes, including confusion or decreased competence. – Eds.

What injuries did you sustain? It took us five minutes to get my harness off. For about seven minutes I couldn’t move my right leg. It was 25 minutes before we had climbed to the top. I could move at that point, but things were heavy and I wasn’t very coordinated. I opened my car and sat inside, stunned, for 10 or 15 minutes. I was still numb down to my calves, but I realized I could move enough to drive. I started driving home to Boulder, and it sort of hit me as I was driving home: I need to get some advice! I called 911 and went to the hospital under their recommendation. I had a carabiner flash-over burn on my back. There was evidence that muscle had been damaged internally. Long-term, I have had some trouble with “storm apprehension,” which is like PostTraumatic Stress Disorder. I also felt guilty because I think that I knew better. I am an outdoor enthusiast, but I was just throwing caution to the wind, saying “Sure I’ll do it.” I felt selfish afterwards. I felt like I had endangered others because they then needed to help me. I felt badly about the way that things transpired that day, but I didn’t want to be blaming anyone; you have to be accountable to yourself.

Also on the climb that day was CMC member Mark Schumacher. He was beside Brooke when she was hit.

Why didn’t you seek immediate medical attention? There’s something in me that’s really determined. I want to be one of those tough women, and it’s exciting to me when I accomplish something. I was embarrassed when I was struck and couldn’t move. I was relying on others, putting them in danger. I was frustrated that I had gotten myself and others into that. I just wanted to shrug it off, say, “This is so stupid.” I had climbed back up the ravine, but I also didn’t have enough education to know what that amount of electricity could do, I didn’t know a hit below the waist could affect all the other systems. And, most importantly, I was in shock. It only hit me when I was driving. I had wanted to get away from it all.

Has anything positive come from this event? It’s made me more determined to learn as much as possible [about the weather] and enjoy the outdoors. It has made me want to be really wise and surround myself with educated people. I now appreciate and have great respect for nature and the fact that there’s so much we can’t control.

What lessons did you learn from the circumstances that day? The old adage applies here: “If you don’t like the weather, wait ten minutes…” This was typical summer weather, the vast majority of the time it was overcast, but at no time did we feel we were in danger. But, when climbing, your view of the skyline can be severely, if not completely, missing. The clouds rolled in at an angle that we did not have a good perspective on. A better understanding of weather, in that situation, would have helped. Now, every time I go outdoors, I scope out potential shelters, constantly looking for places to go to that are readily accessible for shelter. I typically allow for more time if I’m hiking along and there’s no viable shelter around…if I see dark clouds, I’m wary, I have situational awareness. If there is no safe place for shelter, your action plan has to be implemented even sooner. Also, I taught CPR lessons for the American Red Cross, and it’s amazing to learn that the general public has this unfounded optimism about CPR. People are shocked at how ineffective CPR can be and it in no way guarantees safety or survival after a lightning strike. Automated external defibrillators are much more effective. Has anything positive come from this event? I am reminded of the importance of my previous experience in CPR, first aid, and safety training. The training allows you to get past the emotion of the event. Things returns to being a habit. Safety classes can be fun for groups to attend and they save lives. You spend the majority of your life with people you know and love, so chances are you’ll have the chance to save their life before you can save the life of a stranger. Trail & Timberline


If only money flowed like water... Maintaining our programs requires a steady stream of donations. Start donating year-round through our electronic funds transfer (EFT) program today. The first 25 new donors to sign up before June 30th will receive books, tickets to Mountain Fest, and a chance to win a hydration pack from CamelBak valued at $125.

To be eligible, you must donate at least $10 per month and remain enrolled for one year. Only new EFT donors qualify. Your tax-deduction will be reduced by the total value of prizes if you choose to accept them.


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Lightning: Know fact from Fiction



▲ No place outside is safe near thunderstorms.

▼ Lightning never strikes the same place twice.

▲ It is better to be proactive rather than reactive with lightning avoidance. This means knowing the weather patterns of a region, as well as the daily forecast, and descending before thunderstorms roll in, typically in the early afternoon.

▼ Lightning injuries are always fatal.

▲ Outdoor sports have the fastest rising lightning casualty rate. ▲ The top activities and places for lightning casualties in the U.S. are: 1) open fields and elevated locations, 2) under trees or other tall isolated objects (because lightning that has hit an object may "splash" onto a nearby victim), and 3) water-related activities. ▲ Open shelters and tents offer absolutely no protection from lightning.

▼ Burns are the cause of death from lightning injuries. ▼ Metal (on the body or not) attracts lightning. ▼ Lightning does not strike outside of rainstorms. ▼ If you can see blue sky, lightning danger is minimal. ▼ Rubber tires, shoes, raincoats, or sitting on a backpack protect a person from lightning. ▼ Cellular phones attract lightning. ▼ Lightning victims remain electrified and dangerous to touch.

▲ If, after all the proactive options for safety have been ignored, the lightning “safety” crouch may be the only option, but probably makes little difference in risk. This consists of crouching as low as possible (without laying flat), while keeping two feet on the ground.

▼ Lightning victims are easier to resuscitate than other cardiac arrest victims.

▲ Ninety percent of lightning-strike victims survive, but often with disability.

▼ It is safe to seek shelter under a tree.

▼ If there are no outward signs of lightning injury, the damage cannot be serious.

▼ Tall objects provide a 45-degree cone of protection. Information gathered from "Lightning Injuries" by Mary Ann Cooper, Christopher Andrews, and Ronald Holle in Wilderness Medicine, Auerbach, Mosby. 5th ed. 2007.

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Story and photography by Chris Case 22

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the way a river went Great hikes along beautiful rivers

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There’s something about hiking beside a river—

that sense of companionship that builds as you meander along. Though it may occasionally stray from your side, or you from its, it rarely goes out of earshot. I find that both calming and fascinating, like strolling through the woods with a newfound friend. All that’s left to do is amble and get to know one another better. Trail & Timberline


As I stand at the Continental Divide near Poudre Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park, I find myself pondering the paths that rivers take. Here, at this tranquil spot near Sheep Rock, a rift exists. All water to the west will join the trickling headwaters of the famed Colorado River, headed towards the Sea of Cortez nearly 1,500 miles to the southwest. I imagine what this water will pass, scenery and squalor alike. Likewise, all water flowing from Poudre Lake will join another splendid watercourse, headed for the Gulf of Mexico via the South Platte River. This is the Cache La Poudre River (pronounced by locals as the “kash luh poo-der”). The name of the river means "hiding place of the powder” in French. It refers to an incident in the fall of 1836, when a wagon train of French fur trappers became snowbound on the bank of the river while trying to make their way into southern Wyoming. The wagons were stuck for over a week until a portion of the supplies, including several hundred pounds of gunpowder, was carefully buried in a large pit, enabling the wagons to ford the river and continue into Wyoming. Setting off from Poudre Lake along the Poudre River Trail, bound for the Big South trailhead, makes for an easy 3-day backpacking trip with your newfound friend. Near its headwaters, the Poudre is a simple, quiet stream coursing back and forth through the tall grasses of a shallow valley. It will make you want to stroll, stopping every few minutes to notice the gorgeously colored lichens and mosses, patterns in the wispy grass, and the gently cascading waters of trickling side streams. Eventually, strength comes from quantity, and the Poudre begins to roil amongst the rocks of its bed, churning as it bends to the will of the landscape. First, Chapin Creek comes in from the south, and as you continue along more creeks contribute from the slopes of Desolation Peaks and Flatiron 26

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"It is pleasant to have been to a place the way a river went."

- Henry David Thoreau

Mountain. At the confluence of the Poudre and Hague Creek, you’ll find a place to bed down for the night. The second day can be a relatively short distance of 5 miles. But the day will be long on views—you’ve entered the most tumultuous section of the river. Keep your ears tuned to crescendos and hisses—this is the river telling you that great volumes of water are charging through inadequate spaces. Darting off trail will often bring you to the river’s edge and gorgeous falls where water ceaselessly courses. The shorter second day will also allow time for the fording of the Poudre near Peterson Lake. If you’ve never forded a river, this can be a daunting endeavor while in the wilderness. The first touch of water as it works its way inside your boots will send a chill up your back. But, at least you’ll be alert. Once you’ve made the crossing, you’ll be happy to find a rock, change your socks, and gaze around at the incredible piece of wilderness you’ve found yourself in. This is where you’ll call home tonight. By the final day of this river walk, you should know your friend well. There will be some meandering, some up and down, but the Poudre will always be near. Gentle cascades are followed by open pools; open pools followed by wider, mellower meadows of water. Though you probably won’t want to part, you can take comfort in the fact

that the river you’ve just had the pleasure of meeting will remain the same—protected from any type of degradation—for generations to come, by the power of Congress, as a Wild and Scenic River.

OUT YOU GO Cache La Poudre River, Rocky Mountain National Park and Comanche Peak Wilderness Start Poudre River Trail, RMNP Mileage Day 1: 8.7 miles; Day 2: 5 miles; Day 3: 7 miles Don’t forget ▶Trekking poles, both for fording the river, and keeping balance among the slippery rocks of the river should you choose to closely explore the riparian zone where river meets shore. ▶ A dry bag, for keeping your new down sleeping bag from getting a bit heavy (and useless) if it goes in the river during crossing. When to go Because of the need to ford the river, it is safest to wait until late summer to make the trip. By August, the flow rate is only 30 percent of mid-June’s peak-flow. Best post-trip refreshment You have at least two great choices in Fort Collins: a tour and sampling of New Belgium beers at this windpowered micro-brewery (www.newbelgium. com), or a fine meal and a hearty stout at Coopersmith’s ( More Info

Doug Skiba (3)

Get Lost By Doug Skiba

With a mix of narrow, fast-flowing water, pools that boil with brook trout, and a disappearing act that makes Copperfield look amateur, Lost Creek is a Colorado river not to be missed. Located within the Lost Creek Wilderness Area only 60 miles from Denver, it has a surprisingly remote character. The 120,000 protected acres through which it flows—only accessible on foot or horseback—stretch from near Kenosha Pass in the northwest to the 10,594-foot Pilot Peak in the southeast. While there are numerous entry points to hike the 102 miles of trails within the wilderness boundary, a favorite is Goose Creek Trailhead near Deckers. Start with a short but steep downhill walk into Hankins Gulch until meeting Goose Creek; then cruise

uphill through forest and meadow. Here, the effects of the 2002 Hayman Fire will be obvious, but it won’t spoil the rock-spire and amber-water scenery. After 3.5 miles of moderate hiking, one can make a base camp from which to explore, or continue deeper to where Goose Creek dumps into Lost Creek. Easily done as a two- or three-night trip with a return along the same trail, an alternative for the hardcore backpacker is a much longer traverse (partly on the Colorado Trail) from this trailhead all the way to Kenosha Pass. Passing steep granite slabs along the way, you’ll want a notebook to record how many times Lost Creek burbles below the rocks only to pop out a short distance away.

OUT YOU GO Lost Creek Wilderness, Pike National Forest Start Goose Creek Trailhead Turnaround At trail junction to shaft house site Mileage 3.5 miles, one-way Elevation change 8,750 feet max; 762 feet gained Best burger and beer Bucksnort Saloon in Pine on the way back to Denver Tips ▶ Don’t forget your fly rod and a few dry attractor patterns. The fish start biting best after all the day-hikers head back to their cars, so stay late or spend the night. ▶ Explore the famed shaft house area near the Goose Creek-Lost Creek junction to see interesting old equipment used for a failed underground-dam experiment. Map Trails Illustrated, #105, Tarryall Mts., Kenosha Pass More Info

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© Armstrong

Threading the Needle

C. R. Savage collection at the L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Brigham Young University

In 1965, with the construction of Blue Mesa Dam, the largest body of water in Colorado was created from the roaring Gunnison River. Blue Mesa Reservoir, along with Morrow Point and Crystal reservoirs, is now surrounded by the protected lands of Curecanti National Recreation Area and its distinct landscape. With seven unique trails scattered about the shores of this diverse ecosystem, the Curecanti offers days of hiking opportunities. Archeological findings indicate that the Curecanti area has been inhabited for at least 10,000 years. Remains of ancient structures called wickiups, found in the area, date back 4,500 years. Utes of historic times migrated here because of the abundance of wildlife in the dry hills and river valleys, and for the vegetation found in the canyons and on the mesas. Just the things that now make the area a great place to linger. When Captain John W. Gunnison and his Pacific Railroad party surveyed the area in 1853, they were blown away by the scenery: “the roughest, most hilly and most cut up" land he had ever seen, wrote Gunnison. Yet, this was not the land he could recommend for a rail line. Still, by 1882, a narrow gauge railroad transported ore, coal, cattle and other goods through the Curecanti area. Two trails lead from the north rim of the Upper Black Canyon of the Gunnison to the Morrow Point Reservoir far below. Curecanti Creek Trail follows the creek as it falls all the way to the reservoir. Once to the water’s edge, you’ll be greeted by the towering Curecanti Needle, a 700-foot-tall granite spire. Hermit’s Rest Trail winds its way through oak, pine, juniper, and fir, descending to a wooded camp and picnic sites on the shores of the reservoir. Though, here, the Gunnison is no longer the same river it used to be—“a stream imbedded in [a] narrow and sinuous canyon, resembling a huge snake in motion,” as Gunnison described it—the cool waters at the bottom of your hike, with views of the San Juan Mountains to the south and steep black walls looming beside, are still a sight to behold.

OUT YOU GO Curecanti Creek Trail, Curecanti National Recreation Area Start Pioneer Point overlook, off Highway 92, 5.7 miles from its junction with Highway 50. Mileage 2 miles, one-way Elevation change 900 feet Tip Pets are permitted on all trails, but must be leashed. Did you know? The name Curecanti comes from a Ute Indian sub-chief who roamed through eastern and southern Colorado from the 1860s to 1870s. Extra Credit The Hermit’s Rest Trail also leads you to Morrow Point Reservoir. Start off Highway 92, 17 miles west from its junction with Highway 50. Hike 3 miles, one-way, down a leg-burning 1,800 feet to the green-blue waters. More Info

Curecanti Needle, circa 1884.


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Keeping it Wild (and Scenic)

By Chris Case with Mely Whiting, Counsel for the Colorado Water Project of Trout Unlimited Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, October 2, 1968 It is hereby declared to be the policy of the United States that certain selected rivers of the Nation which, with their immediate environments, possess outstandingly remarkable scenic, recreational, geologic, fish and wildlife, historic, cultural, or other similar values, shall be preserved in free-flowing condition, and that they and their immediate environments shall be protected for the benefit and enjoyment of present and future generations. The Congress declares that the established national policy of dam and other construction at appropriate sections of the rivers of the United States needs to be complemented by a policy that would preserve other selected rivers or sections thereof in their free-flowing condition to protect the water quality of such rivers and to fulfill other vital national conservation purposes.


hat does it mean to be wild? Such an abstract concept would seem hard to define, but in this world of labels and laws it should come as no surprise that there is a government definition for what makes a river wild: Those rivers or sections of rivers free of impoundments and generally inaccessible except by trail, with watersheds or shorelines essentially primitive and waters unpolluted. These represent vestiges of primitive America. Most of us likely have a more visceral definition of the term, one whose spirit is not spoiled by the letter of the law. Still, we have law to thank for such places as the upper waters of the Cache La Poudre River, the first 76 miles of which have been designated as a Wild and Scenic River since 1986. The National Wild and Scenic Rivers Act (WSRA) is one of the strongest tools available to preserve America’s exceptional rivers and their corridors. WSRA was born in 1968 after three decades of increased dam building and water development projects. Now, a designated river enjoys protection from hydropower projects (either on or directly affecting the designated stream), and from water projects and activities on federal land that would adversely affect the stream’s values. Perhaps most controversial in Colorado, the WSRA also reserves federal water rights to preserve free flows.

WSRA protection

It takes real power to protect rivers under WSRA. Streams may only be included in the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System by act of Congress or, by the Secretary of the Interior after petition by a state. Before that happens, though, there is a three-step designation process. Federal land management agencies—the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the Forest Service, for example—are required, as part of their land management review process, to evaluate streams within their region for potential designation. And both have policies that require them to protect the stream’s values once they determine that a stream is “eligible” for inclusion, so as to preserve Congress’ ability to designate. To be eligible, a stream (or segment) must be free-flowing and possess one or more “outstandingly remarkable values” (commonly referred to as ORVs). These are the things that make streams special, that make you want to visit them, and make them unique to a region: scenery, fish and wildlife, recreational, geological, and cultural or historic values. Once eligible, the stream moves onto the suitability stage, involving policy decisions on need for protection, competing uses, and public support. A “suitable” stream can then be recommended for designation by Congress.


Future Designation in Colorado

The need for Congressional approval and fears (whether real or not) surrounding the creation of water rights makes WSRA a difficult tool to use in Colorado. While dozens of Colorado streams have been deemed eligible, only a segment of the Cache La Poudre River has been designated under the Act—in a process that took many years to finalize. Still, the BLM and Forest Service are actively evaluating the suitability of streams for protection in the Colorado, North Platte, Yampa, Dolores, San Juan and Gunnison basins. The sprouting of stakeholder efforts throughout these basins offers some hope for additional designations or, at a minimum, the development of river management plans that offer similar protections. For more information, visit

TO ORDER, see CMC Press Order Form on Last Page

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Trail & Timberline

The Grandest River By Ted Alvarez Photography by Chris Case

Rafting Image courtesy of the Colorado River Outfitters Association

Ever wondered where the storied

Colorado River—the one

that spurs heated battles in at least five thirsty states each year—begins? Well,

it doesn’t start in Colorado, technically. The water

that carved the Grand Canyon from the multicolored sandstone of Arizona, the river that man tamed with dams to fill the largest two reservoirs in the country—Lake Mead and Lake Powell—

is, believe it or not, mostly born outside of snowmelt from the Rocky Mountain state. A full 70 percent of the river’s water that

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floods and feeds the deserts of the southwest, only to limp its way to the Gulf of California, begins in the glaciers of the Wind River Range in Wyoming. It flows from the Winds as the Green River, where it meets what we know as the Colorado River just beyond the Utah border. Most hydrologists agree: The true origin of the Colorado lies in its confluence with the Green. In fact, for most of its history, the Colorado River wasn't even called the Colorado River—it was the Grand. Flowing out from the snowfields on the western slopes of

Congress to rename the Grand River the Colorado. Over the protestations of Utah, Wyoming, and the U.S. Geological Survey, he succeeded, and the river forever became wedded to its namesake state. Nowadays, even textbooks fly in the face of scientific consensus to identify the headwaters of the Colorado as La Poudre Pass Lake, at 9,010 feet in Rocky Mountain National Park. Nevermind facts—thanks to Taylor, etymological justice has been served. But following the Colorado within our state, one could form a different impression

yon. Finally, it nurses the peach orchards and grape vines of the Grand Valley before cutting a gash into the slabby Western desert that will dominate the remainder of its journey to the Pacific. Yes, to follow the Colorado in Colorado, you might get the impression that the water-obsessed Taylor had it all wrong. "The Grand River" was the perfect name.


Since Taylor fought so hard to bring the Grand to Colorado through a simple renaming campaign, you might imagine he found inspiration from its majestic beginning. But, instead of stemming from an alpine lake or spilling from a crystal blue glacier, the headwaters start with a trickle. "La Poudre Pass [Lake] is what a lot of the literature says, but it's just a boggy area up on the continental divide," says Sam Crane, an interpretive ranger and high school science teacher from Granby. "When you go to the end of any stream up on the west side, you get kind of a big bog. All of the bog rivulets feed the stream. You can easily jump across them by late summer, but by the time it gets 10 miles west of here, you can fairly call it a river." Crane teaches honors science classes in chemistry, earth science, and astronomy, but for the past 22 years, when the school year ends, he spends nearly every day in the park near the river's edge, leading nature hikes, stargazing tours, and fly fishing classes. This last activity dominates a large portion of Crane's free time, too: While he's quick to note the "beautiful" stretch of paddling available through Gore Canyon, mention fly fishing and soon he'll launch into a rhapsodic memory of a particular hatch The shimmering waters of the Colorado River snake through a placid portion of the often in scientific detail. His account of the violent Gore Canyon. mid- to late-May salmon fly hatch is Rocky Mountain National Park, it lent its about the merit of the name change—this enough to make even non-anglers want to name to Grand Lake, Grand Junction, and is a grand river. First, you'd see it course rush out and buy a pair of waders. pretty much any "grand" you can think of in west through the high alpine valleys of the the state. Kawuneechee Valley into Grand Lake, and ◀ Hike to the headwaters of the If the idea of a Colorado River divorced then down the short, steep rapids of Gore Colorado River. Follow La Poudre from our state seems like an injustice to Canyon. Then you'd float into the quiet Pass Trail towards La Poudre Pass you, you weren't the first to feel that way. In flatwater and scrubby mountains near its Lake on the west side of Rocky 1921, after years of campaigning, Glenwood confluence with the Eagle. After that, the Mountain National Park. Visit Springs’ U.S. Representative Edward Tay- river builds steam and shadows Interstate-70 for trail info. lor moved forward with plans to convince through the steep walls of Glenwood Can32

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"It's pretty much the most incredible experience—the fish get totally stupid," he says. "It was like a scene from Jaws: Cast a fly out and you could see these huge fish coming up from the depths, and, with no hesitation whatsoever, take the fly out of the water and dive back down. It doesn't get any better than that." When not conquering epic hatches, Crane is content to hike up to the feeder streams of the Colorado, where he can avoid crowds and cast about for plentiful brook trout. But unlike many anglers, he isn't afraid to share favorite spots, and he can't help but put on his teacher's cap by enthusiastically sharing interesting tidbits. (One of his favorites, Tonahutu Creek, means 'big meadow' in a Native American language.) "You can still get away from the crowds and fish," he says. "If you're willing to park at the normal places and hike 15-20 minutes, you can get away from 90 percent of the people. I went to [Tonahutu] one summer just for fun, and I fished maybe an hourand-a-half, two hours, and caught dozens of little brookies. It was all catch-and-release, but it was pure fun." Even more than the gold-medal trout fishing, though, Crane treasures this portion of the Colorado for one thing above all—its purity. Here in the park, the river exists as it always has, fed by the snows and without diversion for human use. In the upper reaches of the headwaters, the river is as close to being unchanged as it ever will be for the rest of its length. "Up here, it's probably as pristine as it gets on the Colorado anymore—there's no development, and literally within a few miles beyond the park it runs into its first reservoir," he says. "You see the river before people take out what they want from it. Living at the headwaters is just awesome, because you see the changes over the course of the year; five or six feet of snow over top [of the river] melts in springtime into huge flow. To see [the Colorado] in all the seasons is what I love about it." "I just hope it stays that way, that's all."

The Central Waters After spilling from the Rockies, the Colorado River fills Grand Lake, the largest natural body of water in the state, and then bows to the needs of Front-Range cities by filling the Shadow Mountain Lake and Lake Granby reservoirs. Huge portions of the Colorado never make it further west; instead, the river defies nature and crosses the wrong way un-

▶ Hike Gore Canyon along the Colorado River. Follow the Gore Canyon Trail from the BLM's Pumphouse Recreation Area, found along CR-1 near Kremmling. der the Continental Divide via tunnel, eventually joining the South Platte to help fuel agriculture and industry. But even this first of many diversions can't completely tame the Colorado: After having so much drained from it, huge volumes of the river still tear through Gore

As the owner of rafting company Adventure Bound, he's run almost every piece of water the Colorado has to offer, and as a past chair of the Colorado River Outfitters Association, he's served as its voice, too. "I was simply amazed as a young man to see that volume of water going by in the Colorado," Kleinschnitz says. "I've seen the river bank-to-bank, totally full, and when it's going, that thing really flies." Gore Canyon's 3-mile length and roughly 300-foot elevation drop give rise to the intensity of the canyon; large boulders dislodged during the construction of a nearby railroad make it even worse. When the

"Up here, it's probably as pristine as it gets on the Colorado... I just hope it stays that way, that's all." Canyon, arguably the burliest stretch of whitewater in the state. The site of the U.S. Whitewater Championships in 2005, the dark, thousand-foot-high walls of the canyon house Class-V rapids with names like Pyrite and Tunnel Falls. In late August and early September, when the river "calms down" to 1200 cubic feet per second (cfs) from a fatal 2,000, it serves as a Valhalla for advanced and expert paddlers. "Gore Canyon can have the solid, biggest runnable whitewater there is in the state," says Tom Kleinschnitz, a whitewater veteran with over 30 years on the Colorado.

river hits peak flow in the Gore, the rapids welcome only those with a death wish. But just after this raucous stretch, the Colorado mellows out for nearly the next 100 miles, attracting folks of a similar tranquil disposition. While there are a few mild rapids, the Colorado mostly meanders gently through the scrub and dusty mountains north of I-70, calling forth families and laidback sorts who just want to kick back on the easy flatwater. Scott Stoughton catered to those people when he ran State Bridge Lodge and Resort, an isolated but venerated retreat located on Trail & Timberline


the banks of the Colorado north of Eagle. Stoughton brought live music and entertainment to the banks of the river, creating a place where people joined together to dance, sing, swim, paddle, and eventually fall asleep next to the Colorado in cabins and tents. When State Bridge burned down in 2007, Stoughton lost more than his livelihood: He lost his home of 15 years along the Colorado. "I camped, stayed in a cabin, I even lived in a teepee next to the river," he says. "I've definitely fallen in love with that stretch. I've been to beautiful spots all over the world, and ending up in a spot like that is magic. It's never the same—the Colorado is always giving you a fresh perspective." Stoughton, a successful musician himself, often sat on the banks next to a fire outside his teepee, where song ideas often "sparked from the peacefulness and beauty" of this mystical stretch. It is a magic and

On paper, the river doesn't do much here; it wanders slowly to a confluence with the Eagle River at the flyspeck town of Dotsero just before pouring down the much sexier Glenwood Canyon. But the lucky few who visit here know this serene spot could be the best. "I've definitely heard from people from around the country and the world: They'll tell me about the time they had the best time in their life right here on the Colorado," he says. "There's nothing like it in the world. Not even close."

Border-Bound To watch the Colorado pour into Glenwood Canyon from the road paired with it, I-70, one could be forgiven for temporarily forgetting the river. As the stream disappears from view below, Glenwood's crumbling-castle cliffs and black-and-tan ramparts soar upwards. Shadowed side canyons beckon drivers to steer off

"Water doesn't follow gravity, it follows money—that's what we're up against. Our friends on the east are growing and getting thirsty, and all of us who run on the west are in danger. We need to work on showing the public how important we are. At the same time, we need to look beyond the recreation and understand how important they are." spirituality that he feels lingers from the Utes and Shoshone tribes who once traveled here. Despite this otherworldly pull, this area often gets overlooked by adventure seekers. "I think it's just far enough out of the way to keep it off the radar— you don't get all the adrenaline junkies," he says. "It's mellow enough to even bring a guitar or drums. I once went out with eight or nine people on a super hot, beautiful day; we brought cold beer, and a guitar. We were jamming while going through the rapids, screaming and dancing." 34

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the road. But deep below beats the teal-blue recreational heart of the Colorado River. Here is where most Coloradans experience the Colorado River, either by choosing from a wide range of rafting opportunities or simply watching it pass through Glenwood Springs to join Aspen's frothy Roaring Fork. Kleinschnitz has spent most of his career guiding visitors of all abilities up and down this section of the Colorado. "Glenwood is the most popular stretch—it has the greatest opportunities for families," Kleinschnitz says. "But at the same

time, many people come to get out there on the edge and find out what it's like. First-time perfection might be an easy float trip, but getting out in a solid Class IV will keep them addicted for years. The Glenwood stretch has both, and everything in between." Since beginning river-running in 1971, Kleinschnitz has taken risks with the river, but he's also learned to respect the power it possesses on the Glenwood stretch. "You do get that adrenaline rush, and wonder if it's always gonna work out," he says. "I've put some things on edge, and it could've gone either way. Being arrogant and thinking you've got it made is not good. I take it seriously at every turn. It's a very alive piece of water… You can never be complacent." But even here, the Colorado slows down in spots, affording those-in-the-know quiet respite from the adventure seekers who crowd the upper stretches of the canyon. "Battlement Mesa is rarely floated, and it's a nice quiet place," Kleinschnitz says. "It's almost like walking up and down a beach in other parts of the country." The cities on this stretch—Glenwood Springs, Grand Junction, Fruita—didn't always take care of the River. But they learned the value of having the Colorado in their backyard. "In many of these communities, along the river is where they used to put the junkyards," he says. "About 25 years ago, many people started seeing the Colorado as an asset. It became worth it to have extensive cleanups, and revitalize [the river with] bike paths, boat ramps, places for people to recreate." From Glenwood Canyon, the Colorado cuts its way across mesa country, joins the Gunnison, and flows inexorably towards Utah. Here, it grows to its widest—in some places wider than 1,000 feet. Sawing into the landscape, it begins to foreshadow the sandstone canyons that define its desert personality. Ruby and Horsethief Canyons stretch out red and yellow on either side, beckoning with enticing side hikes and plentiful camping near red-sand beaches. And for all his adrenaline-infused riverrunning in Glenwood Canyon, it's here that Kleinschnitz feels closest to the river. "The place where I find river peace is at the bottom of the Colorado," Kleinschnitz says. "You float sideways, look at big sandstone walls, and find peace floating on a river. It's there that I find I'm most enjoying where I am, and being at peace with a very special place."

The Changing Colorado Men might not be able to move mountains, exactly. But we can change rivers, and humans have drastically changed the Colorado. We're still changing it, in fact, by diverting its water for human consumption, and on a broader scale, through climate change. Those who live near its banks might not claim to know the causes, but they've seen the metamorphosis. "I watch snowpack hard; I try to understand the plumbing system of the Colorado," Kleinschnitz says. "It seems like things are getting more extreme. Drier periods seem drier than normal, and when it's high, it's higher than normal. Our peaks and valleys seem to be extending themselves." Crane won't claim to know the causes, but he sees the same changes up high in the headwaters. "I've seen the snowpack disappearing faster," he says. "You see lower flows later in the summer. I don't know if there's any real data to support it, it just seems like the snow's gone sooner." Climate change or not, human demands pose the most urgent problem for the Colorado. Current projections show the state growing 66 percent by 2035, for an addition of nearly 3 million people. The vast majority will live on the Front Range, and they'll need to drink. "Water doesn't follow gravity, it follows money—that's what we're up against," Kleinschnitz says. "Our friends on the east are growing and getting thirsty, and all of us who run on the west are in danger. We need to work on showing the public how important we are. At the same time, we need to look beyond the recreation and understand how important they are." Residents in counties surrounding the Colorado might seem to have the most interest in protecting the river, but it’s everyone’s problem: Two-thirds of the state get their water directly from the Colorado, and those who don’t will feel the crunch as soon as the Colorado fails to support the majority. That’s

The Colorado's headwaters may start as a trickle, but less than 10 miles from its source the river becomes a roiling jewel that twists and weaves its way through the forests and meadows of Rocky Mountain National Park's western flank. happening sooner than anyone predicted— the Colorado probably can’t deliver more than half the water needed over the next 25 years. And if serving the needs of people seems a near-impossibility, saving the plants, animals, and ecosystems that relied on the Colorado before us feels like an afterthought. But if you despair for the fate of the Colorado, don't—it isn't too late. The river needs voices, and anyone can join the chorus. Concerned citizens can even tailor their advocacy to their particular interests. Trout Unlimited, for instance, operates several chapters in Colorado for fishermen interested in protecting the cold-water fisheries that serve as breeding grounds for threatened native species like the Colorado River cutthroat trout. Highly trained scientists with organizations like the Colorado Water Institute and even the National Park Service spend thousands of man-hours and millions of dollars looking for solutions. Even amidst the bleakest predictions, Coloradans can cooperate to achieve the occasional breakthrough. In early May, Grand County, Denver Water, and the Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District struck a groundbreaking treaty. They will now work to balance water demands for the

Front Range with recreational and environmental flow needs on the river in the Western Slope. The settlement even included provisions to protect endangered fish species far downstream near Grand Junction. This sort of comprehensive, statewide management of the Colorado River could keep it safe well into the future, but it thrives on community involvement and an active citizenry. "We haven't settled the west and established what we'll look like in 100 or 200 years," Kleinschnitz says. "Many world rivers have gone away. We have an opportunity to keep the Colorado River in place. I hope future generations keep that intact." ▲ Ted Alvarez is Assistant Online Editor at Backpacker Magazine.

◀ Follow the balance between recreation and consumption at: and Trail & Timberline


Colorado’s Rivers and the Law

By Glenn G. Patterson Research Associate, Colorado State University

Perhaps you’ve heard Mark Twain’s reflection that “Whiskey’s for drinkin’ and water’s for fightin’ over” or his maxim “Water runs uphill toward money.” Maybe you’ve studied Latin and know that our word rival comes from the Latin expression that means “people who draw water from the same stream.” These anecdotes hint at the intrigue held by a topic that rightly occupies entire careers of some of Colorado’s brightest legal minds. The story of our state’s water laws reads like a good novel, with historic intrigue, arms-totting farmers, legal cunning, the righteous and the underdog. Without the Hollywood budget of Chinatown or the grand arc of Cadillac Desert, one can still travel a path as meandering and compelling as the Cache La Poudre as we analyze our rivers and their laws.

First in Time, First in Right One summer day in 1874 two groups of farmers, many carrying arms, met amid growing tension at the Eaton schoolhouse near Windsor. They had all been trying to coax a meager living from the dry soils of the Colorado plains by irrigating their fields with water diverted from the Cache La Poudre River. One group was from the Union Colony in Greeley, which had been diverting water since 1870. The other was from the new town of Fort Collins, which began diverting water from the same river, farther upstream, but in 1873. Stream flow was below normal that summer, and they all realized that there was not enough water to satisfy all of the water users, as was the 36

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custom according to the riparian doctrine of the humid East. This doctrine holds that all owners of land next to a stream have an equal right to water from that stream, and in times of shortage they all suffer equally. This was not the East. The Fort Collins contingent argued that the water should go to those with the greatest need. The Greeley men, led by Nathan Meeker, argued that since their diversion was first in time, it was therefore first in right. A return of normal stream flows gave a temporary postponement of the inevitable decision point, but the seed of the prior appropriation doctrine had taken root. This doctrine holds that the first person to divert water from its natural course and put it to ben-

eficial use has the most “senior right” to use that water. By 1878, when future Governor Ben Eaton of Fort Collins started building an even larger diversion canal, it was clear that rules were needed. Late that year, a statewide irrigation convention led by men from Greeley formulated the prior appropriation policy that has been the cornerstone of water law not only in Colorado, but also in most of the west, ever since. At the time of its writing, the policy was applied to recognized “beneficial uses,” of which there were far fewer than today: mining, agriculture, and domestic or public supply. Still, the right was not to be wasted. Of course, that remains the case, though over the years the list of beneficial uses has expanded to include fire and dust suppression, stock watering, commercial and industrial use, storage for flood control, power generation, reclamation of mined lands, and snow making. And so the rivers have filled with straws, some sucking, some poised; some senior, many junior.

Share and Share Alike Colorado is a headwaters state. The rivers that flow from Colorado bring water to 18 other states and Mexico, most of whom had started diverting water before Coloradans had. By the rules of prior ap-

propriation, they might have been able to claim nearly all of Colorado’s precious resource. A young attorney from Greeley named Delph Carpenter, who grew up on an irrigated farm, came up with a different idea for allocating water between states and saved Colorado millions—in water. His idea was based on the Compacts clause of the Constitution. This clause enables states to enter into negotiated compacts if the compact is approved by Congress with the resulting compact having the force of both state and federal law. In 1922, Carpenter saw the need to instigate water compact negotiations between Colorado and several neighboring states. Water was considered a utilitarian resource to be efficiently used for human prosperity at that time. There was a growing faith and excitement in the capacity for large engineering projects to enable humans to control the destiny of rivers, instead of the other way around. By 1901, farmers in California’s Imperial Valley had already begun diverting Colorado River water into their valley via Mexico; next they wanted an “All-American Canal” from the river. In 1913, the growing city of Los Angeles had already tapped the Owens River to supply water to the Los Angeles Aqueduct. By the early 1920s it was clear that the city would soon outgrow even that supply, and might need to tap the Colorado. Under these circumstances, seven commissioners—one from each state in the Colorado Basin—sat down in January 1922 with Secretary of Commerce Herbert Hoover to divide up the waters of the river. Nearly all the participants were motivated to negotiate a compact. The Upper Basin states (Utah, Wyoming, and Colorado) wanted to secure a compact before a large flood—or continued rapid population growth in California, or a literal application of the prior appropriation doctrine—might convince Congress to pass legislation too favorable for California’s interests. California wanted both water and power, as well as the AllAmerican Canal, and knew that the Upper Basin states, which controlled key Congressional committees, would not support their proposals (which included a large dam on the Colorado) without a compact. But most of the states were also reluctant to limit their claims for water, and the negotiations stalled. Delph Carpenter managed to keep them at the table by proposing a relatively simple solution: a fifty-fifty split between the Upper and Lower Basins,

with the dividing point at Lee’s Ferry in than that amount. But how accurate was northern Arizona. the original calculation of river flow? Were But how much water was there to be those 17 special years telling of the rest of divided? Perhaps thinking optimistically, the century? Unfortunately, no. The actual because of their enthusiasm for a compact average annual flow of the Colorado at and for a large dam on the river, the Bu- Lee’s Ferry over the last one hundred years reau of Reclamation chose one of the wet- has turned out to be about 15.2 MAF. So, test 17-year periods in the Basin’s history, the reserve is essentially non-existent, and 1905 to 1922, on which to base the flow in most years the 1.5 MAF that was awardcalculations. Using flow records from the ed to Mexico by a treaty in 1948 must be only available stream gauge, at Yuma, they subtracted equally from the Upper and came up with an estimate of 16.5 million Lower Basin states. acre-feet (MAF) per year for the average flow at Lee’s Ferry (an astonishing number Water, Water, Everywhere? when you consider that one acre-foot is What began as a quest by a Denver-eduapproximately 325,851 gallons of water). cated Greeley lawyer, has—after eight com Carpenter, therefore, proposed 7.5 pacts, two international treaties, and two MAF per year, on average, for each half of “equitable apportionment decrees” that the Basin. The extra 1.5 MAF that was pre- govern the allocation of Colorado’s water sumed to be available was to be a reserve with neighboring states and Mexico—blosthat could eventually be dedicated to the somed into behavior-modifying doctrines Lower Basin, or a treaty that might be con- with regional repercussions. It is fair to say cluded with Mexico, or some other needs. that the water still ripples from the Com The Commissioners agreed on the pact of 1922. Now, about 10 MAF of the Compact in November 1922, but only five 16 MAF that flows in Colorado’s rivers in of the seven states they represented ini- an average year must be delivered to our tially favored ratification. California wanted downstream neighbors—a lot, to be sure, assurance for the dam project and the ca- but without the efforts of Delph Carpenter, nal, which it finally got in 1928 with Con- it could have been even higher. And Cologressional passage of the Boulder Canyon rado might have been left a lot drier. Project Act (which also contained Congressional approval of the Compact and which resulted in the Hoover Dam). With this carrot, California was willing to agree that its share would never exceed 4.4 MAF per year. Arizona fought the Compact for 22 years, even going as far as mobilizing the National Guard for six months to deter California’s new diversion for Los Angeles. Finally, in 1944 the promise of federal funding for the Central Arizona Project finally convinced Arizona to sign. In a fairly amicable negotiation in 1948, the Upper Basin States divided up their share, with Colorado getting 51.75 percent of the Upper Basin’s 7.5 MAF per year. TO ORDER Colorado water users are See CMC Press Order Form on Last Page currently diverting less


Trail & Timberline


Something Gained,

Something Lost


By Woody Smith

or many westerners, the most painful chapter of the modern Colorado River was written in Glen Canyon, on the Utah-Arizona border. While the loss of the canyon may feel like a fresh wound, the first charges of dynamite were set off over 50 years ago on Sept. 15, 1956. Thus began a seven-year countdown to doom for the little known Glen and its side canyons—soon to be drowned under Lake Powell. It also ignited the now-standard controversy over what was gained and what was lost. One of the few people able to give us a first-hand perspective of the canyon, before and after its damming, is Paul Stewart, 89, a former Trail & Timberline editor (1977-79) and member of the CMC since 1954. In January 1960, Stewart, a civil engineer with the Bureau of Reclamation, began working as a construction inspector on the Glen Canyon Dam. “Not long after I got there, I learned the Colorado Mountain Club was having a boat trip through Glen Canyon, and I thought


Trail & Timberline

Photographs by Paul Stewart

that it would be a wonderful time to see it, before it was…full of water,” Stewart says. At the end of that April, Stewart loaded his backpack and, for about $25, chartered a single-engine plane from Page, Ariz., to the trip’s starting point at Hite, Utah, which then consisted of a “few buildings.” He was met at the river’s edge by guide Smuss Allen and four CMC members from Denver. Among them was club legend Carl Blaurock, 67 years old at the time. With little fanfare—except the ribbing Smuss received over his name from a rival party—the CMC group pushed out into the river. The float trip was punctuated by day hikes up various side canyons of note, including Hole-in-the-Rock, through which an 1880 party of Mormons blasted and chipped a path to the river, answering a mission call to colonize the southeastern section of the Utah territory. The group also made the now-extinct 6-mile hike from the river to Rainbow Bridge, which included mandatory wading of shallow sandstone pools. Along the way, the party also enjoyed cactus flowers, petroglyphs, and watched Carl Blaurock—one of the first two men to climb all of Colorado’s fourteeners— crawling along the sand for effect. Not satisfied with hiking to Rainbow Bridge, the party also climbed to the top. “The only way to climb the bridge, without doing a lot of technical stuff, was to get up on that hump of rock…and then either rappel or climb down some hand holds that have been carved into the rock, to the shoulder of the bridge and walk out to the top of the bridge. And everybody on this trip were amateurs except for Carl and I, so Carl set up a rappel for the people to use, and I belayed them down.” Upon returning to Page, it was back to work for Stewart. As part of his quality control inspections, Stewart took photos of the construction and

was fortunate enough to catch some rare moments in its progress. Among them was the brief interlude between final excavation of the site and the pouring of its concrete base.

“Right here is the very foundation of the dam, and one of the abutments,” he said as we viewed his old Kodachromes. “The dark, damp area down there is the very bottom of the dam, about a hundred feet below the level of the Colorado River when it was flowing here. The Colorado River, of course, was diverted through a huge tunnel to take it around this dam site.” According to Stewart, pumps were run continuously to keep the site from flooding. “And finally on June 4, 1960…They got 12 cubic yards of concrete in a bucket, got her all ready” and with “much talking and speeches, and so on,” the pouring began.

As the dam grew higher, the penstocks— huge tunnels through which the river flows— were built into the structure. Each of the eight penstocks was 10 feet in diameter, and each went to a water wheel and generator. “The dam was divided into blocks. You can’t pour a huge, massive dam 1,200 feet long, continuously…It would just break up…” There were upwards of 34 blocks, divided into downstream and upstream sections, with forms rising seven and a half feet high. This went on five days a week, 24 hours a day. “Sometimes the conditions were demanding.” Every four weeks inspectors were moved from day to swing to night shifts. “It

was no fun to work graveyard in the middle of January if the weather was bad.” Stewart worked on the dam project for a year and a half, then spent as much time keeping records of the construction of the project’s transmission lines. With regard to Lake Powell, his feelings are mixed. “I don’t know…the lake was a compromise. …It’s done some harm and it’s done some good.” Despite the ambiguity Stewart feels for the fate of Glen Canyon, he clearly takes pride in his work on the dam. “It was an interesting job. I didn’t have much to do with deciding whether to build or not, but I helped get it built.”


N FALL 2008, the Colorado Mountain Club published a guidebook that was riddled with typos and 70 years out of date, at a time when online competition has put the future of even the most current printed guidebooks in question. And it charged $185 per copy. “‘It sounds crazy,’ Alan Stark, the club’s publisher, said recently as he cracked open a new, hardbound copy of the guide. ‘Obviously, this is not a typical guidebook. It’s a collector’s piece. People will buy it not to use it, but to have it.’ “The book is called The San Juan Mountaineers’ Climber’s Guide to Southwestern Colorado. It was first published in 1933—hand-typed and hard-bound in less than a half-dozen copies. It was the first modern guidebook in Colorado, and with its maps, photos, and route descriptions, it set the template for the hundreds that have followed. “Climbers have passed around photocopied and stapled versions for The San Juan Mountaineers’ generations, making it an almost mythic book. The club reproduced it Climber’s Guide to Southwestern Colorado exactly, down to the crossed-out letters and handwritten notes in the margins of the typed pages. L I M I T E D E D I T I O N AVAILABLE EXCLUSIVELY FROM THE COLORADO MOUNTAIN CLUB PRESS “In one sense, the Guide to Southwestern Colorado is a history book. ORDERS: 303-996-2743 In another, it is still a living guidebook.” —Dave Philipps, The Gazette, Colorado Springs

Trail & Timberline


From the Archives Lost and Found

The First Ascent of Hidden Peak

By Gary Landeck, Director, American Alpine Club Library

Pete Schoening, courtesy of Nick Clinch

Ask anyone the significance of the date July 5, 1958, and you’ll undoubtedly get a blank stare. History is cluttered with too many dates to remember. But for mountaineers, this day marks an American triumph. The anniversary, approaching its 51st edition, marks the first ascent of Gasherbrum I, the 11th highest peak in the world and one of only 14 peaks that stands taller than 8,000 meters. In an era of nationalistic impetus, victory went to the United States, the only 8,000-meter peak to have been first summited by an American team.

Andy Kauffman stands atop Gasherbrum I in 1958. Wind and sun have clearly taken a toll on Kauffman's skin. asherbrum I (also known as Hidden G Peak) is certainly one of the lesserknown 8,000-meter peaks. It stands on the

border between Pakistan and China in the Karakoram Range at a height of 26,470 feet. Eleven of the world’s 8,000-meter peaks had been climbed by 1958, including the two most famous, Mount Everest and K2. Nearly all of those expeditions had had tremendous support from their respective countries and governments, but the Gasherbrum expedition, which would become known as the 1958 American Karakoram Expedition, was almost entirely organized and funded by the band of eight men who made up the team. Only the American Alpine Club offered any formal sponsorship. Ironically, it was this lack of support that 40

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so influenced the future of mountaineering. While previous Himalayan expeditions had large teams, immense quantities of gear, and heavy porter support, this expedition was small by comparison, with limited resources. That one of the world’s highest peaks could be climbed in such a way started a movement toward the “fast and light” style of alpine climbing that is still prevalent among elite climbers today. And that was employed in 1975, when Reinhold Messner and Peter Habeler became the second team to summit Hidden Peak. Drastic improvements in gear and climbing technique (not to mention the superb physical abilities of the pair) allowed the two-person team to climb from base camp to the summit in just three days, far

less than the full month it had taken the 1958 team. Upon learning about this feat, 1958 expedition leader Nick Clinch responded with his characteristic sense of humor, “I had the vague wish that they had picked some other mountain upon which to demonstrate their prowess.” At least one piece of equipment still exists from the triumph in 1958—an ice axe owned by Andy Kauffman, who along with Pete Schoening, was the only member of the eight-man team to actually summit Hidden Peak. That axe is currently on display in the American Alpine Club Library. Correspondence, photographs, and ephemera from the expedition, as well as many others throughout Kaufmann’s life, can also be found in the library’s Andrew John Kauffman II Collection.

It PAYS to be a member! ▶ 50% off admission at the American Mountaineering Museum

▶ 33% off admission to Mountain Fest (

▶ 25% off titles from The Mountaineers Books ▶ 20% at Base Camp, the CMC's adventure gift shop

▶ 10% at Neptune Mountaineering, Boulder

▶ 10% at Wilderness Exchange Unlimited, Denver

▶ 10% at Bent Gate and Golden Bike Shop, Golden

Not a member? Visit

Looking for something to do?

Your Adventure starts at the American Mountaineering Museum

New Exhibit June 8 - Oct. 26

Bradford Washburn Collection

Come experience the late Bradford Washburn's unparalleled mountain photography at our newest exhibit. The photographs were once part of Brad's personal collection and represented some of his favorites.

sPEAKer Series

First Wednesday of each month 5:30 reception / 7:00 program Jack Reed – author of Rocks Above The Clouds (mountain geology) Chris Davenport – Ski Mountaineering Dave Cooper – author of Colorado Snow Climbs

Thirsty3rdThursdays Third Thursday of each month 5:30

$1 admission – Come hang out at the museum for a night of drinks and music! Trail & Timberline


CMC Adventure Travel For your benefit and enjoyment, the following trips have been reviewed and approved by the Adventure Travel Committee and are officially sanctioned by the Colorado Mountain Club. Visit for more detailed itineraries and registration forms.

American Basin Area Hiking Week 1: July 5 - 11, 2009 Week 2: July 12 - 18, 2009 $338/week

gust 16. For more information contact leader Bea Slingsby, 303-422-3728, or

Annapurna Sanctuary Trek

This year we will offer two weeks of this popular base-camping trip in the San Juan Mountains, near American Basin at the site of The Colorado Trail Foundation cabin. The cabin is used to prepare all three daily meals in this scenic setting near the Alpine Scenic Byway over Engineer and Cinnamon Passes. Different hikes will be offered during the week of camping. Climbs of the area fourteeners will be offered (C & D hikes). It will be prime wildflower season, and viewing the show on A and B hikes may be possible with Gudy Gaskill. High-clearance or 4x4 vehicles are required. All meals are included in the price, but camping gear is not. Maximum group size is 12, including leaders. Contact Janet Farrar for information at 303-933-3066 or wildjc@juno. com; or Phil Healey 720-308-7721.

Sept. 26-Oct. 12, 2009 $2,344 (land cost)

Llama Trek in the Wind Rivers

Along the way, you’ll pass lowland villages of Gurung and Tamang clans, and cut through thick forests of bamboo, rhododendron, and oak. Continuing on the trek, you’ll walk up and over intricately terraced hills, finally reaching the glaciers and high mountains. Once at the sanctuary, you’ll be surrounded by the highest peaks of the western Annapurna Himal: The 360-degree views are indescribably beautiful, especially at sunset, when the peaks glow with a molten radiance. For more information, please contact Pemba Sherpa at 303-525-6508 or

August 17-21, 2009 $1,230

Trek through the east side of Wyoming’s Wind River Range to a variety of lakes on this five-day llama-supported trek next August. The Winds, as the locals call them, are one of the oldest ranges on earth and are filled with cathedrallike granite mountains—more than 35 peaks are taller than 13,000 feet. We will be in the Popo Agie Wilderness in the Shoshone National Forest for this trip, starting on a northern trail and exiting at a different trailhead. Rated as a moderate B trip, day-hiking will be possible on the single layover day and each day after we reach camp. The price of the trip includes food from lunch on the first day through lunch on day five. Llamas will carry all gear, and guides and cooks will be provided. A tent, sleeping bag, and pad will be included at no charge, or you can bring your own gear. We will meet in Lander on Au-


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Annapurna Sanctuary, a shimmering mountainringed glacial basin in the heart of the Annapurna Himal, is one of the most scenic short treks in Nepal. It offers great cultural and geographical diversity as well as outstanding mountain views. Part of the appeal of this 11-day trek is that such a huge glacial cirque is reached so quickly—it takes only five days to hike up to it!

Fall Hiking in Vermont October 6-12, 2009 $1,897.00, including airfare

Hiking in Vermont is an unforgettable experience. The trip will start in Burlington where we

will spend several nights in a pleasant hotel. We will hike up Mt. Mansfield, the state’s tallest mountain (4,393 ft.), as well as Camel’s Hump (4,079 ft.), Vermont’s highest undeveloped peak. It is one of the oldest mountains on Earth. Another hike will be on the Long Trail which goes the length of Vermont. Besides hiking and an optional bike ride along Lake Champlain,

we will have tea at the Trapp Family Lodge in Stowe, take a tour of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream factory and have the chance to visit the Shelburne Museum, an unconventional museum of art and Americana, or Shelburne Farms, created in 1886. For the second part of the trip we will stay in Stratton. Here we will hike on parts of Stratton Mountain in the Green Mountain National Forest. Also in the area we will make a stop in Montpelier, the country’s smallest capital city, learn about sugar making and visit the Quechee Gorge as well as other adventures. While we are hiking and getting to know the state of Vermont we will be observing the brilliance of the autumn changing of the leaves, a spectacle not to be missed. The level of hiking is for A and B hikers. For more information, contact Betsy Weitkamp at 303-722-1656 or

Hike with Llamas in Escalante Antone Ridge, Utah September 21-25, 2009 $938

The trip will include five days of hiking in one of the more remote and isolated sections of the Escalante region. There will be a base camp on the west side of Death Hollow, below the summit of Antone Ridge, and each day we will hike


in a new direction to explore different parts of the canyon. We will visit side canyons and at least one narrow/slot canyon that will involve some easy canyoneering. One day will be spent on the rim for long-distance views. We will also see several rock art panels and some surface sites left by the Ancestral Puebloans. This trip will include rough trail hiking, slickrock and river crossings; participants require a B trip classification. See http://lamountaineers. org/145.html for a trip report of this tour. Included in the cost are tents, sleeping bags, bag liners, sleeping pads, cooking gear, meals (all meals from breakfast on day one through lunch on day five), llamas, guide and wrangler service. Hike with just your daypack. Price does not include round trip travel to Boulder, Utah, two night stay in motel, two evening meals, and wrangler tips. For more information, contact Bob Seyse, 303-718-2005 or

Vietnam: Cultural Experiences and Bicycling

February 19-March 1, 2010 $2200 for 8 travelers ($1960 for 10-11 or $1866 for 12-15) This 11-day trip with Bea Slingsby starts in Hanoi in northern Veitnam. We will spend two days in Ha Long (which translates as “dragon descending”) Bay. The craggy karst limestone towers rise hundreds of feet from the green waters of the bay. These towers have been sculpted over eons by nature to create a spellbinding wonder. We’ll board a comfortable Chinese-

style junk with private facilities for an overnight cruise around 3,000 islands rising steeply from the bay. There will be stops at various grottos and caves and an opportunity to kayak here in this World Heritage site. Then, from Hanoi we fly to Hue to explore and get ready to cycle. Our route goes south through fishing and agricultural villages, to Hoi An. Since this leg is 89 miles long, most of us will get picked up part way through by the support van, which will always accompany us. We have a second night in Hoi An as there is much to see and experience. There is also the option for more cycling. On day seven, we will continue bicycling to Quang Ngai on country roads. Day eight, we will cycle from Tam Quan to Qui Nhon with excellent coastal views. There will be two climbs of about 10% grade, but the van is available. From there, we can ride in the van to Dieu, then cycle a delightful quiet road up a gentle valley and down to Chi Thanh, then finish the leg by driving into the city. We will spend day 10 in Nha Trang, where you may opt to take a boat trip to surrounding islands, visit a fishing village, and return in Vietnamese round boats. On day 11, we will fly to Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon), then home. The trip price includes two internal air flights, tips, all meals except two, snacks, bottled water, knowledgeable English-speaking guides, van support, bike mechanic, daily route maps, and a high standard of accommodations in French Colonial hotels or beach-front resorts. Our average daily distance by bicycle is 43 miles, while at a latitude similar to that of the Caribbean Sea. Not included in the trip are: bicycle rental at a price of $140 (hybrid Trek 7.5 in a wide range of sizes), a single room supplement of $395, airport taxes, visa, alcoholic beverages, and sightseeing expenses other than those specified. Contact trip leader, Bea Slingsby, for further information and an application at (303) 422-3728, or

Best of the Grand Canyon – Colorado River Raft & Hike April 10 – April 22, 2010 $4,075 (Limit 18)

Truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience, this unique trip to the Grand Canyon offers participants the opportunity to experience this World Heritage Site on a motorized raft for 188 miles through the best of the canyon. We will depart from the historic Lee's Ferry and end with a helicopter ride from Whitmore Wash and a plane flight back to the start. It is especially ideal for those who would like to hike in areas which can be reached only from the river, and those who have always wanted to experience the canyon but who do not wish to make the seven-mile, 4,500-foot trek on foot. Our outfitter, Hatch River Expeditions, has been guiding river trips through the canyon for over 70 years. We will have three guides and 20 participants on two 35-foot S-rig boats running fuel-efficient and quiet 4-stroke outboard engines. The average motorized raft trip through the Grand Canyon runs seven days, so this 12 day trip will have plenty of opportunities for hiking. They offer us daily guided hikes at two or three hiking levels, or one may choose to rest in camp. There are several opportunities for point-to-point hikes where we may hike from one drainage to the next and the raft will pick us up later in the day. The deposit is $300. Please visit www.cmc. org/AT for cancellation policy, payment schedule, and additional information, and to call leaders for availability. Register with leaders Blake Clark or Rosemary Burbank at (303) 871-0379 or

Leave No Trace at the Top Sign the summit register of any Colorado peak electronically! Proud supporter of the CMC

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DISCOUNTED BOOK PRICING FOR MEMBERS OF THE COLORADO MOUNTAIN CLUB ___ Best Boulder Hikes, ISBN 978-0-9799663-4-7 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $10.36 ___ Best Colorado Springs Hikes, ISBN 978-0-9799663-6-1 . . . . . . $10.36 ___ Best Denver Hikes, ISBN 978-0-9799663-5-4 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $12.76 ___ Best Fort Collins Hikes, ISBN 978-0-9799663-0-9 . . . . . . . . . . . . $11.96 ___ Colorado 14ers, ISBN 978-0-9760525-3-1 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $9.56 ___ Colorado Lake Hikes, ISBN 978-0-9799663-1-6 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $19.96 ___ Colorado’s Quiet Winter Trails, ISBN 978-0-9760525-1-7. . . . . . . . . $17.56 ___ Colorado Scrambles, ISBN 0-9760525-0-4 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $18.36 ___ Colorado Snow Climbs, ISBN 978-0-9760525-9-3 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $18.36 ___ Colorado Summit Hikes, ISBN 0-9724413-3-6 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $15.16 ___ Colorado Trail, ISBN 978-0-9760525-2-4 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $19.96 ___ Colorado Trail Databook, ISBN 978-0-9760525-5-5 . . . . . . . . . . . . . $7.96 ___ Colorado Year Round, ISBN 0-9724413-2-8 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $15.16 ___ Essential Guide to Black Canyon, ISBN 0-9724413-4-4 . . . . . . . . . $15.96 ___ Essential Guide to Sand Dunes, ISBN 0-9724413-1-X. . . . . . . . . . . $15.96 ___ Flatiron Classics, ISBN 978-0-9799663-2-3 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $15.16


___ Guide to the Colorado Mountains, ISBN 0-9671466-0-7 . . . . . . . . $15.16 ___ Hiking Colorado’s Roadless Trails, ISBN 978-0-9760525-7-9 . . . $10.36 ___ Morpha: A Rain Forest Story, 0-9671466-8-2 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $11.96 ___ Peaceful Canyon, Golden River, ISBN 0-9671466-5-8 . . . . . . . . . . . $11.96 ___ Playing for Real, ISBN 978-0-9760525-6-2 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $9.56 ___ Rocks Above the Clouds, ISBN 978-0-9760525-8-6 . . . . . . . . . . $11.96 ___ Rocky Mountain Flora, ISBN 978-0-9760525-4-8 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $18.36 ___ Roof of the Rockies, ISBN 0-9671466-1-5 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $13.56 ___ Run the Rockies, ISBN 0-9724413-5-2 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $14.36 ___ San Juan Mountaineers, ISBN 978-0-9799663-3-0 . . . . . . . . . . . . $185.00 ___ Southern Rockies Vision, ISBN 0-9724413-6-0 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $15.96 ___ State of the Southern Rockies, ISBN 0-9724413-7-9 . . . . . . . . . . . $15.96 ___ Stettner Way, ISBN 0-9724413-0-1 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $11.96 ___ Trad Guide to Joshua Tree, ISBN 0-9724413-9-5 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $17.56 ___ What’s Up with Altitude, ISBN 0-9724413-8-7 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $10.36

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Trail & Timberline, Issue 1003  

The magazine of the Colorado Mountain Club