Trip Reports: Hiking Whitehouse Mountain, Colorado - June 2013

In mid-June we did a quick backpack trip and climbed up Whitehouse Mountain in the Sneffels Range of the San Juan Mountains in Colorado.

wildflowers, spreading globeflower, San Juan Mountains, Colorado, June, photo

Globeflowers in the Sun

A field of Spreading Globeflowers (Trollius laxus) - June.

Summer is in full swing in the mountains! Except for a few lingering patches, most of the snow is gone and the tundra has come alive with its vibrant green grasses and early summer wildflowers like these Spreading Globeflowers (I think that’s what they are called).

wildflowers, spreading globeflower, San Juan Mountains, Colorado, June, photo

Globeflower Sunset

Spreading Globeflowers (Trollius laxus) watch the sun set behind the mountains - June.

Potosi Peak, San Juan Mountains, Colorado, June, sunrise, photo

Potosi Peak Sunrise

Sunrise light on Potosi Peak (13,786 ft.) - June.

We woke up at 3:30am to hike up to a high saddle from where I shot the sunrise light on Potosi Peak, one of the giants of the range. (For reference on how little snow we have this year, check out the photos from skiing/snowboarding down Potosi’s north couloir in June a couple years ago).

Potosi Peak, Whitehouse Mountain, San Juan Mountains, Colorado, June, hiking, photo

Hiking down from Whitehouse Mountain with a view of Potosi Peak (13,786 ft.).

Our goal for Saturday was to hike up Whitehouse Mountain, a seldom-climbed mountain on the northern end of the Sneffels Range.

Colorado, San Juan Mountains, Sneffels Range, photo

Hiking up the northwestern couloir on Whitehouse Mountain.

Despite feeling like a zombie from the stupid-early start, here’s Claudia powering up the northwestern couloir which allows passage to the upper slopes of Whitehouse. We were stoked to find no snow in here, since we had left our crampons and ice axes at home.

Colorado, Potosi Peak, San Juan Mountains, Sneffels Range, Whitehouse Mtn, photo

Cairn on the 13,492 ft. summit of Whitehouse Mountain.

After a pleasant stroll along the nearly mile-long summit plateau, we reached the somewhat anti-climatic 13,492 ft. summit of Whitehouse Mountain. We were the first to sign the summit register this year!

Colorado, San Juan Mountains, Sneffels Range, photo

The town of Ouray is visible 5,700 vertical feet below the summit of Whitehouse Mountain.

Colorado, Mt. Sneffels, San Juan Mountains, Sneffels Range, Whitehouse Mtn, photo

Nice view of Mount Sneffels from the flat summit ridge of Whitehouse Mountain.

Colorado, San Juan Mountains, Sneffels Range, photo

Back in greener pastures.

We napped a few hours in the tent, cooked some cup-o-noodles for lunch, packed up, hiked out, and were back in Ouray by afternoon, looking back up at the summit we had just been standing on that morning!