Thursday, February 27, 2014

Tayor Mountain and Big John Mountain via Bright TH.

Last week I set out with my friend Dan for a shorter and lower day.  With the snow conditions at the time still looking pretty bad and the weather forecast for higher parts equal that, we once again looked to some of the high points in Boulder County for inspiration.
I'd checked for some more peaks I could see from my house and Big John Mountain popped up.  The drive looked reasonable and the day looked pretty mellow, covering about 4.4 miles round trip.
To get her, you'll take route 7 out of Lyons (or turn left when headed west).  You'll want to continue on route 7 until you hit the uphill immediately before Ferncliff.  Turn right onto Taylor Road and follow to the trail head, which has a small parking lot for several vehicles.  Alternatively, you could drive farther up the road in the summer if you have 4wd.  But why drive it when you can hike it!
The 4wd drive was pretty well packed down, it was only once we'd turned right off it that the postholing began.  
Twin Sisters as seen from Taylor Mountain.
But the gain isn't too bad, and it is fairly easy to continually orient to the high point.
The summit cairn of Taylor Mountain, 9134 feet.
Mount Alice in a tree window.
We headed north east  and downhill from here towards Big John Mountain.  It was nice to have the wind block of Taylor behind us since it was ripping.  There was of course a bit more snow on the leeward side of the mountain, but going downhill in it was easy.  And then we went back up...
Summit cairn of Big John Mountain, 9100 feet.
Here's Big John Mountain from the saddle between it and Taylor.  Again, fairly easy to see where to go as these were the only two peaks in the area and there was a distinct line of cairns running up Big John.
It's not the most beautiful photo I've ever taken, but upon looking at it when I got home, I realized that I have climbed everything visible in this photo that is over 9009 feet in elevation.  From left to right:  St. Vrain Mountain, Meadow Mountain, Ogalalla Peak, Copeland Mountain, Ouzel Peak, Mahana Peak, Isolation Peak, The Cleaver, Tanima Peak, Pilot Mountain (2x), Mount Orton (2x), Mount Alice (2x), Chiefs Head Peak, Lookout Mountain (2x), Horsetooth, Mount Meeker, Meeker Ridge (2x), Mount Lady Washington, and Battle Mountain.
Taylor Mountain from the 4wd road.
A little more visible.
This was a fun day and certainly a good pick for a shorter winter day as these peaks could be climbed with ease in the summer.  The conditions added just the right amount of difficulty to make the end result feel satisfying.  Taylor can offer some really great views through the trees as seen above, while Big John doesn't so much, but it's so close and not too difficult to get to, so why not?
Taylor Mountain and Big John Mountain via Bright TH:
4.4 miles round trip, 1458 feet gain.  Moderate.

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