Thursday, July 19, 2012

Vasquez Pass via Vasquez Creek

Vasquez Pass via Vasquez Creek

Ran up Vasquez Creek to Vasquez Pass today. The Vasquez Creek trail is a nice, mellow two-track that slowly climbs up the long Vasquez Creek basin to the head of Vasquez Peak from the north. A few people hike the trail to the first major river crossing, but from there the trail sees very little traffic. In fact, most of the trail after the Wilderness boundary is non-existent. Vasquez Pass is the original way people got over the Divide and into the Fraser Valley from Idaho Springs/Empire before the "discovery" of Berthod Pass in 1861 by Edward Berthoud, so running this route brings a little history in. From the pass, it is quite easy to tag Stanley Peak, Vasquez Peak, or to drop over the other side and down to the Henderson Mine area. The route is ~14 miles with 3,000' of gain and 3,000' of loss. Because the entire last bit of the "trail" is non-existent, you have to take some time traversing the final basin to the actual pass. It took me 2 hours and 43 minutes today at a casual pace.

 Looking at the pass from about half way
 From the top looking south
 Looking back down the Vasquez Creek valley to Winter Park

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