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Conquering Mount Sopris near Basalt, CO.

Jessica.Olson's picture

Mount Sopris Peaks: CARBONDALE CO - View of Mount Sopris peaks near Basalt and Aspen , CO.Mount Sopris Peaks: CARBONDALE CO - View of Mount Sopris peaks near Basalt and Aspen , CO.Before we knew it, we reached timberline. Someone had created a small shelter from two of the highest trees, and we were surprised to see two hikers inside smoking cigarettes. We pushed on, beyond the smell of smoke and into the scree field that tops Mount Sopris. With dangerous drop-offs near the trail and a steep slope to slide down if our foothold slipped from underneath us, our chatter was silenced as we all focused on the task at hand. The thinning air and our tiring legs required us to stop nearly every five minutes to catch our breath and calm our screaming calf and thigh muscles. The climb became more and more difficult the further we went.

Anyone who has climbed a mountain knows of the existence of false summits. The hiker eagerly approaches what appears to be the highest point of the climb, only to be confronted with another point even higher upon reaching it. Mount Sopris has several heartbreaking false summits. We reached the false summit that all of us were expecting and continued on to the next point. Assuming this was East Sopris, one of the twin peaks, we stopped to have lunch. There was plenty of daylight left, so we decided to continue to West Sopris. A difficult climb across the scree field and one more false summit disappointment brought us to the peak we had assumed to be West Sopris. In reality, this was the first of the twin summits. From here we could easily see the other peak and quickly decided that since it was the same height we were not going to attempt to reach it as well. We sat down once again, this time to enjoy the true summit.