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Topic: Sangre's in spring, Willow lake and above, Double Cabin, you there?< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
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Eric H Search for posts by this member.

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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 19 2012, 1:07 pm  Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I've got a friend in Crestone, Co I'm thinking of visiting and would like to time it so a hike up to Willow L., perhaps the crest is possible. And, yep I've noticed the posts here over the years, mentioning this as a fine early season hike.

Late May reasonable? Earlier or later? When do the crowds start showing up? Or do they tend to hit the east side of the range more?

Thanks in advance. DC, hope all is well over by you.

Eric
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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 19 2012, 1:22 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Eric H @ Dec. 19 2012, 12:07 pm)
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I've got a friend in Crestone, Co I'm thinking of visiting and would like to time it so a hike up to Willow L., perhaps the crest is possible. And, yep I've noticed the posts here over the years, mentioning this as a fine early season hike.

Late May reasonable? Earlier or later? When do the crowds start showing up? Or do they tend to hit the east side of the range more?

Thanks in advance. DC, hope all is well over by you.

Eric

I've tried the NM Sangres on Memorial Day weekend a few times--there's generally still a lot of snow. My guess would be that the second week of June would typically be a better bet for Willow Lake. And you'd probably beat most of the crowds.

A lot of people head up that way to bag Kit Carson--most of them are going to want to wait for the route to be more snow-free than it probably is in early June.
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Lamebeaver Search for posts by this member.
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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 19 2012, 1:29 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

It depends on the year (how much snow) but May is very early.

Once you get away from Sand Dunes NP, Zapata Falls and Hermit Pass, there are no crowds in the Sangres, but some areas you may see other people.
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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 19 2012, 1:36 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Lamebeaver @ Dec. 19 2012, 12:29 pm)
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Once you get away from Sand Dunes NP, Zapata Falls and Hermit Pass, there are no crowds in the Sangres, but some areas you may see other people.

Agree, more or less...

A couple years ago, I spent 5 weekdays in the Sand Creek Lakes area. I wouldn't call it "crowded," but it was bordering on it. There were parties camped at both lakes and in the sand creek valley. I went further up Sand Creek (toward Milwaukee Pass) to find solitude.

Last summer, I visited Groundhog Basin (saw no one else there) and North Crestone Lake during the week. There were two other parties camped at the lake, but we couldn't see (or, for the most part, hear) their camps from our camp.

A few years ago I went to Macey Lakes with my boys over a weekend. There were a couple other parties camped in the area, but, again, it's a big area with fairly private places to make camp, so we rarely saw or heard the others that were there.
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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 19 2012, 3:48 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Willow was very crowded when I visited in September.  There is a school in Crestone that apparently sends students up regularly.  In addition to "regular hikers", there was a group of 21 students camped on the lake. (And I mean right on the shore, including in the areas marked for site restoration).
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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 20 2012, 10:04 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

For good reason Willow is the most popular hike on the West Slope of Colorado's Sangres. I however have had the lake to myself/party about a half dozen times on weekdays.

I have hiked Willow twice in May. Once in the Middle of the month, I believe 1996. It had been incredibly hot but I still was there for the begining of ice off with lots of huge cutthroats slithering all over each other at the outlet. In I believe 2001 we went Memorial Day Weekend. Ice off was further along that time but still lots of snow.  

Camping right on the lake is of course prohibited. I like camping a bit before the Lake, maybe .5 miles. Good spots.

As for going above Willow the Prow might be problematic too early. 14ers.com will likely have the best conditions reports then.

I would expect to have to deal with snow in May, but both my hikes then have been nothing short of glorious. I would keep up on the snowpack. When you get closer to your time let me know and I'll give you Rocky Mountain High's phone number. He lives in Canon City, hikes the Sangres fairly often. I haven't seen him in the forum in a long time but I spent a couple of nights at his place last winter.


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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 20 2012, 12:41 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(double cabin @ Dec. 20 2012, 10:04 am)
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Camping right on the lake is of course prohibited. I like camping a bit before the Lake, maybe .5 miles

To be specific, the offenders were students we taking part in a class from the Colorado College at Baca.  Ironically (for an oversized group of 21), they characterized it as a "solo wilderness experience".
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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 22 2012, 1:49 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I've camped up there in June, snow free the second week in a normal snow year.

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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 22 2012, 6:32 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Well, since I'm alumni I called up CC yesterday and tore a couple of Administrators new posterior orifices. Thanks for the info BL.

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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 22 2012, 11:47 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Thanks for passing that along.  I feel bad ratting them out, but it was something I thought about doing for a long time.  What bothered me most is that these are young people who I'd expect to care as much for these special places as the rest of us.  They should be given the right information about what that entails.  On the other hand, that's a very high-use area, so I wonder if the beating it takes is inevitable.
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Eric H Search for posts by this member.

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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 06 2013, 3:18 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic.  Ignore posts   QUOTE

Thanks all! And let me know if I can return the favor.

Glacier (MT), Beartooths, Mt. Baker area in the N. Cascades, central and southern NV and UT canyons and mountains, Grand Canyon (winter), S. Shore of L. Superior are areas I have in depth background.
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