Trip date: Sept 02, 2018
Caltopo map here: caltopo.com/m/3576
I originally had schemes for full traverse of the Never Summer Range this weekend but I couldn't get my act together in time. Back to Indian Peaks. I was so pleased with the previous week's adventures that I even returned to the same basic area. I had already been turned away by the Arapaho Traverse between South Arapaho and North Arapaho Peaks twice before so I settled on that as a plan. 3rd time's the charm?
I parked at the Hessie Trailhead again but this time started the 4-mile walk along the 4WD towards Fourth of July Trailhead. After ~half a mile a young couple stopped and asked if I wanted a ride. I rode to the trailhead in the bed of their pickup with their German Shepherd. Some 13 hours later a different couple stopped and offered me a ride on the walk back down to Hessie TH. Once again I would share my seat with a sweet dog. People can be so nice sometimes. I'm tempted to say that this saved me 6-7 miles but I would have walked the same distance anyway. The ride up allowed me to spend more time in Wilderness and the ride back down saved some headlight batteries.
There are excellent water sources near the 4th of July Mine. I recommend stocking up here before tackling the traverse (1.5L seems reasonable). Follow the creek as far north as possible to find the creek origin for the cleanest water.
There's a good climbers trail up S. Arapaho Peak from the saddle. Every time I've been up here I've been surprised that it's been so close to the edge. On this trip I realized that there's a second, much less exposed, trail about 50-100 feet west of the one that follows the arete. Towards the base they merge but I'd probably take the farther west one especially in high wind.
The summit of S. Arapaho had about 10 people on the summit including (to my surprise) a coworker and his wife. We chatted for a while but I was on a pretty tight clock to make the out and back on the ridge. I had this portion to myself.
The scramble between South Arapaho and North Arapaho is described pretty well in both "Colorado's Indian Peaks" by Gerry Roach as well as "Colorado Scrambles" by Dave Cooper.
I filled up on water again at Fourth of July Mine and continued to Arapaho Pass/Lake Dorothy. I'd passed by here briefly on the 5th day of the Pfiffner Traverse but didn't have time to stay long.
From here I descended to Middle Boulder Creek en route to the unnamed lakes below Mt. Neva.
I was surprised to find more debris from an airplane crash. The wing seemed much thicker than anything I'd seen the previous week and at first I thought it was a separate crash. This seems unlikely and I suspect it must be the same crash. Presumably it was heading south and got clipped near Arapaho pass and lost a wing but somehow managed to clear the North Ridge of Jasper Peak before crashing.
Decided to call it a day after this. Headed back east.