Chi basin from Missionary ridge road

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GeorgiaTyler
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Chi basin from Missionary ridge road

Post by GeorgiaTyler »

Is there a reason why nobody talks about accessing Chi basin from Missionary ridge road -> Overlook point (ish) area -> and descend down into Needle Creek? I have been eyeing this approach for a while and I am wondering what the best route may be. THx
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PI Joe
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Re: Chi basin from Missionary ridge road

Post by PI Joe »

I've hiked from the Lime Mesa trailhead to the overlook and looked down into the lower CB. The trail continues down to Ruby Lake and Emerald Lake and on older maps of the area it continues down all the way to Needles Creek right near the bridge over the stream coming out of New York basin. I cannot find any information on that trail and saw no sign of it when I visited CB last September. I'm just guessing but I figure it got damaged by avy or landslide and they have either abandoned it or just haven't gotten around to rebuilding it.

I'd be real interested in anything you find out.

PI Joe
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shearmodulus
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Re: Chi basin from Missionary ridge road

Post by shearmodulus »

I'd guess it'd be a heinous route down, and then back out. Just looking at the relief on the topo and Google Earth makes me think this route would be significantly more challenging of its own accord than most standard 14er summit routes. I know that the Chicago Basin peaks are pretty significant climbs themselves, but this approach route looks downright dangerous. More so than I would be willing to take on as part of a summit attempt on a challenging mountain, with scant backup available once you cross into the Wilderness Area. I've made it up into the entrance to Chicago Basin during winter, and the sheer steepness of the Animas River valley walls and the Needle Creek area would have me looking for routes elsewhere. I guess from a risk management issue, I see this route as taking on additional risk without much payoff in terms of ease of approach or mileage saved. It would be one more place for things to go wrong in a place where I am loathe to accept things going wrong.
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nyker
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Re: Chi basin from Missionary ridge road

Post by nyker »

I've never been up Missionary ridge road, but looking at a map where Overlook point is, seems like you might as well just go from Purgatory TH a few miles to the north up 550. The route from Purgatory is longer than taking the train to the Needle Creek TH, but is really an awesome hike in along the river and in the forest. It makes for a long first and last day, but worth it!
DaveLanders
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Re: Chi basin from Missionary ridge road

Post by DaveLanders »

I bushwhacked up to Webb Lake once from Needle Creek (it was brutal), set up camp, and climbed Overlook Point the next day. The ascent up to
Pear Lake from Webb Lake wasn't bad, but I don't think there was a trail. On the descent from Webb Lake back to Needle Creek, I found quite a bit
of an old switchbacked trail, but it wasn't continuous at the bottom. The trail was all on the west side of the outlet creek from Webb Lake,
and came out just across Needle Creek from New York Creek. I've read elsewhere that the trail shown on the topo going to Ruby and Emerald
Lakes from Needle Creek doesn't actually exist. Accessing Chicago Basin this way would be cheaper than taking the train, but a LOT more work.
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kamiller43
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Re: Chi basin from Missionary ridge road

Post by kamiller43 »

I have friends who have done it and said that it is not bad going down. I think Durangoans get a ride to the top of missionary ridge road, hike down to Chicago basin, then take the train out. I don't think you would want to hike back up to your car. That's probably why no one has heard of it.
Teresa Gergen
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Re: Chi basin from Missionary ridge road

Post by Teresa Gergen »

I've done the upper part from Lime Mesa, but not the descent all the way to Chi Basin. Looking at the satellite imagery, I can see the trail most of the way to Emerald Lake, but I can't make it out beyond that. Here are my notes for UN 12082, north of Overlook Point:

"From Lime Mesa TH (moderately rough 4WD last 2 mi). Trail over crest SE of Overlook and down to Ruby and Emerald Lakes (lost trail for a while in willows in drainage below Ruby), then up grassy passage, skirting S summit on E side on animal trails and contouring to saddle, then up S ridge."

The greater Mountain View Crest area is beautiful.
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HikerGuy
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Re: Chi basin from Missionary ridge road

Post by HikerGuy »

I've been somewhat obsessed with this idea. The attractiveness of combining the beauty of the Lime Mesa/Mountain View Crest area into a Chicago Basin trip (and bonus without cost/schedule of train) sounds so damn appealing, except for hiking up out of Chicago Basin ;-) which is probably why I will end up hiking in from the Purgatory TH. Everyone seems to focus on going down past Ruby Lake, I guess because a trail is marked on maps, but there appear to be old mining and/or game trails that lead to a gully just to the east of Point 12,877 (due northeast from the Ruby Lake Trail crest). Looks like a delightful ridge trek. A "trail" even appears to begin down the gully on Google Maps/Earth. I've plotted this crazy idea in detail on Caltopo, but not sure how to share. Attached is a screenshot.

EDITED: words/spelling/topo map
lime_mesa_chicago_basin_topo.jpg
lime_mesa_chicago_basin_topo.jpg (335.61 KiB) Viewed 2516 times
Last edited by HikerGuy on Tue Feb 18, 2014 10:08 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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mattpayne11
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Re: Chi basin from Missionary ridge road

Post by mattpayne11 »

Sounds pretty brutal, having been up on Missionary Ridge a few times... it is a pretty confusing area with lots of side trails and roads, but I think it would be doable. I highly recommend the Endlich Mesa approach if you like a long approach.
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HikerGuy
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Re: Chi basin from Missionary ridge road

Post by HikerGuy »

mattpayne11 wrote:I highly recommend the Endlich Mesa approach if you like a long approach.
Thanks! I've been looking at that option as well. The elevation loss/gain around City Reservoir is kind of a turn off, which leads me back to Purgatory.
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shearmodulus
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Re: Chi basin from Missionary ridge road

Post by shearmodulus »

When I went in in January of 2012, I went via Purgatory flats trail head. I was on skis, which made it a tad bit more tricky getting into the valley with the narrow trail, but the previous comments about the Animas River Valley hike being fantastic is spot on. It does, however, add about 10 miles to your trip from trailhead to Needleton. But hey, if you've got the time.... it's worth it!
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shearmodulus
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Re: Chi basin from Missionary ridge road

Post by shearmodulus »

Overlook to Chicago_resize.jpg
Overlook to Chicago_resize.jpg (75.46 KiB) Viewed 2497 times
Not sure how the pic turns out resized, but here's an oblique shot of the Ruby Lake and Chicago Basin area from Google Earth.
"Roads? Where we're going, we don't need roads...."
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