Peak(s):  Bent Pk - 13,393 feet
Carson Pk - 13,657 feet
"Tundra Top" - 13,450 feet
Coney BM - 13,334 feet
PT 13,260 B - 13,260 feet
Date Posted:  09/17/2020
Date Climbed:   09/13/2020
Author:  Jon Frohlich
Additional Members:   Paula
 Milestones, dogs, peaks, safety, and a sheep   

Ah we can dance if we want to, we can leave your friends behind
Cause your friends don't dance and if they don't dance
Well they're are no friends of mine
I say, we can go where we want to, a place where they will never find
And we can act like we come from out of this world
Leave the real one far behind,
And we can dance

Bent Peak (13,393)
Carson Peak (13,657)
"Tundra Top" (13,450)
Approximately 9 miles and 2500 feet of gain

After we spent last weekend on a rather tough ascent of Vestal we decided we needed something a bit easier for this weekend. I wanted to go down to Lake City since we hadn't been in a while and we decided to spend a few days roaming the peaks above the ghost town of Carson for something different. We were joined for this adventurous outing by superdawg (Erica) and safety dog (Neko).

We arrived near Lake City as it was getting dark and headed up the road towards Carson. The road definitely sucks but it gets better the higher you go. Due to darkness we couldn't see the terrain very well and ended up going too high before turning around and finding a place to park the 4runners just below Carson. We ended up staying put the next 2 nights and driving a 4Runner up to the pass to start our hikes. On Saturday all of the humans and dogs slowly got ready and piled into the vehicle for the short drive to our trailhead (the saddle). As we were getting our gear together we started talking to a group of hunters camped at the saddle. It turns out that they had gotten a bighorn sheep that they were heading up towards Carson Peak that morning to retrieve. We were worried that they might be upset by us having 4 dogs but turns out they were incredibly friendly and told us if one of the dogs accidentally got a nibble it was fine with them. They also offered to give the dogs some meat later if we saw them again.

We bid them temporary farewell and started up the old road towards Bent Peak. The route was obvious and we had no trouble reaching our first peak of the weekend. We found the tiny register jar in one of the windbreaks and took a few photos. This was Paula's 100th peak over 13k in Colorado and our first milestone of the weekend.

Starting up Bent

Bent up ahead

Safety dog is already broken. Zero is concerned.

Safety dog checking on safety

Congrats on 100 Paula!

I would like my milestone now too please

It's safer behind the wind shelter apparently

14ers and such across the way

After a nice break we headed towards Carson Peak. Terrain was gentle and near the saddle between Bent and Carson we ran into the hunters again. After the dogs all got in some petting from their new friends we continued up Carson. A small tower on the way was easily negotiated and we found ourselves on top of our second 13er. Another set of milestones for the group - This was Maya's 100th ranked peak and for all of the dogs it was their 60th peak over 13k. Paula and I popped some small champagne to celebrate the occasion and superdawg joined us with a beer. Zero and Sprinkles had already done their 100th ranked peak earlier in the year so Maya was just joining the party. I'd like to say Zero, Sprinkles, and safety dog congratulated her on her accomplishment but they just wanted snacks.

Heading down Bent towards Carson

We were on a roll

Friendly sheep hunters

Headed up Carson with Bent behind

Carson up ahead

Superdawg with actual dogs

All of the actual dogs

Not going that way. The tower to the right was fine.

Go up and over

Dramatic hiking photo with dogs

We seem to be safe

Maya heads for her 100th

Proud of herself

We were soon joined briefly by two other forum members who enjoyed walking into a party with a pile of dogs. A Pomeranian was used as a prop for a summit photo by the strangers. The Pomeranian was pleased by this and after some more celebratory fun (which means we finished the booze) we departed to continue on our way to "Tundra Top".

Booze, mascots

She's unimpressed by #100 but we are very impressed.

Humans to Maya: How do you feel about your accomplishment?
Maya: Bark bark bark! Bark! Woof.
Humans: What are you going to do next?
Maya: Bark bark! Woof woof. Whine. (at this she also spun in circles)
Humans: Good talk, let's go get another summit.


Dog party with 3 humans

Along the way we ran into some narrow spots which gave safety dog some pause. Safety dog apparently did not think this was as safe as the other three dogs. Zero decided to give safety dog some guidance in a few spots and after some coaxing apparently decided that we were all now safe again and our band of 5 continued along towards the expansive summit. We found a register in one of the summit cairns and contributed our signatures.

On the way to Tundra Top looking back at Carson

Some narrow spots on the way to Tundra Top but they go pretty easily

Half Peak iin the distance

Tundra Top is a very accurate name

A Pomeranian was posed in a sweater on the summit for photos. Dogs were fed snacks. Humans ate snacks. More photos were taken. Eventually we wandered off the top of the tundra towards the CT/CDT below us and started the journey back towards the car. The trail was fantastic and along the way we ran into various groups on their thru hikes. The scenery in the valley was also rather nice.

Photos of dogs taken by people with dogs

San Juan pano

Pomeranian in a sweater. That is all.

After some brief uphill back to the saddle and the car we ran into the friendly hunters again. Making good on his promise one of them wandered over with a hunk of sheep meat for the dogs. All 4 dogs immediately decided that they had a new best friend and pondered whether they might need new owners. Unfortunately not being able to compete with raw sheep for snacks we were ignored while we packed up the car. We also got to take a look at the bighorn they had gotten and learn a bit about how they determine their age and how they are being managed. The hunter that had gotten the tag had been trying for 23 (!) years to get a tag and they only apparently give 10 per year. We sadly informed the dogs that sheep snacks were a once in a lifetime occurrence and that they had now peaked.

Down the trail

Post hiking sheep snacks and their new best friend

Eventually we drove back to our campsite and spent the night hanging out with another of the hunters named Randy and enjoying sightings of various moose visitors that were in the nearby willows. Finally it got dark and cold and we retreated into the 4Runners for sleep.

It got cold so it went in the sleeping bag

Coney Benchmark (13,334)
UN 13,260
Approx 6 miles RT and 1500 feet of gain

The next morning was also cold and we again slowly got ready to go. The dogs were fed a breakfast of, what else, sheep. The rest of us consumed coffee and then drove back up the road to the saddle. We greeted the hunters one more time and then headed up the road towards Coney BM. The hiking was easy and after a little over an hour we reached the summit of Coney.

Bent on the way up Coney

Road up Coney

More dogs

Still headed up Coney

Summit of Coney


13,260 in the distance

Rather nice view on this one

Coney summit cairn and a tiny dog

After a nice rest we decided to continue and head over to 13,260. We headed down the slopes of Coney towards the CT/CDT segment and took the trail to a point near the summit and then headed up.I had carried a stove and ramen so we hung out and had a nice lunch on top with our group of 3 humans and 4 dogs. The weather was beautiful.

Still safe

Summit lunch with dogs

13,260 summit photo

13,260 summit cairn

We eventually started heading back towards Coney and took the trail around the side instead of gaining the summit again. Really didn't save much elevation gain but seemed easier at the time. We then headed down the road back to the car and drove down the road to our campsite. After repacking gear in the cars we headed north through Lake City to Gunnison where we all reconvened for pizza and beer at Gunnison Pizza Company which had a nice patio for us and the dogs. After being fed and hydrated we bid goodbye to superdawg and safety dog and they headed home while the other 5 of us pondered our options for Monday. Eventually we camped near Cottonwood Pass for the night and did some easy summits on the way home the next day.

Dogs on 12580 near Cottonwood Pass

I never cease to be impressed by our pack of slightly (ok, maybe more than slightly) off kilter dogs. All 3 are now well over 100 ranked peaks and going strong. They also all finished the weekend with over 60 peaks over 13k. Congrats to Maya and Paula on their respective sets of 100!

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
1 2 3 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 36 37 38 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 51 52 53 54 55 56 57

Comments or Questions
09/17/2020 11:00
You had a regular pack with you! Do they chase marmots/pika? My dog would always run after squirrels.
#46 is a postcard shot.

I LOVE this.
09/17/2020 17:13
I just hit my 100th ranked 13k+ last month, and my golden is at 93 so this really resonated with me. I'm happy to see other pups getting up there! We need a 14er/13er dog ranking board! My guess is Piper14er takes the cake...

Congratulations to Paula and Maya!

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