Peak(s):  Jackson, Mt - 13,670 feet
Date Posted:  02/09/2011
Modified:  02/19/2011
Date Climbed:   09/26/2010
Author:  Matt Lemke
 A long climb up Mt. Jackson   

Another weekend of nice non-thunderstorm forecast in the Colorado Rockies. The monsoon season this year is very light allowing longer climbs.
I decided to head for Mt. Jackson south of Vail in the Northern Sawatch with an elev 13,600 feet. This is a long 20 mile day with over 6000 feet elevation gain.
After driving out to Silverthorne Saturday Evening we slept a few hours and finished the Drive to Beaver Creek Resort and ski area where we had to park. This is quite possibly the first trip I've done where I had to start from a parking garage.

We started around 4 am Sunday on the overly-perfect trail to Beaver Lake. Passed Beaver Lake and didn't even know it was there and got to the Lower Turquoise Lake by sunrise (by now we had walked 7 miles on trail). Here is a twilight reflection photo from near Lower Turquoise Lake.
Twilight at Lower Turquoise Lake

Mt Jackson isn't anywhere to be seen yet but we continued heading up the trail until we broke treeline where we started walking cross country to the saddle of the north ridge of Jackson. Here other peaks like Holy Cross and Gold Dust as well as Notch Mountain came into view; the ones I had climbed almost a month ago. The sun was warming things up nicely and we continued to follow the long ridge in a southerly direction. After awhile, Jackson finally came into view when we had only 600 vertical to go. By now we had climbed 5500 feet but I was surprisingly feeling good.
Mt. Jackson finally can be seen.

We followed the ridge and the crux of the route was an easy class 3 pitch around a rock outcrop.

We summitted around 10 am and signed the register. We were the first group in 2 weeks and about the 15th group to summit this year.
Could only find two other people to climb this peak from WA and the one I particulairly remember was a woman from Whidbey Island back in 1998.
Mt. Jackson Summit view to the west

We enjoyed the view and I captured a few summit panoramas one which I really liked.
This panorama shows the Gold Dust Peaks; I was able to see the peak I climbed the last weekend in August.
View towards North Gold Dust from the slopes of Jackson

We took a long break near the summit as the weather was so nice. I started looking for other peaks I have climbed in Colorado and was able to spot most of the ones I've climbed. I was also able to name the majority of peaks I saw (I'm getting my Colorado peaks memorized now and it's sad that I know the CO peaks better than my WA peaks).

We started the long hike back and got back to Lower Turquoise Lake.
Daytime at Lower Turquoise Lake

We then continued down the long trail where I was excited to start seeing the aspens in their full glory. We missed the foliage on the way up because it was dark.
We saw lots of people now on these trails near the resort but we only saw 1 other person higher up and he told us he was heading for Jackson with a late start.

Passed by Beaver Lake and got an amazing view of the lake and aspen foliage there.
Foliage at Beaver Lake

Passed by lots of casual hikers and fisherman until we got back to the parking garage where we were then able to see the town of Beaver Creek in the daytime.
Aspen Foliage on the Beaver Creek trails

WOW this is a ritzy place. It would definently rival the town of Aspen CO.
Another CO climb in the books for me, one of my favorites so far.

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
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