Sunday, November 22, 2015

“Notaubuon” and Mount Audubon

Mount Audubon
September was a long time ago. Between a wedding, taking classes and making it to work each day I have not had the time to get to this report, much less find the time to get back into the mountains. It’s been a crazy fall, but I’m itching to get back outside while I have a little bit of a break. As you can imagine this report will not be too detailed as a lot of time has passed and my memory isn’t what it once was.
Mount Audubon is one of those peaks that have been on my list since moving to Colorado. It is located in the heart of the Indian Peaks Wilderness, not too far from Ward, Colorado. Whenever I feel like climbing this peak it’s usually in the winter and that adds quite a bit of mileage to the climb.
Audubon on the Left and Notaubuon on the Right
Paul and I didn’t have much for plans going into this one. I remembered we both wanted to get out, and I gave him a deadline to let me know by 8pm the evening before if he was in. In true fashion he called me about 8:10 or just after. Paul and his roommate Andy were up for a hike the next morning, so our plan was Mount Audubon. I knew how to get there and that was about it.
The trailhead we used is accessed from the Brainard Lake Recreation Area. The main trail departs from an upper loop road 1122C. Here are the driving directions:
Make your way to north side of Boulder. Take Lee Hill Drive off of Broadway. Follow this road (don’t miss the first switchback) to Lefthand Canyon Drive. Not far from Ward, Lefthand Canyon Dr. turns into Indiana Gulch Road, follow this through to the Peak to Peak Highway. Once on the highway take the first left (comes up quick) to Brainard Lake Road and follow this up to the lake. There is an access fee of $10, so bring some cash with you.  We made it to the trailhead around 8am and there was no parking available, so we started near the Pawnee Campground in the large lot next to Brainard Lake. This added a mile or so of walking on the road to get to the real Mount Audubon trail.
Me and Paul on the Summit of Audubon
The trail turns from dirt to large cobbles pretty quickly. There are a few photos that will give you an idea of what it’s like in the photo album.  I would recommend boots, but we did see trail runners up there so it’s more of personal preference. The first section of the trail goes through the trees along a few switchbacks before breaking tree line. Once above tree line we were greeted with the high winds that we would be fighting for the remainder of the day.
Minus the element of wind this would have been a really simple hike, but it’s never fun trying to power through that stuff. We kept trying to find an advantage in the fight but kept losing. It was so bad that Paul and I decided to head up Notaubuon first just in case we didn’t want to deal with the elements for the entire day.
We broke off the main trail and followed the East Ridge while constantly getting sand blasted with all the fragments flying around in the air.  The wind made it pretty cold at times, but we decided what the hell and kept going. Once on Notaubuon we sat behind a small wind block and fueled up for the push up Audubon. It took a good push, but I remembered the wind being worse getting up Notaubuon. 
Indian Peaks Wilderness
There were maybe 10-20 other idiots out there that day with us, so we were not alone at least. There are lots of trails making it up the last 500 feet. Once we got to the summit we scouted the closest wind shelter that was vacant. It was hard taking pictures up there as the wind blew my hand holding the camera all over the place. We didn’t linger too long, just enough to grab a bite to eat and take in the views.
The decent was quick; perhaps the wind was pushing us for once. Once we made it back to the lake area we saw a crowd of people with their phones and cameras out and saw there was a large Bull Moose grubbing in the willows near the lake. I guess we can count that as wildlife viewing, I don’t recall seeing anything else. It was a full day by the time we got back and we were pretty spent. This was about three months ago and the last time I was able to get out. I’m hopeful for a hike during Thanksgiving weekend, so hopefully there will be a new post coming shortly.
GPS Track

Date: September 6, 2015
TH Elevation: 10,360 feet
“Notaubuon” Summit: 12,680 feet
Mount Audubon Summit: 13,209 feet
Total Elevation Gain: 2,937 feet
Distance: 9.9 miles
Moving Time: 4hr 45min
Stopped Time: 1hr 25min

Partners: Paul, Andy

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