Exploring Avery Peak

By: Ian Havlick

Avery Peak is one of the more prominent peaks that can be seen from Crested Butte, and a giant that looms just north of the tiny town of Gothic. The west facing slopes of Avery are dominated by sheer red rock slabs funneling down into a gully which intersects the super popular 401 Trail. Yesterday I had a day off and decided to venture up and explore these slabs. It was a great morning out in the heart of the Elk Mountains. To cut off a bit of approach time, I took my mountain bike and easily pedaled around 20 minutes to the gully leading to the Avery Slabs.

After stashing my bike, it was all uphill from there. Ill let photos share the rest, but it is an adventurous scramble, and an excellent tune up climb for bigger objectives such as the Red Gully on 14er Crestone Peak. Some residual snow remained in the gully, but firm, and bootable. Just had to read the snow and decide what was supportable, and what was too thin to scamper across. 

Once on the rock slabs proper, the summer’s wet weather and heavy thunderstorms have really cleaned the 40-45º slabs up, and very little “kitty litter” and loose rocks remained on most sections. As I climbed toward the top, the rock quality decreased a little bit, but remained quite solid for rocky mountain standards and a surprising variety of vivid wildflowers were sprinkled onto precarious ledges. Columbine, Sky Pilot, Moss Campion, Alpine Sunflowers (“Old Man on the Mountain”), Asters, Scarlet Gilia, Bluebells, Paintbrush and Saxifrage to name a few. Truly the Wildflower Capital of Colorado at all elevations!

Filed under: Field Report

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