Back Country hiking and skiing Black Face Telluride, CO

"I remember when I was in college and talked avidly with my friends about climbing the "five-ten's" out here. The guys that were here in the old days that put the bolts in were crusty, they are some burly guys. I would often hear their stories, explained to us the way it was and complained about how much work their original hardware was to get on to the rocks.

One would often say, "these young punks these days see a mountain that they think has never been climbed or skied. I mean, come on, you think your really the first person to come out here and do these things?""

Great views looking south as we climb up the face. Picture taken at 10,750 feet.

As Mark Davis our guide from Telluride Mountain Guides continued, I couldn't help feeling that I was talking to someone who had escaped death several times. He wasn't a person who sounded like it and had that, poser- hip- tone, but I could sense something more real.

"The real adventurers are the old crusty guys, who did it without all of the comfortable gear and clothing."

And that was the way our day started as we headed out into an area full of jagged mountain views just outside of Telluride, Colorado.

Davis and our other elite passenger rattled on and gave their props to the old school. For a while I thought I was going to be listening to it all day, and that ultimately, I would end up hiking Black Face with some very slow dope smoking hippies.

Happy hikers

I was happily surprised when proven wrong. The two motored ahead of me at a pretty good click and I realized that being light weight with gear here was of utmost importance.

Views abound, but the most impressive is Lizard Head, which is the summit in back. After erosion, looking here more like something else.

After a few hours and a strong sweat, we had reached a great view and decided that this was to be a good time to link a few turns together.

Couldn't pass this opportunity to make a few turns, after all we have hiked long enough. Picture at 12,500 feet.

The previous weeks had left gracious amounts of snow and here we enjoyed it as it met our expectations.

This snow field had a little more of a pitch, making the soft turns fun.

We found that not only was the hike a great joy, but upon further sight of the valley, how endless it was for adventures and truly how much it had to offer. There are two valleys and mountain ranges to explore that each hold a quadrant of dozens of ridges and valleys.

*Feature written and photographed by Phillips March 2003. All measurements, peak names were provided by US Forest service, Telluride mountain guides and were also confirmed by a crude altimeter. Pictured above are Andy Dappen and Mark Davis.



Telluride is a scenic drive from the western slope of Colorado. Approximately 2 hours from Grand Junction, 2 hours from Durango, 6 hours from Denver, 9 hours from Phoenix, 5 hours from Albequerque and 6 hours from Salt Lake City. Telluride Mountain Guides are knowledgeable experts in the area. They can guide you into some of the most remote areas, extreme terrain and make your visit all around very memorable. They can provide equipment for you and make you efficient in the back country. The particular trip featured here was hiking intensive. Telluride mountain guides can customize any trips needs. To reach them: (970) 728 - 6481 or (888) 586- 8365 or

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Globetrotter Adventures
Carbondale, CO 81623