Our Introduction to the Indian Peaks Wilderness

I may have been slow to warm up to the idea, but I know for a fact that some of Colorado’s finest mountains are not 14,000 ft. In an effort to find some good peaks near Denver, I did some research on the Indian Peaks Wilderness a.k.a. the IPW. Our first trip to the IPW was on Memorial Day. I had lofty plans of doing a snow climb on Mt. Neva. Like most of the Colorado Rockies, the IPW got slammed with snow during the 2010/11 winter and the trailhead sign was almost completely covered. Needless to say, route finding was a challenge. We never made it to Mt. Neva, but we still had a fun day.

In August we decided to return and climb Mt. Neva’s North ridge. The trail starts from the Fourth of July trailhead outside Nederland, CO. On Friday, we followed the Arapahoe Pass Trail for about 2 miles and setup camp 1/4 mile shy of the old mine. Saturday morning we were up early for our summit attempt.

A creek along the Arapahoe Pass Trail. Hiking poles were helpful.

Mt. Neva coming into view over Lauren’s shoulder.

From camp, the hike up to Arapahoe Pass wasn’t too bad. (Side note: going to Arapahoe Pass would be an excellent day hike)

Early morning light hits Mt. Neva

From the pass, we gained Mt. Neva’s North ridge. The ridge is considered class 3 with a couple class 4 sections.

Lauren along one section of the ridge.

The route starts on the right of this photo and works to the high point on the left.

The ridge was super fun and had stunning views of the surrounding IPW, James Peak Wilderness, and some RMNP. The descent was a bit sketchy (loose rock). We were also glad that we packed our ice axes…we were still able to descend a few hundred vertical feet on snow.

Something tells me that this lake isn’t melting out completely this summer.

Looking up after descending.

I know it was a long day for Lauren, but she handled the mileage well. Once back at camp, we packed up and headed out.