Apache Peak

  • Apache Peak
  • 4097 m
  • Primary factor 336 m
  • Colorado
  • 2nd higest among the Indian Peaks
  • Location: North 40:3.51, West 105:39.07
  • Climbed September 23, 2000


How to get there: Drive past the small village of Nederland (west of Boulder) and continue north on Highway 72 for 14 miles to Ward. From there go left at the Forest Service road sign, the ranger up the road will collect 5 dollars and the road is paved all the way to Long Lake Trailhead next to a large parking lot.
Route description: The hike starts fairly flat between large trees. The trail then passes Long Lake. The approach continues to Isabelle Lake which is passed on the right hand side. From here for about another mile the trail climbs to a small lake without a name at 3481m. The next section is a small trail that heads (in switch-backs) straight up to the right, it is quite obvious. At the top of this slope the trail disappeared, possibly because of the snow that we ran into at this elevation. It is still quite obvious and fairly easy going to hit the distinct moraine at the lower end of the Isabelle Glacier (a very small glacier indeed, but since it has ice and even a small crevasse I guess the designation is acceptable). Climb near the left side of this icefield in a gentle arc to the left and the couloir (very wide at the bottom, becoming more defined, but still about 30m across higher up) cannot be missed. We had about 15 cm of new snowpack on the ice, making it quite easy to walk up in good steps. However, there was hard ice below and I would think crampons would be of considerable help at other times when? the ice has no snow on top of it. The couloir ends at about 3940m, from here the east face of the mountain consists of a boulderfield that is easy to climb. We had considerable new snow, hiding all the cracks and making everything a bit slippery. The optimal route should climb at an angle heading quite a bit to the left of what appears to be the highest point when viewed from below. We did go directly for the highest point on the horizon. This got us to the end of a fairly horizontal ridge going north-east from the summit at 4045m. This ridge provided a fun little scramble to the Apache summit, no technical difficulties.
Comments: Pål Jørgen 11 and I did this hike on a Saturday after being informed that his soccer game in Boulder was cancelled due to bad weather! Well, it was around 0 C and rain was coming down in Boulder. Up at Long Lake trailhead, the clouds were breaking and significant patches of blue sky and sunshine made the hike to Isabelle Lake quite pleasant. On the climb itself we had some dark clouds, some dense fog and some breaking blue sky. As long as the blue kept coming it seemed quite safe to complete the ascent. On the return we had mostly light snowfall, the car was covered. The hike took 4 hours to the summit and 2:45 on the return, all in all a very good day, also thinking about the 90 thousand that stayed inside their homes in Boulder (complaining??) about the miserable, cold weather.