Friday, August 22, 2008

Mosquito Pass

We finally made it to the trailhead of Mosquito Pass the afternoon of August 17, 2008. I was so excited because Mosquito is the highest vehicular pass in the United States. Sure, there are roads that go higher, such as the Pikes Peak and Mt. Evans roads, but those are not passes since you go back down the way you came up. Imogene Pass is the second highest vehicular pass and it's elevation is only 71 feet lower than Mosquito. We began the pass from the Fairplay/Alma side. This fancy sign is seen close to the ghost town of Mosquito. Supposedly the name of the town came from a town meeting in which a mosquito had been squished in the middle of their list of proposed names for their new town. It was obviously cloudy and snowing at higher elevations when we started up the pass. The road was pretty tame for awhile. There is a private drive to the South London Mine on the left side of the road.
Snowing in August.
First view of the North London Mill. I also found a couple of places that called this the New London Mine. I'm not sure which one is correct, but there is supposed to be a tunnel from this mine to the South London Mine down below.
A closer view of whatever the heck the name of this mine is.
Three Jeeps were ahead of us on the shelf road where you start to steadily climb and the road becomes rocky and rough.
These three Jeeps were together and believe it or not, they found places to pull over to let us by. It was very nice of them, but that's really the only thing that scares me on Jeep trails, meeting up with traffic head on or having to go around someone. Of course, Jay drove around them without a problem.
View of how rocky the road becomes.
A pika was running around at my side of the car. He was so fast he was really hard to take a picture of.
The Mosquito Pass summit, 13,185 feet!! The summit was pretty clear, only a few slushy and muddy spots, but it was lightly snowing. We heard that four Jeeps were up there earlier in the summer and got stuck in deep snow.
There is a memorial at the summit for Reverand John L. Dyer. According to the book Backcountry Adventures Colorado, he began his journey in 1860 to preach the gospel to prospectors and miners in Colorado's mountain camps. He didn't have enough money for a horse or wagon, so he made 11-feet long ski-snowshoes and risked his life many times to reach remote places. He was nicknamed, "The Snowshoe Itinerant."
Heading down the west side of the pass, Leadville was hiding there somewhere. On a clear day I'm sure you can see Leadville clearly from the summit.
Rocky, steep and wet trail on the west side of the pass.
Finally you can see the sun sort of shining on Leadville in the center here.
Entering Leadville with the impressive Mount Massive ahead. Mosquito Pass definitely deserves it's trail rating of being moderate, maybe difficult in bad weather conditions. Our Jeep Unlimited Rubicon handled the pass with ease.


Joe said...

Hey fantastic review of Mosquito pass!! Im planning on doing this tomorrow with my 2 door sahara but was wondering if you new of any number to call for trail conditions? Its been raining pretty good here so im wondering if im getting myself into some deep snow. Thank you!

Love the pics too, are you on ? good spot to get jeep information and CO trail meetups.

Lisa Wilson said...

I'm not sure who to contact for trail conditions around there, but maybe start with the Lake County offices and if they don't know, surely they could tell you who to call. Thanks for the nice comments! I'll have to check out the forum.

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Julie from Kansas said...

There is a ranger's office (Nat. Forest Service) in Fairplay- info' on surrounding area. We went by there today (a Saturday) on our way to Mosquito Pass and they were open. One snow drift just pass the mine made us turn around (stock 4X4 Dodge Ram truck). Scenery to die for!!!

Anonymous said...

South Park Ranger District
Fairplay, CO 80440