Durango locals, Alice and her son Paul S. along with Sean E. linked up with myself and fellow guide Ryan to hike into Vestal Basin for some peak climbing and relaxation. Paul and I climbed Vestal Peak, 13,864, via its North Face dubbed ‘The Wham Ridge.” The route maxes out its difficulty at 5.4 and is mostly 4th class to 5.0 climbing with breath-taking exposure. All on great quality rock! We made excellent time from camp to summit in 4 hours. The weather was absolutely magnificent and we spent almost an hour on the summit. Following our descent we met up with Alice and Sean at Vestal Lake for a refreshing dip in the lake. We decided it was the long lost “fountain of youth” as Sean and I felt like young boys again. We spent an hour or two here eating lunch and enjoying the amazing views.
The next day Paul and I again left camp early and cruised up Arrow Peak’s, 13,803, Northeast ramp. Again, the weather cooperated well and we had a leisurely descent enjoying the fact that we were first on the summit that day. After snacking and taking a nap, we packed up camp and moved it to the Animas River at 8,800 feet. Here were made a great camp along the railroad tracks and again swam in the refreshing Animas River. The next day we loaded up our gear on the train and took it to Silverton. Ryan had been talking about the BBQ beef sandwich at The Handlebar restaurant for the previous 3 days, and it worked, all 5 of us ordered it; it was AWESOME!
With such amazing weather and sociable people, this trip couldn’t have gone better. Successful peak climbs, lots of laughs, too many brain melting riddles and cold, cold water swimming. Thanks for a great time and hope to climb Sunlight Spire with you soon Paul!