Whitehouse Mountain

wildflowers, spreading globeflower, San Juan Mountains, Colorado, June
Globeflowers : Prints Available

On Friday Claudia and I went backpacking to a lesser-known basin in the Sneffels Range.

wildflowers, spreading globeflower, San Juan Mountains, Colorado, June
Globeflowers #2 : Prints Available

Summer is in full swing in the mountains! Except for a few lingering patches, most of the snow is gone and the tundra has come alive with its vibrant green grasses and early summer wildflowers like these Spreading Globeflowers (I think that’s what they are called).

Potosi Peak, San Juan Mountains, Colorado, June, sunrise
Potosi Peak Sunrise : Prints Available

Sunrise light on Potosi Peak (13,786 ft.) – June.

We woke up at 3:30am to hike up to a high saddle from where I shot the sunrise light on Potosi Peak, one of the giants of the range. (For reference on how little snow we have this year, check out the photos from skiing/snowboarding down Potosi’s north couloir in June a couple years ago).

Potosi Peak, Whitehouse Mountain, San Juan Mountains, Colorado, June, hiking
Hiking on Whitehouse Mountain with a view of Potosi Peak (13,786 ft.) – June.

Our goal for Saturday was to hike up Whitehouse Mountain, a seldom-climbed mountain on the northern end of the Sneffels Range.

Hiking up the northwest couloir of Whitehouse Mountain

Despite feeling like a zombie from the stupid-early start, here’s Claudia powering up the northwestern couloir which allows passage to the upper slopes of Whitehouse. We were stoked to find no snow in here, since we had left our crampons and ice axes at home.

Summit of Whitehouse Mountain

After a pleasant stroll along the nearly mile-long summit plateau, we reached the somewhat anti-climatic 13,492 ft. summit of Whitehouse Mountain. We were the first to sign the summit register this year!

5,700 feet over Ouray on Whitehouse Mountain

There’s the town of Ouray 5,700 feet down below!

Mt. Sneffels from Whitehouse Mountain

Nice view of Mt. Sneffels on the way back.

Green tundra in Colorado.

Back in greener pastures.

We napped a few hours in the tent, cooked some cup-o-noodles for lunch, packed up, hiked out, and were back in Ouray by afternoon, looking back up at the summit we had just been standing on that morning!

10 thoughts on “Whitehouse Mountain

  1. That’s a good reminder of what a big snow year 2011 was… Only a week later and there is no comparison in terms of snowpack. On another note – your photos are awesome as usual.

    1. Oh yeah, you’re right! I didn’t realize that we’d skied it only a week earlier in June that year… Wow, what a difference… It’s fully summertime up there right now! I wonder if we’ll ever get to ski in the San Juans in June again… 🙁

  2. Hi Jack,
    Thanks so much for sharing this amazing experience! makes me really miss the San Juan’s!!! I noted your question about the name of the wildflower you photographed… you were correct it is the globe flower… Trollius laxus. I thought you might like to know about a great wildflower app.. if you have a iphone and perhaps some others? it is called: Colorado Rocky Mountain Wildflowers by high country apps. It was developed by a friend of mine, Al Schnieder. he also has a great web site http://www.swcoloradowildflowers.com He does a great job with photos and identification of wildflowers. Just thought it might be fun for you to have when you are out and about photographing wildflowers.
    Thanks again for sharing your talents and the amazing San Juan’s!!
    Priscilla Sherman

    1. Wow, looks like a lot of snow up there! A couple weeks ago I saw a snow data map showing that the Front Range was at 140% of average snowpack, and the San Juans were at 40%. I should have spent some time snowboarding up there this spring!

      We’ve been getting a little bit of rain off an on around here lately; hopefully we get more rain consistently over the next month, then the wildflowers could be good!

  3. You’re making me awfully jealous, Jack! It’ll be at least another month before I can get out and about anywhere, sigh. I love the human-in-landscape shots, especially the one of Claudia and Potosi.

  4. Hey Dude. Today I picked up a few vacation days next week. Weds-Sun. Curious, not really looking for wildflowers quite yet but possibly a summit, sunset shot or two. Your pics give me the impression that the Dallas Divide area of San Juans are ready for summit shooting already.

    Two questions…Are the Needles in the same shape?

    When do you predict the wildflower season in the San Juans this season?

    Let me know. As usual, love to meet up some day out in the maountains….

    1. Hey Kane, yeah it’s pretty much game on around here now. I assume that the Needles are similar; you could check 14ers.com for maybe some trip reports that show the conditions. Of course in there you’re dealing with some more serious passes, etc.

      As for the wildflowers, I think it’s pointless to speculate. I guess it depends on how much rain we get, etc. Probably just like usual – July-ish.

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