Jupiter Mountain – 13,830 ft.
Looking back, skiing Jupiter Mountain, 13,830 ft., might have been our most straightforward day of our whole Weminuche Wilderness traverse.
The day before, we rode the train from Durango and hiked the 5-mile Needle Creek Trail up into Chicago Basin, camping close to the base of Jupiter. In the morning we loosely followed the summer hiking trail towards Columbine Pass and at tree line we turned east and skinned up Jupiter’s Southwest Face. A short, airy scramble east along the the ridge led to the summit.
Jupiter’s summit offers incredible views of the nearby 14ers, as well as Monitor Peak, Jagged, and the vast Weminuche Wilderness. Knowing that we had a full day ahead of us— we had to ski down, break camp, and move into position for Pigeon and Turret peaks the next day— we didn’t spend too much time soaking it all in. We started off the summit to the south (which was the only continuous ski line off the top) and traversed towards a small couloir that dropped down the mountain’s northwest side. Eventually we made it back to the sun-softened slopes of the southwest face we had skinned, and skied all the way back to camp.
It was as easy as it gets in the Weminuche. As soon as we packed up camp and loaded the “pigs” on our backs, we were on our way up and over a pass and down into to No Name Basin where we would set up a high camp at 12,000 ft. for the night. The next morning we planned to attempt two more Centennial Peaks.