Last Easter, I joined three hardy adventurers on an attempted ski traverse of the mighty San Juan range in southwestern Colorado. We'd hoped to travel 65 miles along the Continental Divide from Silverton to Wolf Creek Pass. The story of what happened along the way, as well as the lessons I learned from our two leaders -- 68-year-old Denny Hogan and 70-year-old Matt Wells, who was skiing on two artificial hips -- made for fun writing material.
Outside published this digital feature in May, recounting the trip and sharing some of the wisdom Tim Cron and I gained from Hogan and Wells. You can find it at this link: www.outsideonline.com/2304031/couple-geezers-traverse-san-juans
In addition, here are some photos that didn't make the story.
Wells - aka Uncle Fuzz or Mateo - skis past the Grenadiers subrange early in the trip.
Dry ground made this Hunchback Pass campsite attractive, but hurricane-force winds overnight reminded us of the perils of sleeping above treeline.
From left, Wells, Jerry Roberts, Hogan, and Peter Lev: friends for decades, adventurers still.
Nestling in for the evening at Highland Mary Lakes.
Hogan might be the most accomplished mountain man you've never heard of.
Here he skins across the Rio Grande near its headwaters. The rest of us took off our boots and forded the river, but Denny figured his skins were already wet, so why not just keep 'em on and follow the rocks?
On our way to Stony Pass on Day 5, with temps in the single digits and a biting wind in our faces.
Hogan and Wells on Stony Pass outside Silverton. These two have been romping around the natural world together for nearly 50 years.
Cron takes advantage of fresh snow on Green Mountain for our first powder turns of the trip.
The four of us on a chilly morning up high.
And so it ends. On our way from Silverton back to Ridgway, Cron and I watch the San Juans fade into the background once more.