We came down Annie Basin and Castle Creek Road, and we started on the north end of Pearl Pass with sun shining in a clear sky. Due to a lot of spring and early summer runoff the creek was running a bit high, so the first water crossing was a lot of fun. Further up the trail, there was actually a bridge that was partially washed out. We got out and looked at the bridge and determined it was safe to travel over, so Jeffrey went first by hugging far left side. He had no issues making it across. Everyone else followed along without any problems.
A little way up the trail we came to the start of Montezuma Basin trail. We ran it, really enjoying the views, and then we came back out and continued up Pearl Pass. The trail became significantly more difficult after leaving the Montezuma Basin trailhead. While we were on Montezuma Basin trail it had begun to lightly rain and it made the rocks a bit slippery.
While heading up the second half we passed by a vehicle and started up through some chunky sections. Jeffrey's long wheelbase made things look easy and he climbed right up and through the rocky parts. He parked and ran back to get pictures of everyone else. All of the shorter wheelbased vehicles had some issues but no one had any major problems. Once we were all through, Jeffrey helped guide the other vehicle through.
We continued on up to the pass and got to about a mile from the summit when we found our first snow field. It was about 300 feet long, and Jeffrey charged right into it, starting to clear a path through. He pushed on through without too much trouble, and then he continued on ahead to make sure there was somewhere to go once everyone was across it. Gary, Walt, Mike and Matt all crossed the field without issue.
Jeffrey crossed another snow field and came to yet another snow field that was about 200 feet from the summit. Due to the angle the slope was on and the depth of snow we decided that it wasn't passable.
By this point, Gary, Walt and Mike had crossed the second snow field. Matt started across the second snow field but he became stuck. We tied him off to a boulder and tried to winch him out. While trying to winch forward and gunning it he slipped a bead on his front driver's side tire and his tire was no longer on his rim. By this time, the other vehicle had caught up to us and the driver stopped to help us.
We worked on Matt's tire and eventually managed to get it back on the rim. Matt aired the tire up and was able to get himself free from the snow. We all turned around and headed back out since we couldn't get over the pass from this side.
On our way out, the other vehicle ended up with a bent steering linkage. We stopped to help him out and at that point noticed that Mike's tire was hissing slightly because he had ripped his valve stem off. Mike and Jeff went down the trail a bit further to find a level spot while Walt, Gary and Matt stayed to help fix the the other vehicle's issue. Mike's took no time at all to change out his hissing tire, and it wasn't long before the whole group was together again. We made it back out to Castle Creek Road, and took Taylor Pass over to catch Pearl Pass from the other side the next day. At this point we also said goodbye to the driver of the other vehicle.
After a night of thunderstorms and a day of rain we made it over Taylor Pass and Italian Creek to get to the southern entrance to Pearl Pass on the following day. It was a cooler, rainier day and we all just wanted to get through the trail and head toward home. We fueled up in Crested Butte and started the trail.
We ate lunch on the trail and stayed in our vehicles because of the weather. Jeffrey was the only one to brave the rain in order to get a lunchtime picture. The south side of the trail went much smoother and due to weather only a few pictures were taken. We made it up that side to the pass but didn't get a picture at the top. We headed back out and headed for Tincup Pass and home.
Reports from Other Days: 2
Use the arrows or dots to flip through the previews of the other reports for Pearl Pass. Click one of them to read more and see all of the photos from that day.