My last two summit attempts verged on being truly epic failures. The first one (Shepard) involved six hours of bushwhacking–in the deadfall and regrowth of an old pine forest that burned down in 1996. That didn’t go well. The second (Carter) was going great, till seven hundred feet below the summit, when we found a trio of hefty grizzlies hanging out between us and our objective.
Right now bears are up in the talus, eating the cutworm moths, and the chances of running into one are good. Crosby is pretty close to Carter, in an area known for its dense bear population, but Kristie and I decided to give it a go.
The trailhead for the Brown Basin trail is at the parking area for a crazy old ghost town named Kirwin. In days of yore, the town was home to over 200 people: wealth-seekers come to mine its silver and gold. In 1907 a vicious winter killed some unfortunate residents; the rest packed up and escaped when they could and the town has been abandoned ever since. The scars they left on the land are sadly quite visible.
The hike up from Kirwin to Greybull Pass is easy, though the trail is braided and disappears at random. We lost it a few times, but it didn’t really matter as the terrain is easy to navigate. We kept a keen eye on the ridges, watching for bears, but all we ever saw were a few old tracks.
Getting to the summit involves an elevation gain of about 3300 feet. After reaching Greybull Pass, we hiked up Crosby on intermittent game trails. The terrain looks rough but it’s not too bad–as long as you’re braced to deal with a few false summits!
The hike down was spent enjoying the views and picking out new peaks to bag — Brown Basin is ringed with beautiful mountains. Cascade, Spar, Chief and Bald Mountains are all over 12,000 feet and Mt Sniffel needs to be climbed because of its beauty. I’m guessing the road will shut down soon as winter creeps into the hills, but next spring I’ll be back in search of some summits!