TR: Colorado High Country Muni, Photos Galore

Imagine the most perfect Colorado day.
Sunny without being too hot.
Marshmallow clouds floating lazy through a clear blue sky.
Cool breezes calmly brushing through your hair.
A scent of wildflowers tickling your nose.

A rare day in the Colorado high country, perfect for an epic adventure of singletrack, one wheeled, adreneline fueled tour of the best alpine ride around.
The Colorado Trail put on it’s finest display today and we were there to soak it all in.

Normally, an summer, alpine attempt in the Colorado high country requires a crack of dawn departure and a race to the summits before noon when the cooling rains and the deadly lightening make their appearance.
Not on this day! Absoulutely no thunderstorms predicted, no scary dark clouds, no prickly ozone standing up the hair on the back of your neck as you hurry over the passes.
Just blue, blue, blue skies and fluffy small clouds greeting you like your best BFF friend all day long.

Mike and I have tried for two summers now to put this ride together and today was the day. We met in Leadville, the highest city in America, and proceeded to drop off cars and perform the holy ritual of the shuttle.
We finally arrived at the parking lot of Copper Mountain Ski Area and started our ride at a casual 9:00 AM.
Starting under the American Flyer chair lift, oddly not moving at all, like a slow, surreal line of empty chairs going nowhere. A ghost resort where the white ribbons of parka clad ski enthusiasts were replaced by a green hill of long grasses performing their turns in the breeze.

The parking lot starts at 9800 feet above sea level, we began the slow climb up the Colorado Trail to Searle Pass. We followed the trail through dark pine forests, passing Janet’s Cabin (a popular winter ski hut) meadows of willows, and finally got above tree line to chorus of colors from the remaining wildflowers that still clung to the slopes. We reached Searle Pass with two mountain bikers who were amazed that two unicycle guys somehow managed to keep up with them from the start. In the 7 miles to the pass we climbed 2600 feet. Mike could ride most of it while I hiked behind sweating a sea of salt.

Mike climbing.

Break time, that little notch in the horizon just left of center is the first pass we are heading over:


The next traverse to Kokomo Pass was the narrowest singletrack I have ever seen. Barely wider than my 3" tire. Mostly un-ridable for me, Mike’s 29’er cleaned the whole few miles. My pedals seemed to strike the side of the deep cut trail throwing me off into grassy clumps lining the trail. The second half was much more 26’er friendly.

Amazing high alpine fields under a blue sky, a sky made even more bluer in the thin air. here we are contouring along a basin at 12,200 feet. The views are as breath taking as the lack of oxygen. We are riding unicycles at almost 2 1/2 miles in the sky, at 2.1/2 MPH. The moment does not go un-noticed as Mike and are grinning and high-fiving along the whole traverse.

The top, just before Kokomo Pass.

We drop a bit to Kokomo pass. We have been riding now 13 miles now, most of it above tree-line in the land of Marmots and Pika who make burrows among the clouds. We have seen no other humans for hours now, and enjoying every minute of it. Cameras get put away as we have 4 1/2 miles of descent into Camp Hale. Giddy with endorphines and Espresso flavored Gu we drop in and ride non-stop to the car along Cataract Creek. Mike found a waterfall down by the trailhead where we left the car and enjoyed some nice relaxing down-time waiting for me.

We left our shuttle car in the heart of Camp Hale, made famous as the ski-training grounds for the Army’s 10th Mtn Division before WWII. From these hallowed grounds the troops of the 10th mountain went to Italy and climbed some un-climbable cliffs to defeat the Nazis who were not expecting anyone to come that way. Many of the soldiers returned to Colorado and began most of the Ski areas that we enjoy today. I bet they never-ever expected their ski trails to be assualted by pale, crazed unicyclers.

This was my longest and most grueling Muni ride ever. I was sore and beat up, but also energized, amazed and grateful for being able to complete such an amazing ride.
Thanks to Mike from Aspen for putting it together, being such a great guy and amazing Muni-rider. Thanks, also, for the delicious Espresso Gu.
I cant wait to see your usual awesome pictures!

Copper Mtn to Camp Hale
17 miles
7 hours
Ascended 2600 ft
Descended 2800

S’more shots of Mike:

:astonished: That is so awesome! I truly with I could have joined you guys! Anyhow, I’m considering attempting a uni descent from the East Ridge of Mt. Elbert. The one that starts from Twin Lakes. This one. I’m encouraged that is totally rideable from the summit from this report. I believe they took the East Mt. Elbert trail like the one I’m planning on. Again I’ll be making my attempt on August 21st, early. PM me if your interested. I’ll be sure to take plenty of photos to document my epic. :smiley:

Great job on the ride and thanks for posting! I really enjoyed the read and looking at the pictures!

What a place! Thanks for posting that.


Gorgeous shots; I wish I could have been there. Next year!

Fantastic stuff!
Great pics!

What an epic day in the High Country of Colorado

Average riding elevation 3,200 meters - 10,600’
Average moving speed 5.5 km/hr - 3.4 mph too scenic to hammer it
Distance 27 km’s - 16.9 miles
Climbing 1166 meters - 3,826 feet
Descending 1294 meters -4,245 feet

Riding with Bondo was awesome, great to have a partner, and to see him accomplish his PB was great. Some of the best tundra riding ever:D and miles and miles of it. Endless views with no threat of lightning :astonished: made for relaxing MUni in (Gods Country), the Colorado High Country. I have ridden a couple of sections now of the CT, and it is incredible, 500 miles of it to explore. Next stop will be either the Collegiates section and or the San Juans.
I found myself saying things like “WOW”, and “Un----believable” all day long. The riding, (climbing) was very challenging, rooty and rocky in spots, but it was the altitude that would get the best of me more often. Ride a section, stop to let my heart catch up, and there Bondo would be, he is a fast hiker. So our pace was similar. Stops were necessary to just BE and meditate. Something about the stillness at altitude, or maybe that was my heat pounding:) telling me to stop.
The descent was soooo much fun, totally rideable, 3,000’-911 meters in 4 miles - 6.4 km’s, of jaw dropping singeltrak to the valley floor of CampHale. To think that these were the same mountains that the 10th mtn division trained in to fight a war on ski’s was inspiring to me. Made me realize how good life is now.
Even though my main goal of completing the whole loop was not achieved, my day was more complete and satisfying by watching Bondo clean that upper section above Kokomo Pass, brought goosebumps to my skin, Congrats Bondo!!! And then to see the look on his face at the end, after the first sip, (chug) of beer was priceless:)
Bondo, thanks for the post, not sure if I like seeing all the pics of me, hehee on the web, but it was a magical day. I will post some pics of you now. Peace and happiness to all, now get out and ride:D

If only I could understand what these guys were saying to me:D

This is Bondo, that was not:D


Wow, that’s beautiful, you must have had a fantastic time.

Nice shots and TR. We’ll be out there next summer for the annual TTips gathering at Indy Pass (around Memorial Day), maybe we can put together a long ride down below the snow line?

More shots of Bondo, he looks really cute in that fur coat :wink:

great write up, great shots…

mike: we’ve to meet and ride together one day! :smiley:

yes, we like the same high mountain riding style. i look at your pics often and want to be there, good stuff.
i will be back in europe this november for my daughters hockey, won’t have time for all day riding though. last year with my son and his hockey, we drove by your beautiful country a couple of times. my son had hockey games in lugano and in davos, simply beatiful area you live in. keep up the good riding!

…anyway, let me know, when you’re i my area!


Great write up and pictures, what a great place to ride.

Damn, that guy get around!


HA!! ^^^


Thanks for the great comments everyone.

Great pics, looks like it was an awesome ride.