2022 Broken Hand Pass Stewardship

2022 Broken Hand Pass Stewardship

August 30, 2022 by Calla Balliett

One of our favorite and oldest projects here at RMFI is our South Colony Lakes Project. The South Colony Basin sits in the Sangre de Cristo mountains just outside the town of Westcliffe. South Colony Basin is home to 2 alpine lakes and the trails for 3 fourteeners: Humboldt, Crestone Needle, and Crestone Peak. The trail leading up to Humboldt Peak was one of RMFI’s first projects back in the 90’s and one of our founder, Mark Hesse’s, favorites. RMFI got to continue the legacy in 2021 by working on the South Colony trail leading up to the base of Humboldt.

This year, RMFI continued the tradition by working on Broken Hand Pass, the trail that leads up to Crestone Needle and Crestone Peak. Since parts of Broken Hand Pass have become disguised over time from rock falls and slides, hikers have begun cutting through the delicate alpine in order to make their way up the mountain. Not only are these paths destructive to Colorado’s sensitive alpine, they can also often be more dangerous and difficult to navigate. We’re so proud of our crew for not only constructing an entirely new switchback in a trickier spot of the trail but for also adding many delineating features to the trail. Over the course of 30 workdays, RMFI built 48 rock steps, 147.5 square feet of rock retaining wall, 632.5 square feet of rubble wall, 6 cairns, moved 21.5 tons of rock, cleared 387 feet of trail, and so much more!

We are extremely grateful for all of the help we have gotten this summer on this project. A huge thank you to the Shoshone Specialty Pack String for hauling in much of our camping gear and tools earlier this summer. And a massive thank you to Colorado 4x4 Rescue and Recovery, CORE. RMFI was also super lucky to get many incredible volunteers who drove us in and out of the basin in 4WD vehicles. This help was instrumental for us to have the time and energy we needed to complete the work. Thank you to each individual volunteer who provided us with their time, we appreciate you so much! 

Photo by Rob Hoff Imagery - thank you for capturing the magic at this project!