Mountain Town Roundup: Visitors flock to Hanging Lake after reopening |

Mountain Town Roundup: Visitors flock to Hanging Lake after reopening

Compiled by ROBERT ALLEN
summit daily news

Kelley Cox Post Independent

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – This has been anything but the trail less traveled.

Since the reopening of the Hanging Lake Trail on Aug. 16, hikers have given an entirely new meaning to the word popular.

“It’s been overwhelming,” said Pat Thrasher, public affairs officer for the White River National Forest. “This is more than we anticipated. It’s the consequence of the trail being closed for three months.”

He said that officials from the Forest Service and Colorado Department of Transportation can’t remember the trail and the Hanging Lake rest area being so jam-packed.

The Forest Service doesn’t keep official numbers on visitors to Hanging Lake, but it’s estimated that 80,000 hikers a year make the trek.

The Forest Service even stationed a ranger at the rest area to handle traffic and parking control on the weekends, which since Aug. 16 have seen a huge number of visitors. The parking area has been packed to capacity, forcing people to wait for openings, park illegally or find alternative transportation to the trailhead from the Grizzly Creek or Bair Ranch rest areas.

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Thrasher said that trail traffic should lessen some now that Labor Day has come and gone, but he has some simple advice for locals who might want to hike the picturesque 1.5-mile trail.

“I would recommend that they do it in the middle of the week,” he said.

The trail was closed for most of the summer due to construction of a new boardwalk and work to keep sediment from draining into the lake.

Thrasher said there will be one more mid-week closure of the trail, bike path and rest area for a helicopter to bring the rest of the material from the boardwalk work off the mountain.

The hiking trail will also be closed the weekend of Sept. 18-19 for more work to be done.

Two volunteer groups, Outdoor Colorado and Roaring Fork Outdoor Volunteers, will conduct work on switchbacks, build stone steps and perform overall maintenance on the treadway of the trail.

Volunteers are still needed for next weekend’s trail work. Volunteers must pre-register to ensure that adequate quantities of tools, supplies and food are available. To register with Outdoor Colorado, for one or both days, go to, or contact or (303) 715-1010, ext. 112. The minimum age for volunteers is 16. Volunteers should bring water and work gloves, and wear sunscreen, sturdy boots and layered clothing.

– Dale Shrull/ Glenwood Springs Post Independent

SANDHURST, ENGLAND – Ray Edwards from Sandhurst, England had both legs and both arms amputated at the age of 32 in 1987 after contracting septicaemia.

Since then he has cycled, skied and co-piloted a plane. His next challenge is to climb Africa’s highest peak.

At 19,334ft the inactive volcano is one of the world’s highest freestanding mountains.

Edwards is trying to raise awareness of amputees and funds for his charity, Limbcare.

He was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a cancer of the lymph glands, in 1980, and went into remission after undergoing radiotherapy and chemotherapy.

He lost his spleen in 1981 due to the cancer and six years later he contracted septicaemia, blood poisoning, through a cut and lost his limbs.

He said: “They took my arms and legs off on Friday, 13th March.

“It was one of the darkest moments. My life’s been a bit of a battle but I got over it.

“This [climb] is going to be a personal battle and I want to achieve that, and I want to inspire other people.

“So by achieving it myself, I can say to people ‘come on, life’s not too bad really.’

“It’s very rare for a quad amputee to do it, only one other person has done it, a Scotsman who is a mountaineer.”

Mr Edwards has had special prosthetic legs created for the climb and has been training on the Spanish island of Lanzarote on mountains with similar terrain to Kilimanjaro.

He will begin the climb later this week and expects the ascent to take seven days and the descent two days.


SALT LAKE CITY – Utah resident Apa Sherpa traveled to Nepal recently to climb Mount Everest for a record 20th time so he could scatter the ashes of explorer Sir Edmund Hillary at the peak. But, the BBC reported Friday, that plan has changed.

After Buddhist lamas warned that scattering the ashes would bring bad luck, Apa Sherpa and the other Sherpas in the climbing group said the ashes instead would be kept at a monastery near Everest, the BBC reported. Mount Everest is considered a sacred site for Buddhist Sherpas.

Apa Sherpa had planned to scatter the ashes to honor Hillary, who was the first to reach the peak in 1953. He died in 2008.

– The Salt Lake Tribune

Climbing community upset as Rainier plans 67% fee increase

TACOMA, WASH. – Officials at Mount Rainier National Park want to increase the fee to climb the Northwest’s tallest mountain by as much as 67 percent next year and the mountaineering community isn’t happy.

This week, park superintendent Dave Uberuaga will propose to the National Park Service to increase the fee for an annual Rainier climbing pass from $30 to as much as $50. He says the increase is necessarily to properly train climbing rangers and fund the climbing program.

Uberuaga may also propose the fee potentially increase annually based on the U.S. Consumer Price Index.

On Sept. 7, three climbing activist groups sent a letter to park service director Jon Jarvis protesting the increase as well as a 150 percent hike at Denali National Park.

– Craig Hill/ The News


RIDGWAY – A site northeast of County Road 10 and U.S. Hwy. 550 in Ouray County will be the home for a two-megawatt photovoltaic solar energy array system built by SunEdison.

The power generated by the project will be sold to the San Miguel Power Association, providing approximately 2 percent of its energy needs, and will be the largest solar project built for power distribution to a rural electric cooperative in the state.

The solar farm project will be located on a 20-acre site being leased to SunEdison by Angel Ridge Ranch, LLC. SunEdison has submitted a special-use permit application to Ouray County for the project and if the process proceeds as anticipated, groundbreaking will begin sometime this fall with a spring completion when the facility will be fully operational.

SunEdison will finance, design and own the power plant, and will sell the power it produces to SMPA with a fixed price over a span of 25 years. As planned, solar voltaic panels will be installed on a long rotating pipe that will turn every 15 minutes, following the sun across the sky throughout the day. At night and during periods of high winds, the panels will stow parallel to the ground.

– Gus Jarvis/ The Watch Newspapers

ROCK SPRINGS, Wyo. – The Army Corps of Engineers has extended by about four years the time it will take to study a $3 billion plan to pipe water from southwest Wyoming to Colorado.

Project manager Rena Brand says the proposal requires more time because it is so complex.

Brand tells the Rock Springs Rocket-Miner that a draft environmental impact statement on the project will be released in 2016, rather than in 2012 as originally planned. A final decision by the corps will be released about 2018 instead of 2014.

The project is proposed by Aaron Million, a Fort Collins, Colo., businessman would tap water from the Green River and the Flaming Gorge Reservoir to help supply Colorado’s populous Front Range.

Local governments in southwestern Wyoming have mobilized to fight the project.

– The Associated Press