This was another lazy fall weekend involving a casual alpine start that did not aid in my training for the upcoming sufferfest season. We had been enjoying some late fall start times opting for some extra hours sleeping in.
We arrived at the trailhead at 8:55 am Sunday morning. Gambling with Abasin traffic for opening day, we reluctantly left a little later than usual but lucked out with little i70 traffic. There was more snow on Montezuma road than I expected based on previous conditions reports. The last storm system apparently dropped lower in elevation than originally anticipated. Most of it melted out by afternoon aside from the shaded sections on the road.
The snow on the road was well packed down and easy to drive with just a couple inches of coverage. The trailhead is small and only accommodates a handful of cars, especially with snow filling in the shoulders.
We departed the vehicle at 9:08 am and started up the trail. The approach is mild even with ice and snow present on the trail, which melted by afternoon. Most of the trail was dry with intermittent snow and ice until around 11,500 feet where everything was mostly snow covered.
The trail navigates a few gentle switchbacks with steady mellow elevation gain until reaching the basin. In the basin the snow was patchy with some tundra exposed and some drifts up to a foot or more. The slope ascending the ridge is mild with options to ascend directly or contour to a saddle and gently gain the remaining crest. There was a small cairn at the junction from the Lenawee mountain biking trail that heads directly up and over Abasin to the split where you can gain the ridge.
We topped out on Southwest Lenawee around 12:30 pm and enjoyed the summit to ourselves for nearly 45 minutes. Observing the skiers below enjoying opening day at Abasin we snacked on our sour patch kids and took photos of them enjoying the summit show.
Since we were in a lazy fall summit mood we abandoned the idea of the traverse over to Lenawee mountain for another day. Our buddy James messaged my inReach on the summit from another peak, Mount Yale, and we coordinated a happy hour later at New Terrain.
We headed down the mountain at a leisurely pace with an easy walk ahead of us on mostly tundra and small patches of snow. We did finally see three other hikers on the descent, but otherwise had the trail to ourselves again. Back at the car at 2:44 pm the road was fairly melted and muddy on the way out. Surprisingly we beat i70 traffic down and back to Golden. Another great casual fall 13er on a beautiful day in Colorado!