Pt.3:  Ouray to Engineer

Course Photographs by Klas Eklof, July 2006
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From Ouray, at mile 43.9, begins the longest continuous climb of the clockwise course, 9.4 miles and 5,040 vertical feet, for a comfortable average grade of 536.2 feet per mile.

On the switchbacks above the highway 550 tunnel, looking north down at the town of Ouray.

On the switchbacks.
A trail work crew of Hardrock runners, contemplating the destruction of the course by a recent slide.

Nearing the top of the switchbacks, the first glimpse of Ouray Bear Creek. Our trail will ascend the left side of the valley.

The upper trail work crew continues, up.

At the top of the switchbacks, the trail leaves the shale and enters the igneous. Miners blasted this route out of the side of the cliffs.

300 foot drop-off and no guardrails on the curves.

Not a naturally occurring ledge.

Most run this section at nightime.

After Grizzly Bear Mine the cliffs disappear and the trail hugs the creek.

Looking west, back down the Ouray Bear Creek Valley.
The flat-topped peak on the left is Potosi [13,786'], the east face. From Oscar's Pass we saw the west face.

Scott Brockmeier climbs through the random grove of aspens, just below Yellow Jacket Mine.
Falling aspen leaf at upper right.

Yellow Jacket Mine [11,100']. Trail on the left.

Treeline on Ouray Bear Creek, looking west back down the valley, from very near the location of the Engineer aid station.

Now 1/4-mile above treeline, again looking west back down the valley. Engineer aid station will be located at the little flat spot on the treeline horizon, left-of-center.

A 1/2-mile above treeline the trail crosses the Middle Fork Upper Ouray Bear Creek [12,000'].

Upper Ouray Bear Creek Basin.
The pyramid peak right-of-center, with it's top obscured by clouds, is Engineer Mountain [13,218']. Our trail proceeds up and over the saddle to it's right.
This shot also shows some of the amazing wildflowers on the course, including the rarely seen Firmussaxum Viadesignatio.

Zoom-in of Engineer Mountain [13,218'] and our trail's target saddle [12,910']. The high-spot on the horizon at dead-center is Oh! Point.

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