Oscar’s calls to those longing for high country

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Oscar’s calls to those longing for high country

Views among the best in Colorado
Betsey Butler is about to top out on Oscar’s Pass, elevation 13,130 feet. Well below, the notorious switchback on Ophir Pass Road marks the beginning of the one-lane, talus shelf.
From the pass, Oscar’s Peak is a quick and simple ascent on a broad ridge of broken rock. Strong hikers will crest the roomy summit in under two hours.
From the juncture of Ophir Pass Road and Blixt Road, climb north up the south-facing wall of the east-west running ridge dominated by Silver Mountain. From Oscar’s Pass, climb 300 feet and 0.2 mile west to Oscar’s Peak.

Oscar’s calls to those longing for high country

Betsey Butler is about to top out on Oscar’s Pass, elevation 13,130 feet. Well below, the notorious switchback on Ophir Pass Road marks the beginning of the one-lane, talus shelf.
From the pass, Oscar’s Peak is a quick and simple ascent on a broad ridge of broken rock. Strong hikers will crest the roomy summit in under two hours.
From the juncture of Ophir Pass Road and Blixt Road, climb north up the south-facing wall of the east-west running ridge dominated by Silver Mountain. From Oscar’s Pass, climb 300 feet and 0.2 mile west to Oscar’s Peak.
Travel basics

Travel: The only navigation challenge is locating Blixt Road, which is one of several tracks branching north from Ophir Pass Road. In a four-wheel-drive vehicle with very high clearance, from Silverton continue north on U.S. Highway 550 toward Ouray for 4.8 miles and cut left on San Juan County Road 8. It is 4.1 miles to the top of the pass. On the west side, the road is much steeper, with big sharp rocks, dangerous for ordinary tires. At the end of the first traverse, there is a sharp switchback. Scan the road for upcoming vehicles. Wait until the road clears because the next mile is a no-pass zone. The narrow, rough, exposed shelf is etched into a talus slope. Unmarked Blixt Road is shortly past Chapman Gulch, 2 miles west of Ophir Pass. There is no parking at this juncture, so continue downhill 0.2 mile and park on the north side of the road in a pullout at Iron Spring. To access the hike in a two-wheel-drive vehicle, take CO 145 to Ophir. Blixt Road is approximately 1 mile east of town.

Distance and Elevation Gain: 5.8 miles roundtrip; 3,250 feet of climbing

Total Time: 3½ to 4½ hours

Difficulty: Historic wagon road; navigation easy; no exposure

Maps: Ophir; Telluride, Colorado 7.5’ USGS Quads or Apogee Mapping

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