Engineer Mountain – a favorite of locals

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Engineer Mountain – a favorite of locals

Visit ‘Bus Stop,’ ‘Social Rock’ on way to summit
The imposing north face of Engineer Mountain often is surrounded by a beautiful array of mountain flowers. Here, Elaine Boutilier eyes an early fall dusting of snow.
Thomas Ward negotiates the short but tricky crux. If it goes smoothly, you’ll be up it in about three minutes.
A stone bivouac on Engineer’s northeast ridge – seen below, with the red band beneath it – is a good place for those who aren’t confident of their climbing ability, or the weather, to turn around.
Trail basics

The trail part of this climb is a pathway suitable for everyone. It rises through extravagant flowers and old-growth trees to the Engineer plateau with its flamboyant floral tapestry. The scale is exhilarating. Blocky talus dominates the northeast ridge route. An exposed crux turns this hike into a climb on the upper portion.
Travel: From Durango, drive north on U.S. Highway 550 for 35 miles to Coal Bank Pass. Turn left (west) 0.1 mile north of the pass (mile marker 56.9) onto a short dirt road that leads to trailhead parking. There is a seasonal outhouse on the east side of the highway but no water.
Distance and elevation gain: 6 miles and 2,378 feet
Total hiking time: 3½ to 5 hours
Difficulties: Route on mountain is off-trail, although navigation easy; considerable exposure for about 50 feet at the crux.
Map: Engineer Mountain 7.5 U.S. Geological Survey quad

Engineer Mountain – a favorite of locals

The imposing north face of Engineer Mountain often is surrounded by a beautiful array of mountain flowers. Here, Elaine Boutilier eyes an early fall dusting of snow.
Thomas Ward negotiates the short but tricky crux. If it goes smoothly, you’ll be up it in about three minutes.
A stone bivouac on Engineer’s northeast ridge – seen below, with the red band beneath it – is a good place for those who aren’t confident of their climbing ability, or the weather, to turn around.
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