Road is Hikers' Lament, Jeepers' Delight | Outdoor Channel
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Road is Hikers' Lament, Jeepers' Delight

By: R. Scott Rappold

Permitted use provided by: Boulder Weekly

Sorry, guys, just a little rock in the road there.

The “rock,” a German shepherd-size boulder, jarred us, but it was otherwise no match for Jess Caton’s hand-built, heavily modified Jeep. The road is one of the worst — or best, depending on your interest in rock crawling — in Colorado, the often-loathed, sometimes-controversial forest track known as Lake Como Road.

It is the launching point for climbs of Sangre de Cristo fourteeners Blanca and Little Bear peaks and Ellingwood Point, and vehicles are allowed high in the basin. But few drive here.

Spend two hours creeping seven miles up, over rock walls and through talus fields, and you’ll see why. It’s a perilous, technical drive known for shredding stock trucks and SUVs and challenging the skills of the hardiest Jeepers. In the 12 years Caton has been a search-and-rescue volunteer, as many people — four — have died in road accidents as have died climbing the peaks above, he said.

“It’s perilous, even to walk on it,” said Donna Mabry, president of Alamosa Volunteer Search and Rescue. “It’s a hoof- and it’s an ankle-twister, just walking it. It’s like walking in an empty creek bed.”

“You have to have some nerves of steel to drive that,” she said.


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