Added by Joshua Harrington
Often hiked in the summer, the trail up to Mt. Flora is a great Winter adventure as well. Bring your snowshoes and a warm jacket... it gets windy!
My friend Austin and I hiked up to Mt Flora last year on what was probably the coldest day ever. Ever? It was 9 degrees at the Berthoud Pass parking lot and we had 32mph winds nearly the whole way. We estimated the temp to be around -28ºF with the windchill... brrrr!
From the Berthoud Pass parking lot you can head straight up the mountain, staying 100yds or so left of the radio tower on top of Colorado Mines Peak (the first peak you come to). We sort of traversed around it and found the trail (Continental Divide Trail) to Mt. Flora.
The hike is straightforward, but I will say that you should take precautions to ensure you know where the trail is at all times. We weren't quite in white-out conditions, but your footprints disappear pretty quickly as the ridge is highly exposed. We used a GPS on the way back which took us off the ridge and onto the north side (where all the snow is here). This section was really scary for us as the angle was perfect for an avalanche. Luckily there was quality snow on the slope and we had no issues. I would advise staying on the ridge the whole way there and back.
Since the ridge is so exposed and gets windblown, you don't get a huge accumulation of snow. The beginning 20 minutes of the trail [for us] was waist deep powder so bring your bigger snowshoes! All-in-all it was a challenging hike as communication was all non-verbal, it was cold as ever, and we had to practice both avalanche avoidance protocol (which we sort of did) and our route finding skills.
Even though it was cold I wore a short sleeve baselayer, a long sleeve baselayer, a fleece, and a softshell. I took a down jacket, but never needed it as the wind made you work hard for the hike and kept me warm.
- Unfrozen water (don't leave your bladder hose exposed)
- Windproof/waterproof shell
- Warm baselayer
- Down jacket
- Ski goggles / mountaineering sunglasses
- Baclava or some sort of face shield
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