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  • Writer's pictureJoanna Lee

Mount Cupid

Updated: Apr 23, 2023

April 11, 2021

Mt. Cupid (13,117 feet)

Route: Alltrails (from Loveland Pass)

3.7 miles; 1631 feet elevation gain

Total time: 2 hours

Loveland Pass is a great place for winter and spring climbs, if you can tolerate the wind. We did Mt. Cupid in March last year and knew it would be an early season one again this year. It is also a great test of fitness and a quick way to get exposure to high elevation hiking. When you park the car you are already at 11,800 feet and it is very steep for the first mile.

Brittany and I are training for the Leadville Heavy Half race on June 19. This race reaches 13,000+ feet at the highest point so high elevation training is important for the next two months. We have been hiking a lot at 9,000-11,500 feet throughout the winter to keep in shape but with the winter weather, wind and snow we have been waiting for a summit attempt. Depending on the weather and spring snow fall we will hopefully be getting up to 13,000 feet more frequently.

We left home today around 10 am and started hiking around 11:30 am. I had Kane with me (Nyx is recovering from her spay surgery) and Brittany had Gryff. It was an especially fun day because Josh (my fiance) and Grant (Brittany's husband) joined us, which doesn't happen very often. Parking on Loveland Pass on a weekend can be tricky but a lot of people are just there to take pictures and don't stay long. Today there were a few other hiking groups and a few backcountry skiing groups. We only saw one other group with a dog. From the parking area you can see your summit goal and it is a straightforward route to get there. This hike starts around 11,800 feet and climbs about 1,000 feet in the first mile, a tough start that gets your lungs burning especially when it's been months since you were up that high. This time last year we did the same hike, I remember struggling significantly on the first mile. Today I felt great which was reassuring that all my winter hiking has paid off.

Once you reach the top of the first incline around mile one you turn right to head to Mt. Cupid (and Grizzly Peak if you are making it a longer day; which many people were today). If you turn left you head to Mt. Sniktau, another easy early season summit. You descend slightly at this point before climbing to the summit. As expected, once we reached the right turn the wind increased significantly. The weather forecast said sustained 20 mph winds with gusts up to 35 mph; which seemed fairly accurate. At some points I felt like I could've blown over! While the trail doesn't currently have snow on it, there are remaining cornices on the east side of the ridge. The trail gives them a wide berth but it is something to be aware of, especially if you are hiking with dogs. We reached the summit, 1.85 miles into the hike, in about an hour. The wind on top surprisingly wasn't as constant as it had been on the ridge. We had the summit to ourselves and stopped for a few pictures but didn't hang out for long. As we headed down the wind was even worse along the ridge but once we reached the final descent it relaxed again.

It was an absolutely beautiful sunny day, despite the wind, with temperatures in the mid 30's. I am so happy we completed our first summit attempt for 2021 and I can't wait for many more!!

Some things I thought about on this hike that I think are worth mentioning:

- Spring hiking brings unpredictable weather. Even when the temperatures are warmer the wind can be ferocious and cold. It is very important to have the proper attire and extra layers with you.

- While the trail was clear of snow, the cornices are not to be messed with. This includes keeping dogs away from them. Even though the avalanche risk was low today, cornices are unpredictable and you have no idea how stable they are.

- When hiking on Loveland Pass be prepared to see backcountry skiers and know how your dog does around this kind of distraction.

- Even though Mt. Cupid is a short, class 1 mountain it is still a 13er. The mountains should not be taken lightly, especially in the spring. Be prepared in terms of attire, gear and fitness.

- Most importantly, don't be afraid to turn around.

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