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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
After getting a glimpse of the Sharks Tooth Peak several years ago I knew I wanted to ride this. Near Cumberland Basin, at the top of first section of the Colorado Trail from the south, the CT heads up onto the Indian Ridge. Off to the west is the Sharks Tooth Peak and a bunch of other gnarly looks pointed rocks. These are at the top of the Bear Creek drainage which is accessed from highway 145, upstream from Dolores. Over Labor Day weekend my wife and I had the pleasure of getting in several rides in this area. What follows are some pics from the Sharks Tooth Loop.

The first image is looking up Bear Creek towards the Indian Ridge. We started our ride from the top at our camp spot near Grindstone Lake and connected to the CT from the Hillside connector trail. We then rode across the the top of two talus slopes and dropped down to Taylor Lake. The trail along the ridge was quite sketchy with BIG exposure of a few hundred feet down to a steep slope along some sections. Mostly the trail was quite ridable considering it clears 12,000 feet at least once.

From Taylor Lake the trail ascends to a saddle and from there descends a roller coaster ride of talus down to a grassy bench below.

After this point the trail becomes more rough and a little harder to follow. Horsemen had been in and cleared most of the fallen trees but there were a few trunks to climb over. Once you get around to basin below Centennial Peak you catch the Bear Creek trail back down into the Bear Creek drainage. The first mile was steep and sketchy but lower down the trail becomes super fun, though boggy in a few spots.

Finally we broke out into the meadows and caught the Grindstone Trail back up to the top and rode back to camp. The Grindstone is steep for the first few miles but eventually mellows out. At the end of a long day this makes for one tough climb. This loop is only about 15 miles but due to the technical nature it took us a lot longer than expected. We also "misunderestimated" the length of dirt road to-and-from camp to the trail - it was 5 miles, not 2, my wife keeps reminding me. Needless to say, we started too late, we dilly-daddled too much, and got back to camp well after dark. The 5 mile stretch of fire road was in complete darkness and I kept wondering what I'd do if I ran into a bear in the middle of the road!
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
A few more pics and a map.

Unfortunately I flew over this area yesterday and the San Juans appear to be quite white up top already. If you're itchin to get this one in you probably should wait until late next summer. However, Bear Creek should be amazing in a week or so once the Aspens brighten up.

(For the photo geeks - sorry about the blueish tint. The white balance was off on the point-and-shoot but fortunately PS now allows for some white balance corrections even of processed jpeg images.)
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Andy - this was way easier than that Aspen Ridge - Dead Airplane thing we did a few years back. OK, not really, but at least there wasn't too much pushing your bike up nasty scrub oak south facing slopes whilst you bake in the summer sun stuff.
 
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