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Whale hill/Cumberland pass 8/9-8/11


Staff member
Whale hill Cumberland pass trip

Trail Leader: Brad Peterson

Dates:August 9th-11th

Meeting point:
Wooly mammoth park and ride
I-70 and Morrison rd

We will be exploring a rich mining area just south of poncha springs.

We will begin heading up whale hill Via turquoise mine trail FSR 874 and camping along that route.

Saturday: We will continue on along FSR 874 to FSR 875 then to FSR 892 and dropping by Bonanza, a mining ghost town. We will then traverse across to Marshall pass via FSR 869 then over Marshall Pass to highway 50. We will then traverse across through Gunnison and head north by Taylor reservoir, through Tincup. We will either stay north of Taylor reservoir or between Tincup and Cumberland pass.

Sunday: We will continue up and over Cumberland pass to alpine tunnel and then cross Hancock pass to St Elmo. From there we will head home.

Off-road miles : 83 with 62 mi of tarmac between Marshall pass and Taylor reservoir.

Trail difficulty: Moderate
Some tight trees and some off camber areas. Hancock pass is rated moderate mostly as it has some rocky areas however I have done this pass and it was pretty easy to me.

Vehicle Requirements.
High Clearance 4x4
Off-road capable tires
Full-size spare
Frame mounted tow points front and back

Required Recovery Equipment
20,000+lb Tow Strap
2x Shackles (soft or c-shackles OK)

Minimum Recommended Equipment:
Fire Extinguisher
First Aid Kit
Extra Water
Vehicle Unique Tools
Warm Emergency Clothing

Ham Radio Comms
Primary 146.550
Secondary 146.580

Distance to trailhead from Meeting point: 156mi
We will stop to refuel in poncha springs and will be going through Gunnison as another refueling opportunity.


Well-Known Member
Oy...... Hancock Pass. Not a difficult trail by any means, but on the St Elmo side it is super slow and rocky. Last year I bought a sticker in St Elmo that says “I survived Hancock Pass”. I want to change it to “I endured Hancock Pass”.

I think I’ve got the mother inlaw in town that weekend.

Morris Yarnell

Well-Known Member
The trip was fun and well planned. Other than an unexpected tree felling adventure that did slow down the group progress, it went fairly well. Thanks to Brad for all his time and effort to put together a well thought out trip. An interesting assembly of vehicles and a good group of people.