2022 Cottonwood Crusher

January 29, 2022 at 8 AM

Buena Vista, Colorado

Hosted by Jeff Kerkove


Join us on Facebook and Instagram for updates and notices!

No more than 74 people allowed for this event!

This is intended to be a NON-COMMERCIAL, Recreational-Use Activity that is held on parts of USFS lands in compliance with USFS Special Use Rules and Regulations.

Please make sure to read all rules for this.  This event is fully UNSUPPORTED and you will need to be self-sufficient in order to complete the established course.  The rules are located HERE.

When: January 29, 2022 at 8 AM from the Denny Creek TH west of BV, Colorado

What: The Cottonwood Crusher is a FREE self-supported winter fat bike adventure in the Collegiate Peaks. You’ll climb up and over 12,000 ft twice! Complete the full 45-mile lollipop or just ride part of it. It’s totally up to you. Either way, it’s a beautiful day on the bike with BIG views!

Start: 8 AM, Denny Creek Trailhead

Finish: 6-10+ hours later, Denny Creek Trailhead


The route is not marked, so you need to self-navigate. Download the GPX file for your device at https://ridewithgps.com/routes/34998161

During Covid times, masks are required for anyone not vaccinated anytime you are not 6 feet or further away from someone. Please do not attend if you feel sick or have been around someone who has been sick. There is a lot of space out there folks, so distancing yourself from others will not be an issue.

8 AM start time at the Denny Creek Trailhead, which is located 11-miles west of Buena Vista up paved and plowed County Rd 306. There is ample parking both in the lot and along side the road. This is also the main trailhead for the Mt Yale 14er. https://goo.gl/maps/PSgGf2qwJfsK9jhL7 DO NOT PARK IN THE TURN AROUND OR IN FRONT OF ANY “NO PARKING” SIGN.

Rules: https://swes.wordpress.com/rules-regulations-and-responsibility/ and to add, myself and others doing this ride are NOT responsible for you. Please always use your best judgement and exercise caution and safety. You are 100% responsible for you!

The entire route utilizes groomed snowmobile trails. While this ride is free, the grooming is not. Consider a donation to the grooming efforts: https://www.snowmobilecolo.com/content.aspx?page_id=301&club_id=45117

How long will this ride take? This ride is a 6 hour day with good conditions. Plan accordingly. To give you an idea of speeds, it will take most folks 1.5 to 3 hours to go the first 7.5 miles up to Cottonwood Pass. 2021 finishing times for the full 45-mile route ranged from 6.5 hours to 10 hours.

Expect temps from potentially below 0ºF to just above the freezing mark. It’s typically 15ºF+ colder in the Taylor Park / Gunnison Valley area.

At a MINIMUM it is advised to carry a puffy jacket, mid-weight gloves, heavy weight gloves, something to cover your face, any spare clothing you could foresee needing and a way to make a fire. The descents off Cottonwood Pass and the valleys are typically cold!

There is no reliable cell service on route.

MINIMUM tire size is 3.8″. Anything smaller than 3.8″ will result in you not having any fun and it will destroy the grooming efforts.

You are going to want to bring a camera! Pictures of the route can be seen HERE

There are no resupply points on or off route! Plan on carrying all food and hydration. A stove to melt snow for additional water is not a bad idea. Remember, your calorie and hydration needs are greater when recreating in colder temps as well as when at elevation.

DO NOT expect the Taylor Park Store to be open. This store is seasonal.

While not required, a head light and rear red blinky are advised to make yourself visible to other user groups and the for the potential to be finishing in the dark.

See the grooming report at https://www.snowmobilecolo.com/content.aspx?page_id=1980&club_id=45117&module_id=1980&area_id=37#search_results

A good weather forecast to follow can be found at https://forecast.weather.gov/MapClick.php?lon=-106.46644592285153&lat=38.850902528838816#.YBbes2NlBpQ Please note, this is to set a weather baseline. Always plan on it being colder, especially in the lower elevations on the route.

Still interested? These are some questions to ask yourself prior to committing to this ride…

  1. Can I keep my hands, face, core and feet warm in temps possibly below 0ºF for 6+ hours?
  2. Can I keep my hydration from freezing solid?
  3. What food(s) should I bring that won’t freeze solid?
  4. How will my body respond to riding up and over 12,000 ft TWICE?
  5. Do I know how to regulate tire air pressure in the field? Will my pump work in sub-zero temps?
  6. Am I physically and mentally ready to be on the bike in the backcountry in the middle of winter for 6+ hours?
  7. Am I able to regulate my body temperature and not sweat through all my clothing/layers?


%d bloggers like this: