Brenna and Ian | Colorado Hiking Elopement | Grizzly Peak in Summit County
Savannah Chandler Photography | Hiking Elopement Photographer
Brenna and Ian planned an adventure elopement in the Colorado mountains that was accessible for their family and friends to meet them at the base for a post-hike celebration.
When planning their elopement, they knew that they wanted:
• A good, adventurous hike
• Sunrise ceremony
• To be near Torrey’s Peak (a local 14er)
• For their family and friends to be able to join at an accessible trailhead
How Brenna and Ian settled on Grizzly Peak off Loveland Pass
When we initially were looking at locations for their intimate hiking elopement, Brenna and Ian knew that they were drawn towards Torrey’s Peak. They had hiked the peak in previous years when they lived here in Colorado and wanted to honor their experience on the peak.
The road to Torrey’s trailhead varies from year to year. Some years, the road is graded and the county fills in the dirt road making it more accessible. Others – we get loads of rain and the road is a rutted mess. This year was one such year that the road was torn up and accessing the upper trailhead meant a 4×4 was certainly required and not just recommended.
After Brenna and Ian drove the road and realized it would be too much to ask of their loved ones (especially those with younger children) to drive – we started looking at peaks that were local to the Front Range as an alternative.
We looked at:
While Brenna and Ian were hiking Mt. Sniktau on a scouting mission – they found themselves drawn to the massive peak slightly to the West… Grizzly Peak. Grizzly offers amazing views of Torreys, and is an adventurous peak offering solitude amongst the busy trails in the front range.
Mountain Weather Patterns and a Change of Plans
The night before the elopement, I did a final weather check to see what time summer storms were looking to move in. It’s very common in the months of Late June through Mid August for afternoon thunderstorms in Colorado’s mountains – typically starting around the noon timeframe.
We were forecasted for storms starting at 8am.
As much as I am for dramatic weather, being in the alpine above treeline during a storm is putting all of our safety at serious risk – and Brenna and Ian made the incredibly difficult decision to postpone by a day.
Brenna and Ian’s 13er Elopement Details
We met at the 13,427′ summit of Grizzly Peak just before sunrise.
To access Grizzly peak – you must hike up and over three 13,000 peaks, then head up the massive headwall to the summit. To say that one must be of Badass standing to hike with wedding attire to reach this peak is an understatement.
Once the sun started to rise, Brenna and Ian held their intimate ceremony just the two of them amongst the never-ending horizon of mountain peaks. Surprisingly, we didn’t even have any critters to witness their union.
Between coat breaks to try and get a little warmth, we took some photos and popped some champagne before making our way back across and up to Loveland Pass.
Family and Friends join for an intimate celebration and photographs
Once we were making our way back towards the trailhead, we began to see all of Brenna and Ian’s family and friends awaiting at the top of Loveland Pass. Ian’s dad had even ridden his mountain bike up the trail (in his suit nonetheless) to meet his son and new daughter-in-law.
One of the most important things for Brenna and Ian was to make sure that they included their family members and friends in a small ceremony and took photographs with everyone in attendance.
We headed over to Pass Lake – a perfect spot for an intimate ceremony for their family and friends to partake in Brenna and Ian committing themselves to one another.
After all those in attendance signed the marriage license, we had a champagne toast and Brenna and Ian were off to attempt to take a nap before their evening celebrations.
Things to consider when planning a Mountain Top or Summit hiking Elopement:
• The weather can be variable – plan for the unexpected or know that postponing by a few hours or a day may be the safest option
• It’s cold at 13,000 feet – bring lots of layers, coats, and gloves
• Rolling your gown and/or suit in your hiking pack makes for easy packing as well as helps to reduce wrinkles
• Hiking with the extra weight of wedding attire/gear may make your normal pace slower. Plan for extra hiking time.
• You can still include any traditions you want into your elopement! Or you can exclude any that don’t appeal to you.