With the release of the new Alliance Wake Photo Annual issue comes a story unlike any other we’ve ever been a part of. Or that wakeskating and wakeboarding as a whole have ever been a part of, for that matter. This fall, with the help of Red Bull and some hearty mountain men, Brian Grubb and Dieter Humpsch went on a winching mission in and around Silverton, Colorado and the results were incredible. Paying homage to the region’s rich mining history, Brian, Dieter, and the crew charted a course similar to what miners would have done over a century ago. They started at the river and  followed the water – in this case the Animas River – up into the mountains, winching anywhere they could. For the full story you’ll need to pick up a copy of the Dec/Jan issue of Alliance Wake, but there were too many photos not to share, so consider this an extra large and extra special sneak peek.

Part 1: The River
Following alongside the famous Durango Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, Brian and Dieter found spots on the river both manmade (train bridge) and natural (beaver dam). Surrounded by fall colors, jagged peaks, and abandoned mines the scene was set for the rest of the trip.

Part 2: Into the Mountains
With the help of some Polaris RZR UTV’s, the crew headed up to a few different high-altitude lakes and ponds in search of different spots to ride. Each location was a display of both the grandeur of the San Juan Mountains and a ghostly reminder of the mining history that runs deep in the region.

Part 3: The Final Spot
The final location was one for the ages, literally and figuratively. An abandoned mine site at a lake at 12,500 feet provided a backdrop unlike any other. The riding and photographs were easy: there were pieces of the old mines everywhere to use. The hard part was getting the 120-pound winch up the two-mile, 1,000-foot hike. Thanks to the Colorado Red Bull crew it made it, and the epic journey through the mountains came to an amazing close.