Dome Rock (9044')
Dome Rock State Wildlife Area/Mueller State Park
from Forge Dr/Carriage Dr (8320'/west side)
5.3 miles RT, 1800' gain
Nov 11, 2007
I usually don't post TR's on the lower peaks I do around C. Springs, but these geologic gems deserve a report. I have been working on the obscure and seldom climbed Teller county ranked summits list, and Dome Rock in Mueller State Park caught my eye as a cool one to try. These two huge granite outcroppings rise over 800' from the valley floor. I only had an afternoon to burn after church, so I researched a possible route from the west. The standard approach to Dome Rock is from the east from CR-61 through the state wildlife area, but it's 8.5 miles RT.
In planning out a route, I discovered a new ranked summit, Pt 9112! I used Google Earth and discovered that it's a dome too. Great, another potential technical summit. I knew Dome Rock couldn't be that tough, because the CMC leads a trip up it. I pretty much had no beta on both though other than satellite images. It looked like the only reasonable shot I had to get up 9112 was via the north ridge.
The Mini-Half Dome DuoI parked my car just east of potential technical 8er Dog Head in a residential area east of CR-1 south of Florrisant. I approached a lady and asked permission to cross her land. She obliged but said there was more private property behind hers before getting to state land. I took off at 12:15 and headed into the trees. I crossed a couple fences, one of which was posted. I figured it was a short walk to state property, so I continued on. In short order I was at the base of some low angle slabs leading up the north ridge of 9112. I was only 250' below the summit, so hopefully there were no surprises.
The slabs were steep and grippy, but mostly class 2. I got about halfway up the ridge, and ran into a potential show stopper, a 10' 5th class wall with poor handholds. I looked left and right and didn't find anything easier. There was a nice wide ledge at the base of it, but I knew downclimbing this would not be fun. I about gave up until I looked over on the n.e. side only to discover a nice ramp below the ridge that looked like it would go! I retreated down the slabs to the trees and countoured up to the ramp.
The ramp indeed was the backdoor to the summit as it led me above the 5th class section onto the ridge. Just as i was about to top out, a fox startled me but darted off before I could take a pic. I topped out at 1:15. I love peaks like these were there's zero beta and you just have to figure it out yourself through trial and error. The view over to Dome Rock from here is stunning. It's kind of like a mini-Half Dome.
On the descent, I walked down to the top of the class 5 section, which didn't look as bad as I thought, but it would have been a controlled friction slide down. I found the ramp and crab walked down to the trees. I then bushwacked down a gully choked with deadfall and brush, but it was shortlived down to the valley floor. I picked up the Dome Rock trail in the valley. Wow, a trail for once! I followed this south, crossed Four Mile Creek, then followed a horse trail east so that I could wrap around the back side of Dome Rock. It looks like Dome Rock has quite a few potential multi-pitch routes on its rugged west face, but I'm not sure if climbing is allowed in this state wildlife area.
I followed the trail until about 8600' where I could see I had a clear shot to the ridge. As I crested a bump east of the summit, the route wasn't obvious at all until I got to the base of the slabs. I found the weakness on the n.e. side of the dome, a short class 3 section with plenty of holds. The rock is so grippy that you could probably friction climb up the face, but it would be tough. I topped out on the rounded summit at 2:35. The angle of repose off the west face quickly turns vertical. A buzzard flew overhead as I snacked on the summit. What a spectacular place!
On the return, I initially headed due south from the base of the slab, but quickly saw that the going would be too tedious over huge boulders and brush with unknown terrain further down, so I followed my ascent route back to the trail. To get back to the car, I had another 400' to get over the ridge up a gully on the south side of 9112. I then had to do some stealthing through the woods to avoid a couple houses and arrived back at the car at 4:05. Chalk up another bluebird day in November on two of Teller counties funner ranked summits!