OverviewPeak 10,245, which I am calling “Forgotten Point” on this mountain page, is the 15th highest peak in the Elkhead Mountains. It is also the 5th highest ranked peak in Moffat County.
Despite these seemingly impressive statistics, “Forgotten Point” is certainly the least conspicuous of the 10,000+ feet peaks in the Elkhead Mountains. Since the mountain is merely a long and gentle thickly forested ridge, it simply fails to stand out like most of the surrounding mountains.
Since the peak one of the 10,000+ feet peaks in the Elkhead Mountains, I have added it to Summitpost for completeness (the rest of the 10,000+ peaks, minus Columbus Mountain which is blocked by private land are covered on Summitpost).
It was also the last of the 10,000+ feet peaks in the Elkhead Mountains that I climbed. Why? Basically because I forgot and failed to notice that it was a ranked peak. I thought I’d climbed them all, but after looking at the map, I noticed this one was also ranked.
The peak is seldom climbed, even by Elkhead Mountain standards. In fact, it’s probably the least climbed of all the 10,000+ footers in the range.
The summit register was placed by the famous peak bagger Mike Garret, who climbed the mountain alone in July 2006. The register remained completely untouched and with a still sharpened pencil until we climbed the peak in September 2013. It is likely that only a handful of people have ever climbed this peak.
The climb itself is more of a navigational route finding challenge through thick old growth forest than it is a typical mountain climb.
Several aspects of the Elkhead Mountains make this a rather unique mountain range in Colorado. It is certainly possible that the Elkhead Mountains are the least known of the major mountain ranges in Colorado. This is partially because the range is a long way from any metropolitan area, and partially because the Elkhead Mountains are fairly low by Colorado standards, as there are no peaks reaching 11,000 feet. There are also few lakes, so the range isn’t visited by fishermen. Despite their low altitude, the Elkhead Mountains receive much snow, and snow lasts into July or later on the higher peaks. Most of the peaks in the Elkhead Mountains see very few ascents, but Hahns Peak, the eastern-most peak in the range is a popular climb for residents of Steamboat Springs. The Bears Ears see quite a few ascents by Elkhead standards, because of their prominent shape and visibility from the Yampa River Valley. Black Mountain is also climbed fairly often because it is the highest point in Moffat County, and the popularity is on the increase with more county highpointing interest. Sand Mountain must be a fairly popular (by Elkhead standards) climb as well, as there is a trail to the top, and as it is the first and only mountain in the range where I have ever met anyone. This was on Labor Day weekend, 2005, when we saw 3 other hikers. Most of the rest of the peaks see few ascents, and one ranger has told me some of the peaks only have a few names in the registers since 1980. So, there are few hikers around, but hunting is another story. The Elkhead Mountains are very popular for hunting in the fall and contain large populations of deer, elk, bear, etc.
One thing unique about the range is that hiker use is overall actually decreasing, rather than increasing as it is in most places in Colorado. The summit registers (which the Forest Service keeps record of) on most peaks indicate that they have had more ascents in the 1960’s and 1970’s than they do now. Even before that, there were many summit logs from the 1930’s and 1940’s from sheepherders.
The Elkhead Mountains are made of old volcanic rocks 17-25 million years old. One thing unusual is that the Elkhead Mountains run west to east as opposed to north and south as most of the ranges run in North America. It is impossible to describe the general forms of the peaks because they are all so different, but most of the peaks are isolated rises from a huge plateau which forms the bulk of the Elkhead Mountains.
Elkhead Mountains-10,000+ Foot Peaks with 300+ feet of Prominence
Please excuse the poor photographs on this page. It was raining on our ascent so we didn't get many photographs.
Old printed topo maps don’t show the roads or trails around this mountain accurately. The closest one that bears resemblance to reality is the Forest Service Map-Routt National Forest, but it is of a small scale. The USGS maps don’t show many of the roads in the areas, but seem to show roads and trails that don’t exist; at least not any more.
The USGS has (finally) updated the 7.5 minute maps. They were scheduled to be produced for Colorado last year, but I’m not sure when they will hit all the stores. Right now you can get/see/print/buy the new 7.5 minute maps on My Topo.
The good news is that all the roads and trails are FINALLY accurate for the Elkhead Mountains (and undoubtedly other areas as well). After receiving the new maps, I am very pleased to see that the roads and trails are in the right places. I am also very pleased that the USGS has a new agreement with the US Forest Service and within the national forest service areas, the private land holdings are shaded (but only in USFS areas, land ownership is not shown outside FS lands) on the 7.5 minute scale maps.
Getting ThereFrom the junction of Highway 40 and 13 in Craig, turn north on Highway 13, drive north for about 13 miles to north of mile marker 102 until you see a sign posted for County Road 27. The road is posted for “Forest Service Access” and “Black Mountain”. Drive County Road 27 through private lands for 10 miles which is where you reach the Routt National Forest boundary. The road becomes FR 110. From the Forest Boundary, follow FR 110 for 7.2 miles to FR 133 (A.K.A. West Prong Road).
Turn left on FR 133 and follow it for 4.6 miles to the Roaring Fork Trailhead. The trailhead should be signed. If not, look for the old road and gate on the left side of FR 133 at the 4.6 mile mark.
Routes OverviewThere are some steep slopes surrounding this mountain on certain sides, but other than that there really isn't much to stop you from climbing the peak from any direction.
The route we took was the route from the Bears Ears Trail. Once we followed the Bears Ears Trail for a mile and a half or so, we climbed the northeast ridge to the summit. See the Route Page for details.
Other route possibilities are from FR 130 (closed and gated most or all of the time?) which reaches the south slopes of the peak.
You can also climb from Willow Creek located far to the west and near the base of Mount Welba. See the Mount Welba page for a description of the beginning of this route and for directions to the trailhead. This will be a longer route, but it should be pretty easy and is a shorter drive if you are coming from the north or west.
No matter which route you choose, all routes will involve routefinding through thick forest.
Red TapeThere is no red tape here, so make sure to tread lightly.
When to ClimbJuly through early September could be considered the normal season to climb the mountain. The access road does not open until late June or early July. This would be a very long multi-day climb when the access route is not open. A snowmobile would make this a one day climb in the winter, though the timber is pretty thick for skiing and snowshoes might be a better bet. The Elkhead Mountains are a very popular hunting destination in September and October (until snow closes the road), so use extreme caution at this time of year.
CampingThere are many informal campsites along the road to the trailhead after you reach the forest boundary. The Sawmill Campground isn't too far from the trailhead and now cost $10. It is the only official campground in the area.
Mountain ConditionsCLICK HERE FOR THE COUGAR MOUNTAIN WEATHER FORECAST
Below is the National Weather Service Climate Summary of Craig, southwest of "Forgotten Point". The data is from 1928-2010. This is the closest long term weather station, but be aware that higher elevations will be much wetter and colder. Craig is at 6300 feet elevation, so expect the temperatures on "Forgotten Point" to be 10-20 degrees colder than in Craig.
|MONTH||AVE HIGH||AVE LOW||REC HIGH||REC LOW||AVE PREC (in)|