From Guanella Pass
Monday September 6, 2004
I had tried to climb this peak the Saturday before (09/04/04) but was turned back by heavy rains at Guanella Pass and when I arrived at the trailhead the top of the mountain was totally consumed in snow clouds with accumulations clearly visible from the trailhead. Oh well……..luckily I had brought my fishing gear and stopped at Georgetown Lake and proceeded to catch and release lots of brown, brook, and rainbow trout on a bubble-&-fly rig as the weather improved some and made for a nice day after all.
Anyway…….seeing as how it was Labor Day, no work, and a desire to succeed- I came back to try my quest again; although I had also brought my fishing pole, just in case. I arrived about 6:20AM with only a couple of cars in the trailhead parking lot; the weather was excellent. I was on the trail at 6:25 and made it to Scott Gomer creek via the “boardwalk” in quick order as the terrain is perfectly flat (it actually descends a little) and the trail then crosses the creek on some rather shaky logs.
The trail now moves through some shrubs and willows where you can’t really see anything around you other than the trail as the willows block your visibility; it then climbs to where you can look back upon the creek below as it begins a series of short switchbacks as it climbs to a rise above tree line. Here the creek and some beaver ponds are in clear view and the trailhead parking lot is now in view for the remainder of this entire hike. The trail now turns to the right a bit and begins to climb much more steeply.
As I climbed higher the snows from the days before was still on the ground and the temperature remained quite cool as I continued on up to a tundra with lots of boulders and the trail very clear the entire way. The trail then turns left and I now began the final climb up to a boulder field where the trail winds a bit but continues up more steeply now to the last section before the summit. The boulders are larger nearing the top and the summit isn’t really visible until you are actually right there, I reached the summit at 8:10 just as another guy was leaving and thus I had the summit to myself for my first time ever and it felt a little weird not seeing anyone around.
The views were remarkable in all directions and I took many photos of the snow covered peaks. To the east stands Mt Evans and I could see people on the summit over there and the “Sawtooth” between the two peaks came in clear view as I made my way over to the eastern side of the summit around some big boulders. I had the summit to myself for a good 30 mins until to my surprise I saw a small boxer-terrier mix dog climb up & over some boulders to where I was and I shared a bagel with him just before his master arrived. I then started back down and left the summit to the young guy and his dog.
The descent was fairly quick and a lot of people were now heading up as I came down. Now again to my surprise I witnessed a guy running down with a Great Dane as they were “bushwhacking” down the mountain off the trail and pretty much heading in a “beeline” straight down. Way weird!
I got back to the TH at 10:25 where the parking lot was now very full. My 4th 14’er on this beautiful morning. Sweet!!