With spring upon us in the Pikes Peak region, my friend and I decided it was time to get some early season hiking in. We hatched a plan to summit Mt. Garfield, a mountain that had caught my attention last fall when I hiked Cameron Cone. Because we both had a few weekdays off, we decided to make it a two day affair, camping in Jones Park.
We stepped off the North Cheyenne Canyon trailhead at about 3:00pm on Thursday the 9th, and followed Gold Camp Road to the Seven Bridges Trail. We passed a few day hikers along the beginning of the trail, the last of which just before the seventh bridge. This was the last person we saw until we were back at about the same spot, the next day.
We followed the route described by csmcgranahan in his (or her) 28 May 2005 report to Jones Park. There have been a few changes since then. First, after following 622A northward, you will actually have to join 668 northbound for a short time, just north of the Mt. Kineo saddle before descending and crossing Bear Creek and joining 667. The log crossing of Bear Creek has also been replaced with a nice, new footbridge.
We found a nice campsite just west of Jones park along Bear Creek at about 9150', set up camp around 5:30, cooked dinner and enjoyed the solitude as the sun set. Friday morning dawned cool (25F or so) and frosty. We slept in a bit, packed up camp and filtered water for our summit attempt. We stepped off at about 9:30 and continued up 667 until we reached the intersection with 720A at about 9300'.
In our best judgement of our topo map, the south face looked just as steep as the west face described in csmcgranahan's route description, so at this point we turned off the trail and headed straight up the south face. We had left our snowshoes in the car, so we wanted to be climbing a sunny part of the mountain.
Going was easy, and progress was quick, with little underbrush to contend with until about 10,000' when we entered a stand of aspens. From here our progress slowed a bit. At about 10,150', we started encountering some crags and rock outcroppings that demanded a bit more creativity in route finding. We were on a wide ridge and attempted to stay on that until the summit.
The rest of the route was characterized by craggy sections that required Class 2+/Class 3 scrambling and moderately steep hiking sections. We tried to maintain the ridge to the summit, and did for the most part. Patches of snow grew larger and larger on the way up until the summit was mostly snow covered. We attained the summit just after noon and ate lunch at the top while enjoying the solitude of the summit.
We were the third party to summit in 2009 according to the summit register. One group did on 31 January, and another solo hiker in March (I think). Our attempt of Garfield's neighbor, Mt. Arthur, was foiled by the deep snow on the north summit ridge of Garfield and our lack of snowshoes.
We descended via the same route we climbed, save the lower 500 feet of the mountain we took a GPS direct route back to our camp to get more water and the heavier equipment we had stashed there. The going was quick on the way out, and we arrived back at our car just 3 hours after stepping off the summit.
No comments posted yet.