Page Type Page Type: Route
Location Lat/Lon: 39.36800°N / 105.605°W
Additional Information Route Type: Hike
Additional Information Time Required: Most of a day
Additional Information Difficulty: Walk up
Sign the Climber's Log


The "Alphabetizer" is the classic sweep of all the Kenosha Mountains summits in the vicinity of Long Gulch. The terrain allows many variations to this theme and I will try and mention these alternatives in this description. This hike was originaly named and described by Gerry and Jennifer Roach in their excellent Lost Creek Wilderness Guide.

The hike begins at the Long Gulch Trailhead. In my experience climbing summits of increasing elevation sequentialy is the funnest way to do this so I describe the route from "Zephyr Peak" to "Peak X" as the primary description.

Route Description

From the Long Gulch Trailhead follow the Colorado Trail south east up switchbacks and then into Long Gulch. This scenic mountain park offers excellent camping and descent view of the summits to the north east. From Long Gulch a decision must be made. The most civilized bushwhack to timberline is up "Peak Z's" south ridge. But to include "Zephyr Peak" it is more expedient to hike southeast past the protrusion of the easily identifiable south ridge to climb the gulch comming off the saddle of "Peak Z" and "Zephyr". I shall describe both. To get to the gulch leading to the "Peak Z"-"Zephyr Peak" saddle continue southeast on the Colorado Trail 2.6 miles from the trailhead. In an areah of dense aspen head north. It is only a half mile to timberline from the point one leaves the Colorado Trail but this can be hard work. Stay above the bottom of the gulch and favor the aspen as the open areas are choked with willows. Game trails may help or hinder you depending on their temperment. The south ridge of "Zephy Peak" offers an alternate bushwack that is more enjoyable then the gulch. This route (to be described as a route unto itself at a later date) is 2.0 miles from the trailhead. At a point (perhaps identified as being an open area to the left of the trail with a couple downed trees lying across it) where the Colorado Trail countours around the shoulder of "Peak Z's" south ridge leave the trail and head north. Follow a definate ridge though aspen before entering alleyways between the rocks that are abundant on this ridge. Near the top this route enters the Skeleton Forest. At timberline "Peak Z" is just to the left and "Zephyr" looms across the saddle to the south.

From timberline this route is an interesting ridgewalk. To attain "Zephyr Peak" continue south (avoiding the stunted willows in the "Peak Z"-"Zephy Peak" saddle) and ascent the grassy/snowy north slope to "Zephy Peaks" summit. This mountaintop offers a preview of the route ahead; as well as the rocky terrain found on the summits.

From "Zephyr Peak" head back to the north east to get on top of "Peak Z". "Peak Z's" summit rock only comes into view after ascending the rocky hill at the top of "Z's" summit plateau. Climb the summit rock. "Peak Z's" summit offers the best view on this climb so take the time to look north at the reamaining mountains. "Peak X" is obvious from here.

Continue along the spiney rock wall that marks the summit region of "Peak Z". Look out for dinosaurs. This rock wall makes a perfect shelter if the winds are harsh. It is also possible to scamper along its crest. The "Peak Z"-"Peak Y" saddle is a privledged place (and it lacks pesky willows). "Peak Y's" southern balconys are pretty and fun. Ascend "Peak Y's" summit hill. Now you are looking "Peak X" in the face just a mile to the north. Onward ho!

From "Peak Y" drop down into the "Peak X"-"Peak Y" saddle. Follow the eastern edge of this saddle. Ascend the south slopes of "Peak X" dodging rock outcrops. The Xebec Towers are on the southwest of the summit plateau. The "eyhole rock" is on the sotheast side. There are several rock outcrops on the summit region proper. To do it right you should climb them all. The highest point is the central summit. The north summit in particular has some nice views.

From here one can go on to include "X Prime Peak" or descend. To descend reverse the ascent route of "Peak X's" south slopes to reach the "Peak X"-"Peak Y" saddle. Contour aroun the northwest margin of the saddle region. The standard route down follows the drainage to the left of a prominent rock outcrop. Follow a faint use trail down the standard route on "Peak X". Avoid willows and cross to the south side of the creek as soon as practacle. Reach the Colorado trail and return to the Long Gulch Trail Head. Total Length: 8.2 miles.

To add "X Prime Peak" continue north from "Peak X's" summit. Descend to a spacious saddle and then ascend grassy slopes; approach "X Prime's" summit rocks from the east. Don't step in the bighorn sheep poop. The easiest exit then consists of returning over "Peak X's" spacious west shoulder. A direct descent is possible but not recommneded. Tough bushwhacking terrain lies just south of "X Prime". Total Length: 9.9 miles.

"Kenosha Peak" can be added by the highly motivated. However that addition is beyond the author's experience. That would make for a 12.8 mile day.

Essential Gear

This is an exposed ridge. Adaquate clothing is a must. In winter snowshoes may be necassary.

Miscellaneous Info

If you have information about this route that doesn't pertain to any of the other sections, please add it here.



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