With Peterson Ridge & 7825.
Climb to the ridge between the Gilpin Lake trail and the Mount Zirkel basin -- the so-called Gilpin Creek route.
Mount Zirkel was the chosen climb for this weekend. Kim needed a break, so it was the kids (Kessler and Shaylee) and I. I actually got off work late, so we wouldn’t get as early start as I had hoped. We arrived at the trailhead a little after 6 pm and started up the mountain.
As we hiked along the trail, it began to rain, sometimes rather heavily. We crossed the stream on a long log and quickly made our way to Gold Creek Lake in about 1.5 hours. It was still raining hard which made the next stream crossing slippery. Kessler slipped off the rocks and into waist deep (and cold!) water. He wasn’t happy and we found a campsite as soon as we could. After setting up the tent, the kids got in and took off their wet clothes while I cooked dinner and filtered water in the rain. We made about 3 miles, so tomorrow’s climb would be long. Luckily the weather cleared just after sunset.
It was 36F in the morning and clear, which was a good sign. Our boots were still wet (I should have snow-sealed them before the trip) so they weren’t fun to put on. We hiked rather quickly up the Slavonia Basin before taking our only rest on the way to Red Dirt Pass. We then climbed to the pass for a final rest and to get a good look at the weather. The weather was still clear so we took a break and headed up the ridge towards Mount Zirkel. The kids wanted to climb the subpeaks as well, so we climbed several of those (up to class 3 in difficulty) before climbing up to the main summit. There was some boulderhopping, but it wasn’t a difficult climb.
After soaking up the spectacular views in great weather, we headed back down the mountain and packed up camp. We then hiked down. The biggest incidence was while taking our final rest, literally hundreds of hornets came pouring out of the ground from under a rock. We didn’t hang around and quickly hiked back to the trailhead.
By the end, our feet were quite sore and we were tired. Including the subpeaks, we had hiked for 15 miles today and with much elevation gain. It was still a great climb and a beautiful peak.
Fun summit. Some exposure near the summit. Beautiful area. North Routt!!
September 11, 2009: Mt Zirkel has a dramatic summit - about 15-feet square with a near vertical dropoff on all sides except one. The most memorable part of this visit, however, was the poor hospitality shown to me by one of the permanent residents, before I hit the trail in the morning.
July 4, 2009: Gold Creek was a series of raging cataracts, blocking my ascent at the creek crossings. Actually I did the first creek crossing, but not without great risk to my life. Vowed to return in late summer.
On 4 day backpack I camped on top. Awesome. The thunder storm at midnight was also awesome.
Overcast day but good conditions. Saw a black bear foraging high above timberline. Would love to return to this area.
We backpacked into Gilpin Lake in July of 1975, the fishing was not that great so we scrambled quite a bit in the area. We summited Mt. Zirkel on a beautiful day, and as was customary in the day roasted a bowl on top. We ran into a strawberry field on the way down, and were much delayed by the fruit.
ok climb, took a long time to get to actual mountain though and had very rocky summit.
Good views from this one despite some haze to the west. I was wondering if one could see Utah from up there. No luck. Wyoming was in plain sight though. Packed in to about half way to the pass and shared a campsite with the woodpeckers and went up the next morning. Big thanks to the folks who gave me a jumpstart (dead battery) at the trailhead on the way out!