Finally finished what I started with Steve, Britt, Shawn (and Okie) in Feb 2012. That time, Steve was working on the high 100 in winter. So we (Steve mostly) trenched through waist-deep sugar snow from the Midwest Mine, then north to the ridge and toward (but not quite finding) the La Garita stock driveway, and into Phoenix Park. At the base of the west ridge, Okie had had enough (and me, too :) ) so we bailed. But Steve, Britt, and Shawn got the summit. An absolutely brutal day for them -- in that it took not much less than 24 hours to complete. I've been wanting to re-do that route ever since. It wasn't quite winter, and conditions were much better (much less snow and biting wind only near the top), but it was still nice to do that route.
The former "stock driveway" is now just a cairned use trail for people climbing Phoenix; other supposed trails in the area may have similarly returned to nature. Someone needs to find that beaver a hobby... Trip report.
I started to drive to Phoenix Park, but after 0.7 miles decided to park the can and walk (the road is steep and rough, and I felt sorry for my car). Anyway, my son stayed and hiked around Phoenix park all day and did not see any cars, only ATVs on that road.
I went up solo via falls, crossed over La Garunta 13,780 point to La Garita Peak 13,710 feet. Descended La Garita and ran onto a huge herd of elk (>100). Tried to find the trail which connects with the south slopes of Phoenix, but it was all overgrown. Saw higher up several cairns, then bushwhacked and finally found the trail. Noticed that Larry mentioned in comments this trail being closed, there were no signs. It does not look that it gets used anymore.
Perfect day on Phoenix!
Hiked Phoenix Peak from the 2WD trailhead below East Willow Creek.
beautiful summer day in the La Garitas. We followed Roach's route description with little difficulty.
CMC Trip. There were five of us total. The goal was to do both Phoenix and La Garita Peaks. We camped the night before at the tailings cleanup site in East Willow canyon, and hiked from there. We started just after 6AM and reached the top around 11:30. There was some weather brewing to the west, so we decided to skip La Garita at first, and dropped down about 200 feet from the Phoenix/Pt ~12760 saddle, before deciding the weather didn't look all that bad. With some encouragement from the others, we decided to climb back up and go for La Garita.
I missed the trail that branches off East Willow Creek somehow. I had to bushwhack west on the right hand side of the creek going west to the south slope ridge. On the way down I correctly found the trail and it eventually finds its way to the south side of the creek heading toward East Willow Creek. Sound confusing? Well it was at the time. I ended up hiking up point 13,780 as well.
For Late May, it sure as hell felt like late February. Climbed with Sarah Thompson, Dominic, Chicagotransplant, Kevin and Ken.
5/24/08 - Climbed the West Ridge. Although it was Memorial Day weekend, conditions up high were definitely winter-like. The nasty weather was compensated by great company though and it ended up being a memorable day.
1/13/18 - Solo hike in extremely dry conditions. Started at 2WD East Willow Creek Trailhead (could drive all the way!). Climbed not quite the standard route and then did an out and back to UN 13,402 before descending. Carried snoshoes but did not use them. Better conditions than my late May climb!
Climbed with Kiefer, Sarah, Dominic, Ken and Kevin. Felt a lot more like February than May as it was windy and snowing and covered in rime. A couple of us almost got frostbite coming down.
Note to people trying to get up this one, you can't drive up East Willow Creek just yet, rock slide. You can, however, get to the trailhead via the Bachelor Loop 4x4 road.
En route to La Garita Peak. 4:45 roundtrip.
Whew, this ended up being more work than I thought it would be due to the crappy deep snow in the trees. I love the La Garitas though, 3rd straight Memorial Day up in this area and never saw a person on any of our hikes. Great views from up top too.
I missed the Center Stock driveway and left the 4wd too early as I forgot the first page of my directions! I just bushwacked along Whited Creek and found the old trailhead sign after 20 min. The climb to the ridge is gentle but deceivingly long. A nice remote centennial/county hp that I enjoyed by myself. Nice page, Layne!
John Kirk and I enjoyed a nice loop hike on a beautiful day and had the mountain to ourselves. Well, we shared it with about 50 elk!