Will Hike for Bon-Bons

Page Type: Trip Report
Date Climbed/Hiked: Jul 3, 2009
Activities: Hiking
Season: Summer



Friday, July 3, 2009

Objectives: Mt Rosa (11,499') & St. Peter's Dome(9,690')
Total Distance: ~5.8 miles
Elevation Gain: ~1700 ft

To celebrate Independence Day Eve and a Friday off of work, we decided to spend some time exploring the Pike National Forest with friends and hit a couple local summits. It's not uncommon to read about visitors from Texas finding themselves lost or in danger in the mountains of Colorado while on vacation or simply as recent transplants. I'm not stereotyping, just simply observing a trend. Therefore, Karen and I took an oath to take Josh and Amber under our wings to guide them in the way of the mountain and teach them the mysteries of rocks, trails, and trees. You know, to be their Wilderness Godparents so to speak. Okay, so the truth is they wanted to go hiking and we thought it would be fun to go do something together - but Josh is from Texas.

Mt Rosa, a Teller County highpoint, was first on the agenda. Time and weather permitting we would tackle St. Peter's Dome, an unranked but fun-looking summit right off of Old Stage Road.

Mt Rosa

The drive up Old Stage to Gold Camp Road was significantly wet and washboarded which made our progress slower than normal. We had a huge storm roll through town Thursday afternoon that left hail in the highcountry. We felt sorry for the people we saw camping along the way - must have been a wild night! It was easy to recognize the turn-off for FS 379 as I had made a trip up there earlier in the winter with some friends. It was fun to tackle that road again minus snow and ice and the creek crossing that captured several of our vehicles in January was a wimpy little trickle now. There were a couple of mud ponds further up freshly filled with yesterday's rain that I assumed would be best avoided as a 15-mile walk back to Colorado Springs wasn't exactly on the agenda. We reached Frosty's Park without incident and were ready to hike shortly after 9am. Frosty's Park sees a lot of activity from dirt bikers, ATV'ers, and the general 4-wheeling population, many of whom find their way onto some of the trails designated for hiking only. A non-barbed wire fence was constructed to deter them from getting to the trail, but it also left us a little confused about how exactly to get started. We wandered up the road another 1/4 mile on foot looking for a qualified entrance before deciding to hop the fence and bushwack across the marsh to what looked like the trail. Heading further north we tracked onto a wide trail covered with down tree limbs, obviously placed to discourage biker traffic. Turning right onto trail 372 we noticed fresh dirt bike tracks in the soft dirt and heard engines ahead of us {sigh). We commented several times how damp and green the forest was and with the cloudy skies it felt like we were hiking somewhere in the pacific northwest.

The trail was easy and we kept a good pace, reaching the junction with trail 373 in no time flat. Turning right on 373 we started being treated with clearings in the trees and nice views west to Almagre Mountain and Pikes Peak. We passed a solo hiker and a group of 3 on their way down, just before summitting ourselves at 10:45am. Josh and Amber were excited to be on the summit of their first 11er and made sure to sign the register while soaking in the views.

While taking pictures we noticed that the bushes and rocks around the summit were absolutely loaded with ladybugs! I'm not sure what draws them their, but it was an interesting find. The descent went pretty quickly and we didn't see any other people along the way until reaching the parking lot where there were a couple of Jeepers out having a good time.
LadybugsWhole lotta ladybugs!

St. Peter's Dome

Descending FS 379 and Gold Camp Road back toward Colorado Springs was much easier as the sun had come out and dried up some of the standing water on the road. Amber was content with summitting Mt Rosa and opted to relax at the Colorado Springs overlook while Josh, Karen, and I made a quick ascent of St. Peter's Dome.

A large section of the trail has washed out into a large trench shortly passed the parking lot but posed no problem. We were confused by some of the shortcuts as the trail approaches the blocky summit, but were able to follow the trail all the way to the eastern end of the ridge below the striking sub-summit where the trail curls back to the west and ascends loose dirt and rock. Careful route-finding through the shortcuts led us to the vertical walls of the summit and a decision to head left or right. We scoped out the right option leading to the dramatic sub-summit but decided to leave it for another time. Heading back to the left required more careful route-finding but always looking for a class 2 or easier route up helped solve the problem. We ascended grippy granite slabs and blocks to the summit and were rewarded with more great views of El Paso County's highpoints.

After a brief stay with some pictures and more ladybugs, we made a careful descent back down the slabs. It was hard not to wander down one of the shortcuts unintentionally on the way down, but we made great time back to the car to cap off an enjoyable day exploring the forest with friends.

Best of all, we got it all done in good weather, with plenty of beauty sleep, and were back home in time for bon-bons, eh Kevin?


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shknbke - Jul 4, 2009 11:47 am - Voted 10/10

good job

Nice to see you guys exploring the local summits. Rosa was the first mountain I climbed after moving to CO in '03. I didn't know what I was doing and just bushwacked up the south slopes! I too saw tons of ladybugs up there. Not sure what attracts them to the summit! So was the ladder still up there on St Peter's?


HokieJim - Jul 4, 2009 11:58 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: good job

Yeah, there was a knotted rope that we assumed was the ladder. It didn't look necessary for climbing up, but would have been nice on the downclimb.

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