Winter Direct from Echo Lake

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Colorado, United States, North America
Route Type:
Time Required:
Half a day

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Winter Direct from Echo Lake
Created On: Jan 10, 2011
Last Edited On: Jan 11, 2011


Sun breaking throughSun breaking through the clouds

This direct route from Echo Lake is a good winter option for larger parties that can swap off trail-breaking responsibilities. This is a shorter mileage option to following the road, though the trade-off is gaining approximately 1,500 vertical feet in 1.5 miles, with nearly all of this mileage off-trail. The big payoff, in addition to avoiding the trudge up the road, is that the descent enables a dynamite powder-bash through the trees at the end of the day. The route includes some steep sections in deep timber, topped off by some easy boulder hopping above timberline. There are numerous variations on the route specified here, but this specific option is direct and simple: Head due-south up steep slopes through dense timber to the final road crossing, then cut southwest on tundra to the summit of Goliath Peak.

Roundtrip Distance: 3 miles
Elevation Gain: 1,550 feet
YDS Rating: Class 2

Getting There

Mount Evans buttress peaksMount Evans buttress peaks
Northwest along summit ridgeNorthwest along summit ridge

Driving from Denver

• Follow I-70 west to Exit #252, which is CO 74 (Evergreen Parkway).
• Take Evergreen Parkway for roughly 3 miles to Hwy 103 (Squaw Pass Road).
• Turn right on Squaw Pass Road.
• Follow Squaw Pass Road westbound for about 16-ish miles to the intersection of Hwy 103 and Hwy 5 (Mount Evans Road). Park in the winter lot at the Hwy 105 gate, on the south side of Hwy 103.

Route Description

Blue sky over Goliath PeakBlue sky over Goliath Peak
Descending toward road cutDescending toward road cut
Echo Lake belowEcho Lake below

Rout Map, from Echo LakeRoute indicated by dashed green line on map

Ascending boulder slopeAscending boulder slope

• Head south-southeast from your vehicle through the toll gate on the Mount Evans Road (closed for the season). Travel on the road for only a short. As the road trends to the southeast, leave the road and head due-south up the slope through dense timber, cutting off an east-facing switchback on the road.
• Cross the road again, and continue due south up the slope for about 4/5th of a mile to the next road crossing.
• Push another 4/5th of a mile due south up the dense timber toward the final road cut, breaking through timberline about mid-way through your ascent.
• At the final road cut, with any luck, the upper slopes of Goliath Peak will be blown mostly free of snow. From the road, ascend south-west up a gentle ridge of Goliath Peak, encountering tundra, some rock-hopping, and avoiding large boulders.
• On a clear day, views of the Evans Group will take your breath away.
• Descend the way you reached the summit, enjoying a fabulous powder-bash in the trees on the way down.

Essential Gear

Northeast from Goliath PeakNortheast from Goliath Peak
Cold summit visitCold summit visit

Flotation: Snowshoes would be better for skis for this specific route.

Cold Weather Outerwear: This route is recommended for winter use, so appropriate insulating and wind-stopping layers are a must.

Standard Emergency Gear: Even on a short outing like this one, things can go real wrong, real fast, especially if the weather turns. Be prepared for an emergency.

Navigation: Map and compass (and a GPS if you’d like) will keep you on-course to the summit and ensure your safe return to the parking area.

Team on the SummitTeam on the summit

Winter Direct from Echo Lake

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