No, not that Mount Evans, the other one. The fairly modest rise between Mosquito Pass and Dyer Mountain. But, the saddle toward Dyer is just low enough for Evans to satisfy the 300-foot rule and take its place just a few feet short of the list of Colorado's 200 highest peaks. The shortest way to climb Evans without a 4WD vehicle is to make an ascent of Dyer (or skirt the very top coming and going) from the very high road up Iowa Gulch. However, the easiest way is via the western approach of the Mosquito Pass Road, and the easy north ridge of Evans. That's also the shortest approach with 4WD, but that's moot for me.
I was hoping that the weather really was going to be better today than it had been the previous days and it was. I started hiking just before 7am under blue skies. The "trailhead" for a normal car is near some mining property, including the signed Diamond Mine. From downtown Leadville, turn east onto 7th Street and basically follow it as it turns into Park County 3 and approaches some obvious mining buildings at about 11200 feet. Just beyond this, the good road becomes much rougher. There is plenty of room to park at this junction of several roads, including Park County 3B, and a road that seems to just go to one of the mines. The drive is 4.1 miles from the start of 7th Street.
The road isn't really so horrible and made for a very good hiking surface; i.e., this isn't something ridiculous like the road to Como Lake or the South Colony Road. A decent stock 4WD vehicle can make it all the way to the pass and a lot of people ride it in ATVs and motorcycles. It is also a macho mountain bike ride. As a hike, it really isn't very difficult. While the gradient steepens as you go higher and start the switchbacks, it is never as steep as a "real" hiking trail and after living in Dillon at 9000 feet for 2.5 out of the last 4 weeks and climbing a bunch of 13ers, this went pretty easily and fast. I was also going light and wearing my running shoes again, so that helped even more.
I hiked up to a junction at around 12900 feet, which is the turn off for the service road for the communications equipment on Evans' north ridge. I was exactly one hour into the hike at that point and I had hiked about 2.9 miles.
This road traverses below the ridgecrest for a while, and then hits the ridge at the comm site. Beyond this, the footing is still quite good and gradual, except for one slightly rockier and steeper spot that is more like "Class 1+". If all ridges were this easy, multi-peak days would be a lot easier!
I reached the summit cairn at 0836, and my GPS odometer exactly matched my 4.4 mile one-way distance that I had expected (well, I cheated a little and used map24.com to measure the road distance based on an aerial photo so I had a good reason to be correct). On much of the ascent to the ridge I was in the shade with a light, but cool easterly breeze. That breeze was a bit stronger around Evans and I was wearing shorts. I didn't want to mess with my clothing much, so I put on gloves and sat on the leeward side of the cairn for a bit.
Since this had went so easily, I decided to hike the ridge over to Mosquito Pass and then make the short ascent of Point 13546, a.k.a. "Repeater Peak". This is a "soft rank" peak that could possibly satisfy the 300-foot rule if the elevation of the saddle that connects it to Mosquito Peak is on the low end of the possible range. Not such I big deal, I guess, but Evans was my 26th out of 30 ranked 13ers in the Tenmile-Mosquito Range and Repeater would give me my 3rd and final soft rank 13er. I knew this would make the total distance for the day fairly long as GPS could tell me that Repeater was 2.32 miles away. But, I was feeling strong and knew that it would be pretty easy.
I stayed on the ridge crest all the way to Mosquito Pass, which was still easy hiking with just occasional talus and gentle grades. I took a short break at the pass and a motorcyclist from Boulder came up from the Leadville side with his young son, so we talked for a bit. While descending to the pass, I could see a road not on the map that was going pretty high on Repeater and guessed that it had to come from the road that skirts this point on its way to the mining equipment I had seen while climbing Mosquito Peak on my previous trip. So, instead of directly tackling the ridge, I followed the road. Indeed, after a short distance, another road branched upwards to the right, with a cable blocking traffic. ATVs had skirted around this cable, but in any case, this is obviously the service road for the comm equipment that gives the peak its nickname and leads all the way to the summit with just one switchback pair. (This road shows up on aerial photos, but I hadn't been too seriously thinking about Repeater on this trip.)
The weather was still good and with the fact of a flat road connecting Mosquito Pass to the saddle between Repeater and Mosquito Peak, I couldn't resist taking an altimeter measurement and GPS reading at the saddle to see if I could pin down whether Repeater might actually be a ranked peak. I rambled down the talus and tundra, with just one slightly steep spot that could probably be avoided. After correcting the raw altimeter readings, both GPS and the altimeter indicated a rise from the saddle for Repeater of around 270 feet. So, it seems almost impossible that Repeater is a ranked peak.
I caught the road back to Mosquito Pass, which is almost dead flat, and then continued banging down the road back to my car. I accidentally took a short cut, signed as "Do Not Enter" at the bottom. Oops. But, it only seems to be a road segment that someone doesn't want people to drive as it didn't lead to anything in particular.
I encountered several ATVs and other 4WD vehicles on my way down, but it certainly wasn't crowded. There are a couple of lakes just above the mining buildings at the start and the field between the lakes the road was covered with wildflowers. I had been feeling strong on the hike until the last half-mile or so when I finally started feeling the effort of hiking 12 miles in 4.5 hours. My eating was more in tune with the amount of time instead of such a long distance, so I suspect that was the issue.
Even though Mount Evans isn't much of a challenge, this was actually quite a pleasant hike. It was unfortunate that I didn't get more peaks on this trip, but this whole "climb like hell for a week" is a lot more work than being able to just hike once a week for several months at a time like when I lived here.
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File last modified: 22 November 2007