Ascent of Puma Peak on 2012-08-14

Climber: Rob Woodall

Others in Party:Petter Bjørstad
----Only Party on Mountain
Date:Tuesday, August 14, 2012
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:4x4 Vehicle
Peak:Puma Peak
    Elevation:11570 ft / 3526 m

Ascent Trip Report

We visit this summit the day after Medicine Bow Peak. From Denver we drive highway 285 to Jefferson where we turn L on 77 which we follow for just less that 17 miles until a short distance past the end of Tarryall reservoir, where we turn R (SW) at N39.22129 W105.60259 on the unpaved CO 23 (Turner Gulch Rd). This dirt road would probably be doable in a normal clearance car although the remaining 5 miles of road would probably have to be hiked (it's a pretty slow drive anyway).

After 1.6 miles we turn L at N39.22355 W105.62876 on FR 144 signed Packer Gulch and stay on that rough unpaved road for 4.5 miles, keeping L at several forks. At 4.5 mi we turn sharp L at the FR 237 junction (N39.17653 W105.59504), staying on the 144 until mile 5.2 where there is parking for a single vehicle at a sharp R bend (N39.17283 W105.58396, 3067m). We were glad to be able to leave our SUV and start walking, although in a more capable vehicle it would be possible to drive the road almost to its end (note there are a couple of downed trees near the top; there is parking/turning space at most bends).

We start hiking at 09:50 and follow the zigzags gently uphill to reach the end of FR 144 in a re-entrant at N39.16050 W105.58181, 3370m). From here it is an easy walk through open forest (a few fallen trees easily negotiated) to reach the first (NE) summit, a small rock outcrop (N39.15716 W105.58152, 3515m) with a small cairn. There is minimal view but enough sky for our GPS units to find an almost complete set of satellites and good accuracy (2 or 3 metres). There's a summit register here with a reasonable number of ascents in recent years. There is a reasonable view through the canopy to the SW summit which looks clearly lower.

We visit the saddle (30m descent, reasonable GPS accuracy) then make the (noticeably smaller) climb to the SW summit: there are a few outcrops, the farthest one (N39.15423 W105.58398, 3505m) being the higher. This has no cairn and a summit register dating to about 2007 with no entries since: one of the latest is by Bob Packard confirming he visited both.

Our GPS units both read 10m lower at the SW summit than at the NE summit, consistent with visual observation and with the apparent bagging consensus with most folk completing the newer summit register on the NE summit. The USGS map has an 11550 spot at the NE summit and (in our view, incorrectly) an 11560 contour ring at the SW summit. Returning to the NE summit we get almost the same readings as before, 11m higher than at the SW summit. The USGS ought to look at this, but meanwhile it's best to visit both summits.

We take a more direct line down, mostly keeping to the nice open forest and hardly using the road at all and are back at the car at 12:36. Petter drives back out rather carefully, we get fuel and food in Jefferson; I suggest a quick visit to Mt Evans as it's a drive-up P600...and end up doing the full Bierstadt + Evans traverse :-)

Puma Peak photo album
Summary Total Data
    Elevation Gain:1640 ft / 500 m
    Elevation Loss:1640 ft / 500 m
    Distance:4.8 mi / 7.8 km
    Grade/Class:Yds 2
    Quality:5 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Bushwhack
    Weather:Pleasant, Calm, Clear
Ascent Statistics
    Elevation Gain:1574 ft / 480 m
    Extra Loss:66 ft / 20 m
    Distance:3.7 mi / 6 km
    Route:N face
    Trailhead:FR114 above Tarryall Resr  10062 ft / 3066 m
    Time Up:1 Hours 16 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Elevation Loss:1574 ft / 480 m
    Extra Gain:66 ft / 20 m
    Distance:1.1 mi / 1.8 km
    Route:N face
    Trailhead:FR114 above Tarryall Resr  10062 ft / 3066 m
    Time Down:1 Hours 30 Minutes
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip

 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by Rob Woodall
Click Here for a Full Screen Map
Note: GPS Tracks may not be accurate, and may not show the best route. Do not follow this route blindly. Conditions change frequently. Use of a GPS unit in the outdoors, even with a pre-loaded track, is no substitute for experience and good judgment. accepts NO responsibility or liability from use of this data.

Download this GPS track as a GPX file

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