Ascent of Prospect Mountain on 2018-11-10
|Other People:||Solo Ascent|
Only Party on Mountain
|Date:||Saturday, November 10, 2018|
|Ascent Type:||Successful Summit Attained|
| Motorized Transport to Trailhead:||Hi-Clearance Vehicle|
| Elevation:||8880 ft / 2706 m|
Ascent Trip ReportSo with snow coming in tonight and being in mid NOV, I abandoned the idea of any alpine hikes but instead, turned my attention to three nice hikes in the Estes Park area that had good views but limited snow and all were below ELEV 10,000 feet. One hike was easy well marked trail hike, one was a less easy to follow forest trail hike with a scramble finish, and one was a steep bushwhack.
Lilly Mountain -
The first climb was just under 5 miles, Lilly Mountain. I parked at the standard parking pull out off of SR 7. The trail spends the first entire mile parallel to SR 7 and climbs little. There is a lot of interesting pinnacles of feldspar eroded granite. The trail had a lot of snow compacted down to slick ice. I hiked it upward without spikes but slipped a bit too much so used microspikes on the way down. The trail was not marked but used enough to follow easily until the upper scramble area. The snow and ice made it confusing a bit, but there is an obvious gully that one can take and reach the summit without actually using any class 3 (I would call the standard route class 2+). I took a more direct rock route of class 3 to avoid being on more ice. I passed everyone on the trail and summited ahead of others but I noticed that everyone chose the class 3 wall to avoid the slick ice in the easier gully. The views of Longs Peak and Meeker are wonderful from this peak. I counted a total of 15 people on this icy cold Saturday. On the way down, I made a mistake and followed another trail that was not shown on the road map but zig zags directly down to SR 7. There is small parking turn out at this location and this route would allow you a faster and more direct line to summit this peak. But for me, now I was stuck having to hike back to the car along the road. I bushwhacked a few rocky features and ended up below my truck and had to hike back up to it.
Prospect Mountain –
On the way to my next hike, I spotted a nice feature, Prospect Mountain and my peakbagger ap showed it had 800 feet of prominence so I had to try it too. But I had not planned this hike. I drove up the mountain road through the subdivision and found Curry Drive. This narrow paved road, quickly becomes dirt and then rough. A car could take it but a high clearance vehicle (my truck) was better as there are some deep ruts. There is a fence and no trespassing signs up the road preventing one from driving up to the peak. I parked down from the gate and encountered no more signs. I parked and bushwhacked up the mountain (see GPS track) through thick cedar forest and headed for the first tall pinnacle on the GPS map (see the tight contours, yes it is straight up 100 foot class 5 pinnacle). I expected a fence, or private property signs but saw none from this route. The pinnacle is impressive and I saw no way to summit it without a hard class 5 roped climb. I headed up to the next larger pinnacle and scooted around it keeping myself on no harder than class 3 rock. Making the saddle, I stumbled into a nice unmaintained but well used trail. I have no idea where the TH is for this but it must be a south bearing where I came up a SE bearing. I followed the trail up to the saddle between the two obvious peaks. Encountered some snow but not ice. I was not sure which subpeak was the true summit so I scrambled up both and then followed a line that took me up each of the rocky subpeaks along the summit and got some minor (easy class 3) and nice views. I loaded my GPS trail but it errored on the way down and did not show the complete return to the truck but it shows the basic line I took.
Kruger Rock –
My final hike was nearby at Hermit park (fee was $6 to park). It was late in the day and it was getting cloudy and cold. The trail is well used and thus, the compacted snow was slick ice and microspikes were necessary. The trail meanders up and down some. It is an easy class 1 trail. Up near the top the trail turns to brief scramble. If one takes the standard route, you climb through a large fissure and the obstacles are no harder than a class 2+. There are plenty of other alternate routes if desired that can make it more interesting class 3.
Total day was around 11 miles and some 3,300 feet of vertical.
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