Ascent of Smoky Dome on 2019-09-13

Climber: Keaton Reed

Date:Friday, September 13, 2019
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Smoky Dome
    Elevation:10095 ft / 3076 m

Ascent Trip Report

I started at 5800 feet at Soldier Mountain Ski Resort. I liked being able to access the trail head from a paved road. I felt the extra mileage was worth it, though the roads to the typical trail head people use are probably fine.

The route begins as a maintenance road for the ski resort. It is quite steep, and it quickly gains 1200 feet in a short distance. Then the route evens out and begins to go up and down (losing a bit of elevation in the process). The road/trail I followed more or less ended at a yurt at 7200 feet. The trail continues beyond, but there is a 300-foot long section where someone has cut down some huge trees and left them in the path (likely to prevent further ATV use). These trees completely cover the trail, and are a little difficult to get through. Kind of annoying. The trail clears up soon, and then shoots straight up the ridge. The trail/road ends at 8200 feet, and after that you are going open country for the rest of the way. I occasionally stumbled upon what looked like a use trail here and there, but I could never follow it for any significant distance. I had to climb two sub peaks, each of which required a significant (or felt significant) down climb. I skirted the summit of Point 9529 (called Second Peak on one map I saw), but I probably should have grabbed that one. It looks like it has about 300 feet of prominence. It has a large cairn and flag on it, so it must have some local significance. Point 9666 required a good down climb, with scrambling involved and everything. Its summit (labeled Third Peak on one map I saw) has no bells and whistles that I could see.

The final climb up to Smoky Dome has some scrambling involved when coming from the east. It isn't technical, but it is a bit challenging after you've already climbed 4500 feet. The rock in the area is stupendous.

I descended a different route, to avoid the climbs on the way back. It wasn't the best decision, but it also wasn't too bad. It was all cross country, and I had to employ all my route-finding skills to find the best way down. I failed in some spots, where I got tangled in thickets. There was a lot of bushwhacking and a lot of potential for bushwhacking. I managed to avoid most of it, but one section really slowed me down. I was on an old trail, but it has obviously not been used in decades.

The nice thing about this drainage, though, was all the water. There were springs, streams, and brooks everywhere, all converging into one nice creek, that eventually fed into the south fork of Soldier Creek. I connected with the south fork road, and followed that back to the main road, which took me back to the ski resort.

I wouldn't recommend the east drainage as a climbing option, unless there actually is a decent trail up there that I couldn't find. It was, however, a very nice way to spend the descent. I loved hiking among the pines and hearing the creek for most of the way down. I also got to see a nice little lake in the Smoky Dome Cirque.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:5095 ft / 1552 m
    Total Elevation Loss:5095 ft / 1552 m
    Round-Trip Distance:13.9 mi / 22.4 km
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Open Country, Bushwhack, Stream Ford, Mud/Swamp, Scramble
    Gear Used:
Ski Poles
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:5095 ft / 1552 m
        Gain Breakdown:Net: 4295 ft / 1309 m; Extra: 800 ft / 243m
    Loss on way in:800 ft / 243 m
    Distance:6.6 mi / 10.6 km
    Route:East ridge from Soldier Mountain
    Start Trailhead:5800 ft / 1767 m
    Time:2 Hours 58 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:4295 ft / 1309 m
    Distance:7.3 mi / 11.7 km
    Route:East drainage
    End Trailhead:5800 ft / 1767 m
    Time:2 Hours 13 Minutes
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip

 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by Keaton Reed
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.

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