Ascent of Banner Peak on 2020-04-29

Climber: Dave Covill

Others in Party:Jan Schmidt; Ron Schmidt;
Date:Wednesday, April 29, 2020
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Banner Peak
    Elevation:8480 ft / 2584 m

Ascent Trip Report

This peak is on private land. No access from the west from anywhere near Sphinx Park! We tried to come in from the northeast, via the Butterfield Ranch, and spoke to the people there, who said the land around the peak was owned by Fred Ragsdale, down at the south side near Buffalo Creek. We drove around down the Platte River Road 96/533, to a driveway about 0.5 miles from the intersection with the Pine Valley road, hwy 126. There is a paved driveway headed uphill to the north, go up it about 0.2 miles to some houses, and continue hard left, not right, and drive 0.1 to Mr. Ragsdale's house. There are 3 address signs at the hwy, (17545, 17555, 17575) and 3 houses up above including 2 by the garages as you come up to the turn, and Fred's down to the left.

Proceed to Fred's house, and request permission to climb Banner Peak. He was super friendly, and asked us to sign a simple one page waiver, which we did. We all signed it, and provided a single drivers license # as requested. He drove a quarter mile in his ATV and unlocked a gate for us at the upper edge of the complex, and asked that we re-lock it upon exiting. He asked that we engage 4WD so as not to tear up his slightly steep and definitely sandy (decomposed granite) road. He also commented about "kids" wanting to go up there. I would highly recommend that you arrive in a 4WD vehicle, even a Subaru, and have at least one person along who appears to be over 30.

Our entire time from gate to gate was perhaps 2 hours, and we really took our time up top. We drove 2.2 miles uphill, always staying straight, and passed several left and right turns, and arrived at the flat saddle area at 7,850' in the NW of the SE of Section 24, perhaps a half mile northeast of the summit. From here, there was another road branching left towards where we wished to go, so of course we took it. It wound around at the contour level all the way to the west edge of the section, so we returned to a spot due N of the peak at 7,960' and parked. Going out we measured this spot as 0.4 miles from the main dirt road at the saddle crest.

From here we bushwhacked straight uphill, passing a giant 50' tall boulder that was overhanging on all four sides, and gave every appearance of being unclimbable, with no crack systems for protection. Very cool. There was a hunters camp underneath the N side of it, with ample evidence of horses. It is visible as a tiny closed contour at 8,040'. We continued up, and it became steeper, and we skirted outcrops and boulders as needed. Close to the summit, we skirted the false contour to the left (E) and scampered between boulders to the flat summit area. There is a small register, and a BM with Reference Marker, which is not on the highest boulder but rather off to the southwest perhaps 30'. Tremendous views of course.

Please check in with Mr. Ragsdale, as he is very amenable to responsible hikers coming to visit. I can't say enough how important it is to check in and request permission prior to hiking. The Ragsdales don't want to share a phone number for advance permission. If you can't obtain permission in person, please plan an alternate hike for that day, perhaps Cathedral Spires in Jeffco O.S. land, or another peak in the National Forest nearby, and return another day.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:500 ft / 152 m
    Round-Trip Distance:0.6 mi / 1 km
    Grade/Class:Class 2
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:500 ft / 152 m
    Distance:0.3 mi / 0.5 km
    Start Trailhead:North slope of peak  7980 ft / 2432 m
    Time:45 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Distance:0.3 mi / 0.5 km
    Time:30 Minutes

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