Ascent of Monarch Crest on 2018-02-17

Climber: William Musser

Other People:Solo Ascent
Date:Saturday, February 17, 2018
Ascent Type:Unsuccessful - Turned Back
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Monarch Crest
    Elevation:11570 ft / 3526 m

Ascent Trip Report

Looked like an easy winter hike and from the lot it looked like something I could do with out winter equipment but was not a good call today. I had little time so needed to rush up and tag it and get to Crested Butte to meet family at a specified time. I had two options. Using the Continental Divide Trail a gentle slower climb or straight up along the line of the overhead tram. The tram route is steep but far less snow depth. I did not have gaiters, crampons, ice ax, snow shoes, nor snow boots with me. I totally expected it to be more melted out like in Fairplay. I post-holed to the junction and filled my hiking boots with snow and so started up the steep slope since some rock was exposed. The issue I ran into was where there was snow it was very steep and I had nothing to self arrest if slipped. With Crampons it would have been easy. I did not want to risk injury doing this by myself, so I hiked down and decided to just take it safe on the Colorado Trail. Unfortunately, this did not go as planned either. The trail showed no sign of any recent human hiking. One faint ski track but the snow was deep enough that I was post holing and filling my boots with snow. Coming around the bend the wind was intense and I had no goggles. The trail was built up with snow such that it sloped toward a down drop. Not a comfortable post-holing. This would have been and easy, fun, and quick route with snow shoes but they were back in the cabin. Instead of gutting it out....I went back to the car and elected to return this way with proper equipment, or later in the year without so much wind and snow. Better safe than sorry. Made dinner in time and later found a nice hike in Gunnison.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:270 ft / 82 m
    Round-Trip Distance:0.6 mi / 1 km
    Quality:4 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Unmaintained Trail, Bushwhack, Snow on Ground, Snow Climb
    Weather:Very Windy
cold and windy post holing
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:270 ft / 82 m
    Distance:0.3 mi / 0.5 km
    Route:see TR
    Start Trailhead:Pass Parking lot  11300 ft / 3444 m
Descent Statistics
    Distance:0.3 mi / 0.5 km

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