Monday, April 18, 2011

200 Ranked Peaks...and counting...

UN 9036

Tappan Mtn.(8,945 ft.)

Pt. 8857

UN 9083

18 April, 2011: I set out to finish off the Hackett Mtn. Quad. I had done the four ranked (and one unranked) peaks in the western extremity of Teller County, and needed the three sitting over the line in Park County. I couldn't quite meet this goal, but I made the best use possible of a partial day. To wit:

Foray 1: I pulled off Park Co. Rd.77—the Tarryall Road—onto FR 210 a few miles north of US 24. I found it gated basically right at the NF boundary, so I started from there. I had hoped to be able to drive considerably farther east, reducing my hiking time, but I knew I could still accomplish most of my day's objectives even having to hike from this point. East on the road (which even my Honda could easily have handled...), north on an unnamed 4WD track, and then ENE up the gentle ridge to the summit of UN 9036. It took just over an hour. I installed a register. Back down, almost to the car, in 49 min.

I headed north on FR 292 for Tappan Mtn. This pretty much deep-sixed my chances of finishing the Hackett Mtn. Quad, due to time, but, although Tappan is over the line on the adjacent Tarryall quad, I just couldn't pass it up, since adding it to this foray was a whole lot easier than making the same journey later. Besides, it would still give me three ranked peaks for the day, just not the three I had originally envisioned. It took me less than an hour to climb the south slopes (after leaving FR 292) and return to the car. Although Kevin's TR said there was a register, I could not locate it, despite the fact that my GPS confirmed the fact that I had found the true summit. Oh, well...

RT: 7.3 mi. Vert.: roughly 1,650 ft.

Foray 2: I headed back down CR 77 to CR 112. After crossing the creek (Tappan Gulch), the main road turns south to go to the Happy Meadows CG on the South Platte River. I instead headed north on FR 295, aiming to go as far as the road would let me. Once again, it wasn't really the road that stopped my wheeled progress, but a FS gate, just inside the NF boundary, where FR 296 heads off to the northeast. Based on previously published reports, this was not really a surprise, so I parked and proceeded north on the road on foot; at least, there would be no bushwhacking for a while. Noteworthy is the fact that a sign posted on the gate calls the closure “seasonal,” but the road beyond the gate had, obviously, long since dried out of the last snows; I can only conclude that the FS is arbitrarily expanding its authority yet again...

I left the road (not knowing how far it really went) at roughly 39.0286°N, and headed up the south ridge of Pt. 8857. I knew that climbing this unranked point was not really necessary to my ultimate objective, but I also knew that it would make route-finding relatively simple. What's more, the south-facing slopes offered quite a bit of relatively open terrain, not seriously encumbered by either rocks or timber; I felt it would be worth the extra vertical, not least because, in all probability, few have ever stood on top of this unranked high point.

After descending the steeper, rockier, and more wooded northern slopes, I finally tackled the south side of 9083. A cut for a power line helped with cleared timber, and I finally left it just short of the summit, which I reached an hour and thirteen minutes after setting off. With time now at a premium, I took a more direct route southward back to the saddle between 9083 and 8857, after which I did a gently descending traverse across the west slopes, avoiding most of the rocks, until I found the road (FR 295) just a bit north of where I had left it on the way up. I arrived back at the car just 50 minutes after leaving my third summit of the day.

And that summit was my 200th ranked peak—including a number in New Mexico. There are many climbers out there—a few of whom I know and have been happy to climb with—who have many more peaks to their credit, but this milestone still made me feel a certain sense of pride.

RT: 4.35 mi. Vert.: roughly 1,100 ft.

Long life and many peaks!


Blogger Dave Philipps said...


I'm writing in the Gazette about Garfield, Arthur, Rocky Mountain, Cheyenne -- all the peaks that are right in front of the city but get no notice. I see you have climbed several, including Tenny in the 70s and recently. I'd like to talk to you about these peaks, their allure, and why you think they get so few visitors.
Feel free to email me:

1:30 PM  

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