| Father Dyer NorthEast Ridge
This is a bit late, and also my first trip report on the forum!
Anyway the conditions have likely changed since I've been out there.
I moved to Colorado from the northeast at the end of last summer, and without a whole lot of winter mountaineering experience, my summit adventures this past winter were pretty limited. I did however pick up Coopers Colorado Scrambles book, and I planned to do a bunch of them this summer. I decided to try out an easy one to start with, and the northeast ridge of Father Dyer looked like a splendid and beautiful choice.
I chose the fourth of July weekend, as I figured that the snow would be mostly off the ridge, and that this nice off trail hike would be devoid of most of the people running out to the 14ers for the first time this summer. I did manage to rope a couple of friends into going with me, which was great.
Anyway the trip started out with an adventure, as we parked at the top of the "drivable" road thinking that it was the trail head, we walked the wrong trail for a while before I decided that we were heading the wrong direction for too long. After getting back to the car we tried to get the little 2 wheel drive vehicle up the road and that wasn't happening, so we ended up just pulling over at a place where the road widened enough to allow it.
Now that we were back on track the second adventure came at the stream crossing. The snowmelt had turned this into a raging river, and it required a lot of careful maneuvering to get across.
Crossing the Stream
Beyond the stream we started running into snow, any by the time we turned off the wheeler trail up towards crystal lake we were mostly hiking on hard packed covering a stream from crystal lake. With the road covered and hard to follow, we ended up alternating between hiking up the river and bushwhacking through the willows up towards crystal lake.
After a quick break at crystal lake we turned southwest to hike up a gully that connected to the ridge. Much to my relief the ridge was dry and snow free. The hike up the ridge was very pleasant with no obstacles that gave me too much pause. I would be lying though if I said that my faith in the rock was 100% all the time. I added a couple of scrambling pictures below that I feel accurately describe the ridge.
Half way up!
At the summit we sat and ate some lunch. At this point I was starting to be concerned about the weather as I watched a few thunderclouds develop rapidly to to the east. I started looking for potential bail outs before we started the ridge up Crystal peak, but as I remember the decent looked pretty hairy towards the bottom of the bowl between the two peaks.
Anyway, the weather to the west didn't look to threatening and we made our way up the ridge to the summit of crystal peak with ease.
Flowers near the summit of Crystal Peak
With the weather threatening we decided to skip peak 10 and head down to the trail that connects somewhere up on the higher slopes of the connecting ridge between Crystal and Peak 10.
Ironically enough this is where the most exciting/sketchy part of the hike we encountered was. After hitting the trail we had to cross a steep snow slope (40ish degrees, I should have checked). The slope steepened below to some cliffs, and an uncontrolled slide down it would have been bad. I felt fine crossing it with my Ice axe, however my friends had a harder time without Ice axes. The snow was fairly soft at this point and my one friend kicked his steps in and seemed to make it across without too much difficulty, I followed, and my other friend followed me. With the packed steps allowing little for him to kick into he had a hard time staying balanced and about halfway across the snowfield he fell! But as I said the snow was soft and he didn't slide, but the fall rattled him.
Seconds before the fall
We ran the ice axe out to him and helped him up and the rest of the way across the snow field without incident. No injury, but scary nonetheless!
At the next snow field the run out was into a nice bowl, so we glissaded down with ease and before we knew it we were back at Crystal lake on the way out.
Fortunately the weather held for us, and we achieved our goal of solitude on 4th of July weekend, other than briefly crossing paths with a few skiers at the start of the day, we didn't see anyone! All and All the scrambling was not very difficult and has helped me build some confidence for some harder, more committing routes! Fantastic!
I included a picture of the route below and a link to more pictures I have on flickr.
Thanks for reading my TR, I hope you enjoyed it and I hope to get out for some more scrambling soon!
Link to extra pictures: http://www.flickr.com/photos/64381949@N03/sets/72157626981460493/
(you have to be my friend to view em, but just add me and I'll accept)
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):