| In Search of Solitude...
In Search of Solitude…
“Climber’s Point” (13,005’)
“Mount Solitude” (13,090’)
Hiker(s): Me, Myself, & I
Trailhead: Pitkin Lake TH
Route: W slopes to “Climber’s Pt”, and then a ridge run to the N for “Mt Solitude”; for the descent—I did a variation of the ascent line (see map below)
Distance: ~10mi. RT
Elevation Gain: ~4900’
Difficulty: mostly class 2+, with some easy/moderate class 3 sections on the ridge before “Climber’s Pt” and on the way to “Mt Solitude”—but it can be avoided by going below it on the W side
Blue = ascent
Red = variation on descent
Gear: daypack w/Essentials
Resources Used For Trip Planning: TOPO! mapping software; Joseph D. Kramarsic’s Mountaineering in the Gore Range: A Record of Explorations, Climbs, Routes, & Names; Dave Cooper’s Colorado Scrambles guidebook (for directions to the TH, which he uses for his route description for “E Partner Peak”)
My summer living in Avon has had its advantages: for one the proximity to several ranges and TH’s within an hours drive has been efficient, and of course the proximity to the Gore Range was an attraction to me from the beginning. It’s only been late this summer that I’ve taken advantage of my time to go into the Gore Range though, but I intend to use the rest of my time here wisely and do as many Gore peaks as I can.
Recently I was flipping through the index pages of Roachs’ 13er guidebook, and there I saw “Solitude, Mt” and the name immediately appealed to me. Then I saw it was in the Gore Range, perfect! I opened up my TOPO! program and located “Mt Solitude” and quickly realized that I could do it as a dayhike. And the west slopes looked like it would go, for which Mike (Chicago Transplant) confirmed for me.
Sunday morning came, and I was out the door in search of Solitude….
…and it’s out (or over) there…
I was on the trail by 6am-ish, quickly gaining some elevation as the trail climbs up into the Pitkin Creek drainage. It levels out for a bit before the first waterfall, giving me a reprieve from the uphill push--temporarily. After the first waterfall, which is down below the trail, the trail starts going uphill again. Once at the second waterfall, I started my bushwack up the western slopes of my targets.
And the bushwack starts
I crossed a small stream and headed towards the willows that awaited me. In the willows, there were some steep belayed (from branches) moves made, but I made it through ok. Coming down was about the same!
I think these bees suckled their last bit of nectar
At this bee hive, I turned left
Beyond the difficulties of willow bashing, I was in a small basin below the western slopes. I could see several options for my ascent, but since I wanted to go to “Climber’s Pt” first, I thought the most efficient would be to go to the saddle to the S of it, and then head N.
Looking up at the saddle and my route
W Partner & E Partner (l. to r.), seen from W slopes on my ascent to the saddle
These beauties had my back
Holy Cross Wilderness and Vail Ski Resort in foreground
At the saddle, new views opened up to the E
The weather was perfect for my pace, so I continued to take my time, stopping constantly to look at the surrounding peaks. The views from along this ridge to “Climber’s Pt” and “Mt Solitude” are pretty sweet, in my opinion.
Boulder Creek drainage
This pika was also enjoying the views
I’m not sure what time I reached the ‘true’ summit of “Climber’s Pt” but I also don’t care. The smile on my face was enough for contentment and it distracted me from minor details such as time.
The Gore is not short on steep terrain
And rock faces like this seem to be around every corner
Next up: more Solitude.
Final ridge section to summit of “Mt Solitude”
I recently checked out Kramarsic’s Gore book from the library, and with the help of his book, I’m starting to learn my alphabet. However, if I’m wrong, I hope Gore enthusiasts out there will correct me.
l. to r., Peak L and the Gore Thumb (in the shadows), and Guyselman Mtn (Peak M)
A Jumbled Alphabet View
More of the Same
An hour of bliss (and even some sadness) was spent on the summit. But alas, I must leave.
On my descent, these two peaks that rise above Booth Lake had my attention
The Spider & The Fly
The Spider (12,692’) is on the right, and The Fly (12,560’) is on the left. I hope to be able to climb them before I leave Avon later this month. Perhaps I need a Partner first.
Thanks for reading,
The Power of Solitude, The Power of the Mountains
I did not exactly set out searching for solitude, but it found me. And with that solitude in the mountains, a powerful experience followed.
On the ridge and on the summit of Solitude, my mind (and heart) ran through several stages of emotions. One moment I was all smiles because of where I was and what I was seeing, yet the next moment I was filled with sadness and tears.
In January of this year, I lost my brother to suicide. After his death, I went to the mountains for peace. And peace found me. But there are still rough days, and for some reason this day had those moments.
Dale is a part of me, and I will cherish the memories I have of us growing up together, the good and the bad times. And I will miss the times we would have had together down the road.
On this day, solitude did find me, but I was not alone.
I love you brother, I miss you. Thank you for walking with me in the mountains.