7 miles round trip
2,600 ft of elevation gain
3.5 hours to summit
Perfect corn snow the whole way!
My friend Nate and I were looking for a peak to ski that actually had some snow on it. He mentioned that last week, Hagar was the only peak he could see that looked to have good snow and a continuous line, so off we went. We arrived at the trailhead around 6:00 a.m. and started hiking into Dry Gulch at 6:30. We only had to hike about 1/4 mile before the snow was continuous and could skin the rest of the way.
I-70 15 second exposure
As we started skinning in, we started to see the first light of the day. Here is Nate skinning in with the beautiful orange sky.
Nate skinning in at first light
About 25 minutes into the hike, we saw the first portion of sunlight splashing on the summits of The Citadel and Hagar Mtn. I slightly under exposed this picture to really bring out the light of the sun on the summits. It was absolutely beautiful!
Sunrise on Citadel and Hagar
The snow had a good freeze from the previous night and we followed a nice skin track over the river (several times) and made our way into the trees on the river's left side. The snow felt consolidated for the most part and held our weight well. After about an hour from starting the warm sun came out above the ridgeline.
Sun peeks above the ridge
We made our way through the thick forest with a very gradual rise along the river. We broke out above treeline in a beautiful basin, where the grade starts to increase up to a bench. Here is Nate taking some pictures in the basin.
Photographing the photographer
After a short and steep incline, we reached the bench where it flattens out for a short while with great views of The Citadel.
Nate skinning with Citadel in back
After skinning through the bench we made our way to the base of Hagar and the steeper climb began.
Making my way up (I'm actually on snow!)
Skinning up with Golden Bear behind
As we came near the saddle before the steep snow wall gaining the ridge, we heard this really loud sqwaking. I looked over and saw 2 pure white Ptarmigans making themselves known. You may think these guys are harmless, but I was attacked by one a few years back at Jones Pass. They aren't going to break your bones, but when it started hitting me with its wings, it hurts!
Can you spot both Ptarmigans?
We took the skis off and strapped them to our packs for the last stretch to the summit. We could have left them on and skinned up, but that would have required us to constantly switchback up a very steep slope and I hate that! Nate took the lead and kicked steps.
Nate climbing to the false summit
Nate on the false summit
We made the summit around 10 a.m. and relaxed on top for a while taking in the views. Shortly after, a group of 6 people popped up on the top as well. Busy day on Hagar...
Reaching the true summit
Mountain reflection in my goggles
I took a panorama picture on the summit. Not quite 360, maybe more like 235 degrees, but I was encouraged because we saw a lot of good lines to ski on the eastern faces of several peaks.
A panorama from the summit
We waited on the summit for about 45 minutes to let the sun warm up the snow. Our timing turned out to be perfect as we had beautiful smooth corn snow to ski! Here is Nate at the top looking down at the run we are about to ski.
A skier's perspective of the line from the summit
I skied over to the false summit to get a few pictures of Nate coming down. Here is Nate making his turns.
Nate skiing down from the summit
Nate sking down with The Citadel in background
Then I made my way down...
Me making my way down
Ripping through the smooth sweet corn!
I was pleasantly surprised at how fun the run was and how great the snow conditions were, not too frozen, not too wet. Since I haven't skied a ton this year my legs were really burning on the descent, but hey, no pain no gain!
There is a small little cliff band to ski around, and then you get a long very gradual slope to the top of the bench. Once I reached that point, I looked back and took a picture of Nate. Bonus points if you can spot him in this picture!
Can you find Nate skiing down?
A fine ski descent!
From the top of the bench, there is a nice long and steep run through nicely spaced out trees. I really enjoyed this run as well as the snow was still perfect! Here is Nate making his way down.
Nate ripping through the fun trees!
After reaching the river we skied down the very gradual slope all the way back to within 1/4 mile of the car. We did not have any colapsing snow in the warm temperatures in the trees and we had a nice relaxing ski back.
I don't know how long Hagar will be this good, but I'd say you can get a great run for a few more weeks (although with this new snow today it is probably better!). Great mountain and great conditions in this poor snow year.