| Mosquito 13ers - Over 2 Saturdays
As my Copper/WP/Steamboat pass collects dust, I got out in the Mosquito Range the past two Saturdays. My only real climbing goals are to continue my quest to finish the centennials (18 to go) and stay in shape by getting some additional new 13ers.
This report combines my climbs from 1/19 and 1/26. I did not have a camera for 1/19, but did bring it on 1/26 and got picks for both portions of the report (with no new snow coming during the gap).
Who: Shawn (Rainier_Wolfcastle)
When: 1/19/2013 - Start at 7:15am - Finished at 4:30pm
TH: Mosquito Pass Rd (County Rd 12), Elevation ~11,500
Peaks (in order of Ascent): Mt. Tweeto 13,672 (Ranked #162), Treasurevault Mtn 13,701 (Unranked), Mosquito Peak 13,781 (Ranked #115), Point 13,548 "Repeater" (Unranked), London Mtn 13,194 (Ranked #493)
Stats (estimated): 11.5 Miles, 4,800 feet elevation gain (getting off-route on decent added a quarter mile and 300 ft gain)
Route: Road North/NW, Creek Bed NW, Ridge to and from Tweeto, Ridge to Treasurevault, Ridge to Mosquito, Ridge to Repeater, Repeater East Ridge to London Saddle, London West Ridge to and from London, Mosquito Pass Rd back to Car (got a little off route)
d_baker's "Repeat After Me" Trip Report: http://www.14ers.com/php14ers/tripreport.php?trip=11323&parmpeak=830&cpgm=tripmain&ski=Include
On Jan 19th, my friend Dave (CarpeDM) was going to climb Pennsylvania and maybe Evans B & London. I was shooting for a bigger day, so I figured I'd share the basin with him and try to follow Darin Baker's big day from a few years ago, plus adding London. This would include Tweeto, Arkansas, back to Tweeto, then ridge walk over Treasurevault, Mosquito, Repeater, meet Dave @ the London Saddle, climb London with him, then follow the road to my car. Then shuttle Dave back to his car. Dave loaned me one of his walkie talkies (so we could track each other's progress).
I left Broomfield at 4:45 am Saturday and headed up 285, turned north up Hwy 9, turned left on Co Rd 12 just before Alma, went 6 miles or so up the road until I hit the Mosquito Pass Rd to my left and parked. The last 2 miles of the road involved driving through some snow (with previous tracks) in 4wd in my 4Runner. I was in 4-low with some momentum to get through one drift. Nobody is getting any farther on either road, from where I parked.
Here is a pic of the basin from Mount Buckskin a week later. The X marks my starting point
I started up Co Rd 12 (staying straight, not going left up the Mosquito Pass Rd) in my snowshoes. It was windy and cold at the start. I pretty much followed the road until it disappeared, then followed the creek bed NW. From there I stayed on the lower angled slopes with the least snow coverage. Eventually you angle a little right to stay on lower angled slopes. As you start coming around left you start hitting some exposed talus. I removed my snow shoes and worked my way up to the base of Tweeto's South Ridge.
When I hit the ridge, I stashed my snowshoes. The wind really picked up here and the windchill was probably -20 F. I took my IPhone out to take a picture and my phone freaked out (actually telling me it was too hot to operate, even though it was freezing) and then died for the remainder of the day. The problem with the ridge ascent was the wind was 30+mph on the West side and ridge proper, but the right side had what I call talus with trap-door snow...you know, when you step on snow between blocks...you might or might not find a trap-door. Anyways, I stumbled my way up to Tweeto's Summit. At this point I gave up on going for Arkansas because I would be heading straight into the bitter wind on a fairly exposed ridge.
I signed the register (which I found in a shattered glass bottle). If anyone heads up there, the register could use a plastic container.
Here is a pic of the upper basin (Treasurevault is in the center, Tweeto is just off the picture to the right, middle-right of the pic is where I ascended from middle to the upper right)
Here are pics of the ridge to Tweeto, then over to Arkansas (from Mt. Buckskin, I have not done either ridge, but the Buckskin-Tweeto ridge goes class 3, Tweeto-Arkansas has a couple class 3 moves):
After a wind sheltered break, I worked my way back down the ridge. Collected my snow-shoes. Then worked my way up the easier grassy slopes on the east side of the ridge towards Treasurevault. I found a nice rest spot and tried to connect with Dave on the radio at the arranged time of 10:30. Dave had atarted late and was not yet up to Penn's summit.
I knew that between him starting late and my skipping Arkansas, I was way ahead of schedule. Also, the sun was now out and I was out of the wind...time to de-layer, enjoy the scenery, and take my time. Treasurevault's summit came easy and I started over to Mosquito. On the saddle, there was a bunch of old mining equipment and an old road. The ridge up to Mosquito is a little steeper, but still just class 2. I hit Mosquito's summit at 11:20 and made my hourly radio connection with Dave at 11:30. He was on Penn's Summit and was going to head west on the ridge to Evans B.
Here is a pic of (from left to right) of "Repeater", Mosquito, and Treasurevault:
After a 30 minute break on Mosquito, I headed over the easy ridge to "Repeater." After hitting that summit I started working my way down the "Repeater" East Ridge..here things got a little more interesting. The ridge is kind of steep (especially with snow). Eventually I worked my way down the south side of the ridge to the Mosquito Pass Rd and then over to the "Repeater"/London Saddle.
Here is a pic of London (centered with the long ridge up from the right, steep drop down left off its summit to Co Rd 12), Pennsylanvia is right behind London, and Mt Evans B is back right with its ridge from Penn:
At this point, Dave was still 500 vertical ft from Evans B and told me to go ahead and get London. London's West ridge starts out with some fun scrambling and a pretty established trail. However, after 20 minutes of fun, the false summits start. Man, how many false summits are there? I just kept working point to point on class 2 trail until after 20 more minutes I was on top. Without a break, I followed my ascent route back down to the saddle. Dave had now summited Evans B and was working his way to the Mosquito Pass Rd...which would lead him to where I was now and then down to my car. He told me to start heading down and wait for me at my car.
Now if only I could follow the road....doh! The road is easy to follow at first, as it just heads east along London's North Shadow. But when you hit some mining ruins just North of London's Summit it starts switching back north. For some reason, I thought it first switched to the southeast...hell with that, I'll just follow these grassy slopes and catch it farther down. Being completely wrong, I ended up in the trees, postholing in suger up to my waist. Being stubborn, I left my snowshoes on my back and pretty much crawled my way through the trees until I had to cross the creek to get back to the road. I crawl stroked my way over the frozen creek (not wanting to fall, nor put on my microspikes for 20 feet). Post-holed my way another 100 feet to the road. Then walk a quarter mile up the road to my car.
Here is pic of the road (blue) and my diversion (red):
After 20 minutes at the car, I was reminded that Dave was a far better navigator than I as he was strolling down the road. He said portions of the lower road required micro-spikes. And just after 5 pm, our adventure was complete!
Okay, so during all my fun in Mosquito Gulch, I noticed Mount Buckskin was looking quite clear. And with another snow-free week here in Colorado, why not get my last remaining close Centennial crossed off?
Who: Shawn (Rainier_Wolfcastle)
When: 1/19/2013 - Start at 8:00am - Finished at 1:08pm
TH: 4.6 miles up Kite Lake Road, Elevation ~11, 400
Peaks (in order of Ascent): Loveland Mtn 13,692 (Unranked), Mount Buckskin 13,865 (Ranked #76)
Stats: (estimate): 4.2 Miles, 2,850 feet elevation gain
Route: Up to Loveland Mtn, SE Ridge Route to Mount Buckskin, NE Slopes Route back to Kite Lake Rd, Road back down to car.
Colorado Thirteeners: From Hikes to Climbs, Gerry Roach & Jennifer Roach, First Edition
The forecast looked questionable for snow and visability, but the temps and lack of wind looked promising. Being a short day, I was able to sleep in until 4:45! Back heading up 285 in the dark. When I hit fairplay at 7 am, it was 25 degrees and clear...nice, but at the same time scary!
Again, turn right on Hwy 9, this time get into downtown Alma, turn left on the clearly marked Kite Lake Rd. Roach says to head up the road for 4.0 miles. The road is easilly passable for 2 wheel drives past this point. I was looking for the path of least resistence and decided to park 4.6 miles up the road. From this point, it was not clear if Roach's NE Slopes route would be avy safe (from further up the road). I decided the SE ridge route was it, plus I get unranked Loveland Mtn.
Here is a pick looking up the road from my parking spot:
I decided to leave the snowshoes in the car, since it appeared they would only be required for a 100 yards or so (to get threw the willows at the start).
After picking my easiest path through the willows with a fair amount of 2 foot postholing, I aimed for a clear talus slope up through the willows. Turns out the snow and talus was hiding a bit of a frozen waterfall, this made things interesting! The talus was dry and micro-spikes were left on the pack. But there was ice between much of the talus on a steep enough slope that slipping would have been bad! I kept it safe and slow, and with some talus stretching gymnastics I made 400 feet or so up the falls.
From here I stayed in the shallow snow grass fields on a mostly direct line to a steeper rock slope to the left of a coulior. There was bits of trail along the way as I climbed up the 30 degree or so rocky slope to the upper basin. Once in the basin, I worked on my breathing and pace (remembering my Rainier climb and training for Pico de Orizaba). I pretty much made a direct line towards the two deer on the ridge that were intently watching my progress. The section up to the ridge was longer than it looked, but I got there soon enough.
Here is a picture of my ascent route (note the exposed portions of the frozen falls on the lower left):
Climb up to ridge from in the upper basin:
Pic from upper basin of the Kite Lake Area (Democrat on the left, Cameron on right):
Cameron left, Bross right:
Once I got up to the ridge, I noticed I was between two summit looking cairns...the north one seemed to mark Loveland Mountain's summit.
This pic shows my view of the ridge to Mount Buckskin (furthest point) and the summit of Loveland Mountain (cairn on the right):
Another pic of the ridge with peaks (from left to right) of Tweeto, Arkansas, and Buckskin:
Clouds had moved in, but with no wind and warm temps, I was down to glove liners, a cap, and baselayers (January in Colorado at 13,500 ft, snowflakes asterisks?).
There is a nice trail all along the ridge, but it has its fair share of up and downs until eventually getting to Buckskin's Summit.
I hit the summit a bit after 11am, lounged, and thoroughly enjoyed the views.
Here is a pic looking back at the ridge I had just hiked:
Ridge over to Democrat, then on to the left to Traver:
Kite Lake Basin:
A bare Silverheels in the distance:
Alma and Fairplay:
Now looking down at the NE Slopes Route back down to the upper road:
Well, that direct route down looks much quicker than going back over the ridge!
Being careful to avoid a rather large cornice, I started my direct descent down the talus. This slope was not bad at all! Once past the steeper rocks, I followed grassy slopes towards the power lines.
Looking back up towards Buckskin, notice the cornice on the ridge (smile Shawn, you are having fun!):
I did get a little nervous once I made it to the power lines, as my view down was obstructed by a drop-off. But then I noticed a trail leading down. The trail avoids the steep (and occasionally avy dangered) slopes to the left. The trail pretty much follows the power lines, even when they change direction towards Kite Lake. I passed a small mine building and then just had 300 yards or so back to the road...damn, sure would be nice to have the snowshoes for this section!
I met a group coming down from Democrat on the road. Then made my way a half mile or so back to the car. What a great day for climbing!
Thanks for reading!
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):