These are not the Gore Peaks X, Y & Z... so temper your excitement...
The A, B, C’s…
The idea is to figure out where you want to go and then find where it is you decided to go.
A. Do not look at the peaks late at night then get up and drive to where you think you should be rather than where you want to be. There are many, many roads in this area of Pikes National Forest as it borders on the Lost Creek Wilderness.
B. A late start may not be a problem for some peaks but when you make several incorrect turns, go to a different trailhead (refer to A. above) than you want and waste time, then 10:15 am is the time you finally head up the trail.
C. The map looks pretty good for still making the four peaks you decided to do, but if you did not plan on the deep snow through the willows before the first peak and then again between the first and second peak, then accounting for time and energy begins to factor into the plan.
I have been hanging about the Tarryall area and the Lost Creek Wilderness this winter quite a bit. A very interesting place with a plethora of peaks from the 8’s to the 12’s. I was not really much for the lower peaks before but I kind of lost some focus this winter on the 13ers and was not as keen as in the past for plowing through the waste deep snow as in the past several years. The Tarryall area did not receive a great amount of snow in this drought.
A long week, a late day leaving work (a new job after 11 years and at the last one) and with no particular peak in mind, there you have it: A. above, leading to B. and C.
I arrived at Lost Creek Trailhead late. This trailhead is accessed from Lost Park Road, past Rock Creek Hills Road, past the Rock Creek Trail and Ben Tyler Trail road to a parking area on your left (approximately N39.34751 W105.61903) where there is road sign 817. I believe that Lost Park Road is either CR 39 or CR 56 or maybe both.
The trailhead gets you on the Colorado Trail.
The X, Y, Z’s…
I followed some boot prints for a short while and then headed up the hill avoiding as much snow as possible. The route followed a drainage for a while and then it is just up you go. I saw “Kenosha Mountains” on my GPS and so headed off that way. It turns out that this is Peak X as noted on the summit register.
Trees beyond the willows
Willows that are holding the knee to mid-thigh deep snow, Peak Y beyond
go between the rock outcroppings
The top is the mound of rocks on your right
A closer look
If you are not sure look for the antler
or you guessed it, X marks the spot...
Melancholia, a mental condition characterized by depression, bodily complaints, and often hallucinations and delusions.
Far and Away
I thought I picked a good line that would avoid the willows but it was not as clean and easy as it looked from the slopes of Peak X. It took a bit of effort to get through the over the knees or deeper snow that was sucked in the willows. I have no doubt that I have been through worse but still it was not pleasant.
The willows and Peak X
A notch ahead as the skies become more lugubrious
Melancholia setting in. I do not target 12ers as my goal necessarily, but there is much to say in the affirmative for the LCW. I have gone for these for the aesthetics and the low snow depths. There are other places to go for sure also, but the LCW suits my mood at this moment in life. I don't know, but no doubt age is slowly but inexorably creeping up to some degree, the bodily complaints are there with the plantar faciitis, still unhealed torn tendon in the arm but still the mountains siren call draws me there. I am not plowing through the snow in quite the same fashion as even a season ago and yet I am able to move forward.
You can never go back as I look at the notch that I just walked through
The rocky top just ahead
The nondescript summit with Peak Z behind
A look back at the gap I walked through on the way to Peak Z
A closer walk with Z
Z cairn and collie in real life
Z cairn and collie in pencil
Summit rock (don't try the obvious, look for the sublime)
A different angle
I took stock of the time and the distance to Zephyr and made the determination to leave that for another time. The distance from X to Y was approximately 1 mile and the distance between Y and Z was about 0.7 miles. The distance to Zephyr would be another 1 mile farther away from the truck and figured to take another hour to hour and a half to get there and make up the distance back to the trailhead. They never look that far but with the lateness of the day, the wind and clouds I started my descent.
I dropped down a reasonable slope to the Colorado Trail (no tracks at all) and from there made my way back to tie into my tracks.
T is for the Tip of the Day...
It helps on occasion to follow the elk tracks, which I did for a ways after going through the gate (to keep the elk in or out?). When the elk leaves the trail, follow the dog. If the dog leaves the trail to follow the elk tracks (or rabbits or squirrels), follow the trail by looking closely for the trees that have been neatly cut.
Oh and when you are hiking up the trail from the trailhead take the right to Lost Park Campground rather than the left to Kenosha Pass.
One last item of interest, if you are energetic, peppy and spirited there can be found a report and gpx of the remaining 10 peaks on a 13 peak, 28 mile +, 8500 foot adventure. I would wait for dry conditions.
My GPS Tracks on Google Maps (made from a .GPX file upload):
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
Caution: The information contained in this report may not be accurate and should not be the only resource used in preparation for your climb. Failure to have the necessary experience, physical conditioning, supplies or equipment can result in injury or death. 14ers.com and the author(s) of this report provide no warranties, either express or implied, that the information provided is accurate or reliable. By using the information provided, you agree to indemnify and hold harmless 14ers.com and the report author(s) with respect to any claims and demands against them, including any attorney fees and expenses. Please read the 14ers.com Safety and Disclaimer pages for more information.