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 Peak(s):  Mt. Evans  -  14,264 feet
Spalding, Mt  -  13,842 feet
 Post Date:  07/04/2013 Modified: 07/05/2013
 Date Climbed:   07/04/2013
 Posted By:  aweskamp

 The Epitome of a Solo Hike: West Ridge via Mt. Spalding   

I wanted to give this route a go after failing to summit Evans via Guanella Pass four weeks ago (late start + a lot of snow = no bueno). This was my first solo 14er climb, but that might be an understatement; there was NO ONE on the trail up and I had the summit of Evans to myself for close to 45 minutes. I was shocked given this is a Front Range hike and there's a stinking road going to the top. That being said, I was quite content with the solitude. It was a nice change-of-pace from rush hour in Denver.

Report:
Left Littleton at 0440
Arrived at Summit Lake at 0555
Summited Spalding at 0630
Summited Evans at 0730
Soaking my feet in Summit Lake at 0955

Elevation gain: 2000 feet
RT distance: 5.50 miles

Notes:
The trail up to Spalding is excellent. Minimal exposure and some fun rock.
There is no snow on the saddle between Spalding and the West Ridge. The West Ridge is equally deprived.
BUT, there are a few rocks (large, flat) that tend to carry a thin layer of black ice. Watch out for those if you're hiking early in the AM... I learned the hard way.
There are a few areas with some exposure on the West Ridge, but nothing extreme. Some fun rock there, as well.



Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
 


  • Comments or Questions
Aug_Dog


Did you pay?     2013-07-05 00:16:37
This is important for people to know, as I personally believe that paying to hike from Summit Lake is pure robbery. Folks, if you do NOT use any of the park service facilities, i.e., their paved parking lots, you do NOT have to pay to use the road or park anywhere along the road and/or gravel roads. I personally feel this is one of the silliest fees for use in Colorado. If you plan to hike this route, simply and politely drive right past the ”toll” station at Echo Lake and then park in the gravel lot 1/4 of a mile before the summit lake, developed lot. Don't pay the $10. They park is just trying to cash in on tourist ignorance. Trust me - this is perfectly legal. By the way, this route is a classic, IMO, especially for folks wanting to grow beyond class 2. Cheers!


aweskamp


Agreed     2013-07-05 06:22:29
I did not pay (I arrived before the ”toll” booth was manned, but I wasn't planning on it anyway). One doesn't have to pay to park in the Summit Lake Lot, as it is owned by the City/County of Denver.


rickinco123


I will never pay for the paved lot.     2013-07-05 08:48:01
I'm a Denver resident. I will not drive on a CO State highway to a Denver Mtn Park and pay the Forest Service for the privelage. Paved or no, not gonna happen. If they want me to pay, put a coin slot on the toilet.


Gene913


Divided Loyalties     2013-07-05 16:09:14
A Mizzou Tiger plugged into CU is enough to confuse this Jayhawk. Nothing confusing about this route/climb though. It is splendidly captivating despite its brevity, especially as a winter climb. I've done it multiple times, and have rarely met others on the route, which means the solitude is an open secret for a Front Range 14er route.


chamonix


Solo? Really?     2013-07-06 10:39:51
As long as one follows a trail, one does not complete a solo hike. From a purist standpoint, ”solo” means you find your own trail, do not follow others' footsteps and the security they bring, reassuring you that the route can be (and has been) completed. Solitude does not equate to solo in mountaineering circles with high standards.


aweskamp


Yes, really.     2013-07-09 10:00:26
Gene913: MIZ! Haha I have no problems hiking with Jayhawks. I summited Quandary with one last year.

Chamonix: Please forgive the error. I had no idea that the term ”solo” actually meant ”trailblazing.” But I now know who to thank for giving me volunteer work every weekend; closing social trails is crucial work in preserving the ecological integrity of our mountains, and I'm sure that the Forest Service appreciates your part in the process. I guess I'm not a ”purist” in a mountaineering circle with high standards.

Cheers and happy trails.


sergeisorkin


Hah - hilarious.     2013-07-09 18:29:56
”As long as one follows a trail, one does not complete a solo hike. From a purist standpoint, ”solo” means you find your own trail, do not follow others' footsteps and the security they bring, reassuring you that the route can be (and has been) completed. Solitude does not equate to solo in mountaineering circles with high standards.”

Seriously? Solo still means ”by yourself” - even in ”mountaineering circles with high standards”. It has nothing to do with what route is taken, though obviously there are many terms to denote untravelled routes (like ”first ascent”).

Don't be silly.

Nice TR, good pictures - and lucky to have that summit alone (especially) this time of year .



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