| Grizzly Peak D (13,427) - Loveland Pass
Peak: Grizzly Peak "D" (13,427')
Date: Sunday, April 22, 2007
Team: sdkeil and TalusMonkey
Route: Loveland Pass parking area
Sdkeil and I wanted something interesting, but relatively easy, for the second day of our doubleheader spring training weekend. After hiking UN 13,823 near Independence Pass and spending the night in Leadville Saturday night, Grizzly Peak D fit the bill well – it was on the way back to Lakewood and not too demanding. Plus, we would have fantastic views of Grays and Torreys and the surrounding area. I had done nearby Mt. Sniktau in 2005 and had been planning to go back for Grizzly sometime.
We checked out of the hotel in Leadville and took the interstate to the east side of the Johnson Tunnel and headed up to the Loveland Pass parking area at 11,990'. For those of you who don't know, Loveland Pass is the TH for Mt. Sniktau (13,234') and Grizzly Peak (13,427'). The east slope up from Loveland Pass to the Sniktau/Grizzly ridge is west facing and stays windscoured all winter. Snowshoes are generally not required. Once on the ridge, there is generally not much snow along the ridge to Sniktau or Grizzly. Since we did not use snowshoes the previous day on UN 13,823, we figured we would continue the "snowshoefree" weekend...
We started up the slope from the parking area at 0932. The parking area is at 11,990' and the ridge is at about 12,915'. The trail up the slope to the ridge is well established and is easy to follow.
A view up the ridge from just above Loveland Pass:
A view along the south ridge toward Grizzly from a few hundred feet above Loveland Pass (Grizzly is the summit left of center):
We made the Sniktau/Grizzly ridge near 12,920' in 38 minutes. This is the split where you can follow the ridge northeast toward Mount Sniktau (only one mile away) or follow the ridge south toward Grizzly (two miles away). The coordinates are: N39deg 40m01.3s, 105deg 51m50.1s.
Here's a view of Sniktau and part of the northeast ridge:
We turned south along the ridge to head toward Grizzly Peak. Although Grizzly is only two miles from the top of the ridge above Loveland Pass, there are two minor points in between – PT 13,117 and PT 12,936. So, from the Sniktau/Grizzly split on the ridge, there are three saddles into which to descend and climb out. Although hiking Grizzly Peak from Loveland Pass entails only perhaps 2,200-2,400' of vertical gain, there is a lot of up and down. And when you descend from Grizzly, you must return over PTs 12,936 and 13,117. It's a good conditioning workout.
Here's a look at Grizzly (right) from near PT 13,117 (Torreys and Grays to left):
Another look at Grizzly from PT 12,936:
We found the ridge mostly windblown. Where there was snow it was only a few inches deep or firm enough to heel plunge. Snowshoes are completely unnecessary. The final climb up Grizzly from the saddle between PT 12,936 is about 600 feet and is steep talus in places. Trekking poles are helpful in the snow.
We summited Grizzly in 2 hours and 18 minutes. Although we had started the climb in mostly overcast conditions, it had cleared up during our traverse along the ridge. The summit temperature was in the mid-40s. We rested, took some refreshment and snapped a few pics.
Torreys and Grays from the summit of Grizzly:
Sdkeil and TalusMonkey with Torreys and Grays behind us:
Then we rucked up and headed back down.
Sdkeil descending Grizzly to the saddle between PT 12,936 and Grizzly:
We laborously returned along the ridge back over PTs 12,936 and 13,117 and returned to the Sniktau/Grizzly split above Loveland Pass. From there we quickly descended to the parking area with a total trip time of 4h 40m. We jumped in the car and headed back to Lakewood for the obligatory post-summit feeding. All in all, we had great weather for a doubleheader spring training weekend. I highly recommend Grizzly as an "early season" hike for fellow "summer hikers" wanting to get ready for the summer.
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):