| Dog Head: A Thrilling Finish to Teller County
I was down to my final 3 ranked summits in Teller county and had been saving potential technical 8er Dog Head as my last one. I focused on this list of very obscure peaks mostly this past fall/winter and was lucky that it was a below normal winter for snowfall in the area.
What I like the most about doing these is it's kind of like a puzzle. You never know what surprises and unforeseen challenges will await you as there is little if any beta on many of these. Many of the 54 on the list have access problems as there is not as much public land in Teller county compared to El Paso, so you have to be a bit bold at times. Only 3 out of the 54 have a trail to the top, so bushwacking and routefinding is the theme. GPS is a great tool! There are plenty of good roads in the county though, so a lot of them are short hikes. Onto the final 3!
Participants: Greg Long, John Kirk, and Kevin Baker
Booger Red Hill (8295')
3.6 miles RT, 640' gain
From CR-11 (7800')
This name is one of the classics of Colorado. I wonder what the story is behind this name? We all met at a Safeway in C. Springs and took 2 cars from there as John (brainchild of listsofjohn.com) wanted to hit some Park county summits later in the day. After a missed turn, we finally came to the trailhead for Red Booger at the southern end of the county south of Florissant.
We set out at around 8:30am from a formal pullout with a gate. I think most of this hike is on BLM land. We followed a road east then south from the gate, leaving it when we were due west of the summit. This ended up being a mistake as we had to descend unnecessarily into a creek drainage. Had we taken a direct shot from the trailhead, we wouldn't have lost as much elevation.
Booger Red Hill from the creek:
Red Booger looked a bit more prominent from the creek drainage. We headed up the dry west slopes and got in some nice views of the Sangres from the summit. We didn't have any red boogers to pick in honor of the summit name. Too early in the day I guess! We took a more direct line off the n.w. slopes back to the cars.
Beasley Hills (9122')
.5 mile/440' gain
From Floresta Dr.
25 min RT
This one's a gimmie even though there are houses in the area. We approached this from the south via the Highland Meadows subdivision. We took the main road west off CR-1 and parked at the end of Floresta Dr just below the south face. It's a short but steep 1/4 mile hike to the summit, which had a benchmark.
South face of Beasley Hills. Walkup is to the left.
We had a nice view over to Dog Head, the prize for the day.
Dog Head (8820')
.6 mile RT/360' gain
From Hackamore Dr (8460')
I marveled at the convoluted, mysterious summit of Dog Head when I was in the area to do Dome Rock and Pt 9112, cool monolith domes. It looked technical from a distance, so this would be an exciting one to finish on. I could find no info on the web regarding this peak, so it would all be trial and error. Greg Long, one of my CMC instructors in the HAMS program, agreed to be the lead climber. He was also my tent mate on Rainier. It would take us nearly 4 hours to complete this 6/10th of a mile hike!
We drove around the east side along Hackamore Dr and spotted a brush choked gully that would take us up to the saddle between the two summits. Houses are all around the peak, but there were enough vacant lots to stay away from them. We found a nice convenient pullout on the n.e. side of the peak at the end of Hackamore Dr. We contoured over to the base of the gully above the houses. Huge boulders littered the landscape, a few of which were over 30 feet high.
The battle began up the gully as we bulled our way through brush, clamoring over large boulders and slabs.
Pt 9112, a cool dome with some routefinding challenges:
Snow became a factor as we climbed as we postholed our way up. One particular slab was a bit interesting with snow. I'm sure this route would be really tough in a normal snow year. Greg was wondering how the locals get up this, because our route wasn't exactly pleasant!
Once on the saddle, we could now begin to solve the mystery of the summit block.
There were a couple crack systems on the n.w. side, but they looked way beyond my climbing level. The highpoint is the southern summit, which is of course the harder one. We saw a 10 ft crack that looked fairly easy above a ledge that would be our ticket to a nice platform.
We couldn't see what lied above that though. Greg led and thought the crack was an easy 5.2. When he got to the platform, he announced we were in the clear as the summit ridge looked pretty easy! I went next and other than one awkward move it was easy.
The ridge is a walkup on flaky Pikes Peak granite until you get to the summit block. Greg was tied in, but there was nothing to anchor to. The couple moves on the crumbly flake below the summit is only 4th class, but you had to make sure you didn't yank out your handhold. Greg couldn't find anything to anchor to on the summit, so fortunantly for us the crux on the ridge was just 4th class. Wow, what an inspiring summit to finish on!
Greg on the crumbly 4th class flake below summit:
We explored the back side of the summit block and found a chimney system that looked like it could be downclimbed safer than what we came up. John want to go up this chimney, so Greg threw the rope down to the base of it. The problem was John would have to do some hairy downclimbing below the platform he was on to get to this chimney, so he decided to go up the ridge after all.
Greg began butt scooting down face, and I didn't like the looks of it so I inched my way down the chimney. The top of the chimney was probably low 5th class, then it got easier near the bottom. A couple chockstones made things interesting near the bottom. Once back to the rope, Greg climbed back up to the summit and belayed John to the summit.
Greg climbing back up chimney:
John nearing summit:
Now came the fun part as we got to rappel down the huge, jumbled slabs of the south face. Some of the slabs were low angle enough that we could have downclimbed, but it would have taken longer. The 2nd rappel was too steep to downclimb, so I think our ascent route may have been the easiest way up.
We countoured back to the car and finally arrived back a few minutes before 4.
Here's a little info on a few of my favorite Teller county ranked summits:
"McReynolds Pk"-12er west of Pikes with 5.9 summit block. A lot of cool rock to explore on the summit plateau. I had to prussik up this one.
Dome Rock- a classic in Dome Rock Wildlife Preserve, part of Mueller State Park. Area is closed Dec 1-July 15 I believe.
Point 9112- another interesting dome near Dome Rock. North ridge has a short 5th class pitch, but a gully on n.e. side keeps it at class 3. Do from Mueller State Park as west side is private.
Signal Butte- one of only 3 Teller ranked summits with a trail to the top. Nice views of Pikes north face and Hayman burn area.
Turkey Rock- popular technical climbing spot. Can be kept at a sporty class 3 navigating up slabs and boulders from the saddle. Use climbers trail from north.
Rosa- Expansive views all around on this 11er. Look for the ladybugs on summit. This is the one Pike summited thinking he had made it up Pikes only to see it a long ways away.
Almagre- 2 ranked 12ers. Nice, seldom seen view of the south side of Pikes. Only drawback is all the road walking.
Raspberry Mtn- This one's a fine hike off the Crags Rd with close views of Pikes west side. It's class 1 other than a little boulder hopping around the summit.
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):