| Local CS Hike - Mt. Rosa (St. Mary‘s Falls)
Mt. Rosa – 11,499ft
Hiking Parnter – Brad
Distance – 14miles RT
Trail Head – Gold Camp Road Parking
Trail – St. Mary's Falls
This is another local Colorado Springs hike for those new to Colorado to try before attempting a 14er and it is a good test.
In 1806 and on a survey mission of the recently acquired Louisiana Purchase, Lt. Zebulon Pike attempted to climb the peak that bears his name. The purpose was to get a high point view of the area. It was November and he failed when a winter storm moved in. To gain a similar view, his party climbed nearby Mt. Rosa.
Third time is certainly a charm. I have attempted this peak three times in the last 5 month. One adventure ended with me wrecking my car. Adventure two turned into a 12-hour day, missed trails, and heavy snow. Finally, the signs were right.
Earlier in the week, I PM'd Brad with the invite. We have met as part of the local CSMC group and talked off and online about local climbs. Felt he would enjoy bagging this one. The trail was the longer and more challenging St. Mary's falls trail with an altitude gain of roughly 4200ft.
We started at 7:15am after waiting for a possible additional hiker. Afterwards, we headed down the closed portion of Gold Camp Road to Tunnel 3. The trail veered left to head over the collapsed tunnel 3. From here, we followed the creek up the hill towards St. Mary's. It took us about two hours to reach the top of the falls and past one of the more challenging parts of the climb.
After continuing west on a slight incline, we finally reached a gate to a FS road. This was the point that goofed us up on the last trip. This time would be different. Thanks to cftbq and 53_Peaks, we knew which way to go and what to look for. For those interested, when you leave the gate, go right on the road about 100 ft. On the road's west side are two small Cairns marking the trail. The FS marker is well up the trail and can easily be missed.
St. Mary's Falls Sign
St. Mary's Falls
First shot of Rosa
The correct Path (notice the small Cairns)
We headed up this second steep section towards the north ridge where the final summit push would begin. At the top, we got our first beautiful views of Baldy, Almagre, and Pikes. It happened to be where our real work was about to begin. Between us and our goal, was some deep snow.
First view to the west (L-R Baldy, Almagre, Pikes)
Rosa from the Ridge
We were less that ˝ mile from the summit, but it took us some time. We post-holed regularly in 2-3 foot snow. Brad and I decided to put on our leggings and gaiters (boy am I glad we thought of them). Anyway, it took us over an hour and some patience to get to the summit, but was it worth it.
Brad on the snow (one of the few times we didn't post-hole)
Brad feet away from the summit with Rosemont Reservoir
I have been here a few times, but never had the clear views. We could see Bierstadt and Evans to the north, Pikes (dah), All the Sangre's, Shavano, Antero, and Princeton. After 30 minutes on top, we headed back down.
Sangre De Christo Range
Shavano (I think)
Close-up of Humbolt with the Crestones in the background
On decent, we took a slightly different route to avoid the snow, and I think we managed to reduce our encounters. We made good time descending and reached the cars at 4:30. It was a good/fun 9 hour day and I'm happy Brad joined.
View of Stove Top Mountain from the top of St. Mary's Falls
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):