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 Peak(s):  Rito Alto Pk  -  13,794 feet
Hermit Pk A  -  13,350 feet
 Post Date:  05/16/2009
 Date Climbed:   05/15/2009
 Posted By:  piper14er

 Rito Alto - Hermit Road   

Rito Alto
13,794 feet
110th ranked peak
Hermit Peak A
13,350
353rd ranked peak
9-10 miles +/-
4200 feet +/-
8:00 a.m. start, summit Rito Alto 12:00 p.m., summit Hermit 1:30 p.m., return to truck 3:30

From the south side of Westcliffe take Hermit Road west for six miles to a fork in the road. The right fork takes you to Gibson Creek, the left fork is the way to go and continue on Hermit Road. I was able to get to about 10,000 feet, about 3.5 miles from the fork. The road does get a little rough. At that point there is what remains of a pretty good drift across the road and not passable by my Pathfinder. Although with the warm weather and the rate it is melting it could be gone within the week. Once past this drift there were several others in the next mile until you get to this downed tree. The road varied after that from snow to partial snow to dirt.

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Before I got to the first drift though, I was lucky enough to come across a mountain lion that was standing in the middle of the road a few hundred feet ahead. Unfortunately as I was fumbling to grab my camera she took a very quick look at me and in a flash she had run into the trees. As I was getting a few feet closer to where the lion was and still looking for the camera a second cat jumped out of the trees from my left and in two springs followed the first mountain lion into the trees. I stopped to look and with camera now in hand was hoping to get a picture but I could not see them in the undergrowth. I thought that to walk over closer to see would not be the best idea. Sadly I did not get a picture.

A shot of Eureka.

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I followed the road as it was the path of least resistance. The road has a number of switchbacks. This image shows the road as it works its way up the valley towards the saddle.

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At this sign there is a trail that goes down to Hermit Lake but you want to keep following the road.

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This is the road up higher.

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Hermit A.

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There is a trail up higher that is off the road. Rito Alto would be to the right.

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Starting up Rito Alto looking back at saddle and Hermit Peak.

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Looking toward Rito Alto.

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Looking at summit and to the north. I did not find a register in the snow but left a page from a trip report in the summit rocks.

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Looking back down the ridge.

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Looking south to Hermit, Humboldt and Crestones form Rito Alto.

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The road below.

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Hermit Pass register.

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Looking toward Hermit Peak A.

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Summit.

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The ridge to Eureka. I started down but the wind was pushing me around and black clouds had moved in. I could see precipitation coming down to the west and decided it could be a long haul over to Eureka, over a mile and another 900-1000 feet. It did hail lightly as I started down off Hermit.

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All in all a good day and the wind died off with the sun coming back out after I had made my way down a ways. I hauled my snowshoes with me but did not have to use them. Ah, springtime.

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Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
 


  • Comments or Questions
burningthebushes


littering!     2009-05-18 08:39:50
if you were going to leave your trash up there you could‘ve at least got a picture of the NW face. Tisk tisk.


Presto


Nice photos ...     2009-05-18 09:42:04
Good beta. And, there‘s ”my” dog again . What‘s her name anyway? Thanks for posting ... happy trails!


piper14er


Gwenddyydd     2009-05-18 10:52:20
Presto - Her registered name is Gwenddydd (Arthurian Legend) Merlin‘s sister as taken from The Dialogue Between Myrddin and His Sister Gwenddydd. Red Book of Hergest 577 1.7--583 1.38

Gwen is her call name. Maybe Gwen and I will meet you on the trail someday.

btb I did get a picture of the west side after the sheet of paper I went to leave blew way over the side and I had to drop down to retrieve it. I then put it in the rock cairn on the summit under several rocks. So as not to cause any more consternation by fellow climbers I will resist the urge in the future. I think I need to pack a mason jar with me though.



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