| Solitude on Square Top
Party: myself (solo)
Mileage: Approx. 9 miles
VF: Approx. 3000 VF
Climb Time: 7 hours
One of my goals this summer is to climb as many front range 13ers as I can to get in shape for my push to finish off some of the tougher 14ers that I have left to climb. I think from climbing G@T, Evans, and Bierstadt so many times, I wanted to get a taste for some other mountains in the area. After sending out a forum topic on Sante Fe, Geneva, and Landslide I didn't feel confident doing this Solo due to snow conditions and being unfamiliar the area. I decided on Square Top due to its easy access and its relatively easy ascent. I left my house in Centennial at 445am and made it to the gate at Guennela Pass at 6am. I was the first one to pull in. I'm not sure why the road is gated as I started hiking the road. The road is pretty much bone dry all the way to the top of the pass.
Here is a look at the road from just above the gate.
I had a great glimpse of Square Top as I was hiking on the road. The view from the road showed a lot more snow on the mountain than what I actually encountered on the ascent.
As I made to the top of the pass, I found the South Park trail and headed into the meadows. Very similar to the meadows on the Bierstadt trail.
The South park trail was snow covered in spots but and dry in others. The trail continues in a southerly direction to Square top Lakes. At the lakes there a few cairns showing the route up Square Top. Here is one of the few snow fields along the route.
I made it to ridge in just over two hours from the gate. I was rather surprised with the lack of snow along the ridge.
Here is a shot of about 13,200 with the final 500-600 feet. Snow is easy to avoid and there is even a faints talus trail, which disappears in the snow.
I made it to the summit around 9:45, and was again surprised to see no snow on the top.
Looking northwest- Great views of G@T, Argentine, Edwards, Ruby.
Once on the summit, the winds became pretty much unbearable as I texted the fiancé, I made it back down the lakes as fast as I could.
Took a quick shot of the Tenmile Range, Breck. And Quandry in view.
At the Lakes, I took a much-needed break from Galloping down the ridge and I soaked in the view. It kind of reminded me of Ice Lake Basin when I hiked last summer. You can't compare the two places, but the view was pretty sweet.
For all of you inquiring about Bierstadt and the sawtooth, here is shot of the route. Still a ton of snow.
I made it back to the road around 1230, some minor post holing on the south park trail. Once on the road, I was greeted to some 50-60mph wind, which while annoying was a great way for my boots to dry off.
I highly recommend this mountain to any beginner looking to avoid the crowds on the neighboring 14ers. A great expanse of tundra with very little scree and talus.
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):