Peak(s):  Quail Mtn  -  13,461 feet
Date Posted:  07/08/2011
Date Climbed:   07/02/2011
Author:  harrise
 Quail Mountain - Little Willis Gulch  

Since there are few reports concerning a straight hike up this thing, I thought maybe a TR was in order:

Here's some nifty Android stats courtesy of Google's MyTracks app. There's about a half a mile and maybe 100 or so vertical missing from the total distance when the tab GPS went dead in the trees.

Total Distance: 12.3 mi
Total Time: 10:38:12
Moving Time: 5:14:56
Average Pace: 51.9 min/mi
Average Moving Pace: 25.6 min/mi
Min Elevation: 9264 ft
Max Elevation: 13457 ft
Elevation Gain: 4311 ft
Recorded: Sat Jul 02 05:30:24 MDT 2011

Having done Hoosier Ridge, an attempt at Signal Mountain thwarted by tree snow, Sniktau & company, Mount Elbert and Pikes since Memorial Day I knew Mount Hope was a long shot. Still we forged ahead with the plans and started a nice 10 day work break on a rather stormy Thursday afternoon. Once the system had moved through the Sawatch around 7:00pm-ish the skies remained clear east of Independence Pass throughout Sunday...

We found an interesting dispersed area due east from the Parry Peak Campground and setup camp a couple hundred yards away from the obviously well known shooting "range". Friday was purposely setup as a veg-out day since we've always hustled up for a super early Saturday hike. It was a nice change of pace to just enjoy the surrounding area for a day. In the process I found out there was a new parking area/trailhead for this approach. There are a couple of wide spots on the south side of HWY 82 where maybe 8-10 cars could park. From there a bridge takes you across Lake Creek and signs indicate the way to Big & Little Willis or to the lakes below...

The route is direct and mostly Colorado Trail, so the going is easy. Once over the bridge and at the first trail split, head south (right) and continue southeasterly for a bit until the next bridge. Here is the Colorado Trail and it's either up or down from there. We went up. The only other split is the Big/Little Willis junction...

Clear views of Hope(ful) from the trail...

Dogs loaded with weight and marching up the switchbacks towards Hope Pass...

At the pass it was apparent that Hope was way beyond the dogs' collective abilities and we settled on Quail (which was quite a workout for 800-something feet). Two in our group headed up Hope's east ridge sans dog and down the northeast ridge to meet back up below treeline.

Always breezy on the passes. Our 4.68 pound super athlete made the entire ascent under her own power...

Planning the next phase after the pass...

The summit of Quail, like so many other mountain tops, is just past the point you focus on the whole way up. The old cabin remains make a nice windbreak. We sat for nearly an hour as the dogs ate, drank and slept. After watching what seemed like the other two summit Hope, we started back down the trail...

The little one started to get tired on the descent. It struck us that we didn't have an evacuation plan for this scenario so we did the best we could. All of the gear was inventoried and we hastily threw together this...

After all of the drama and scorching upper 70 degree heat in the trees we were finally approaching camp. By 3:00pm Lake Creek was pushing the limits of what I would call a creek in Colorado...

The last bit before the old road through the campground was mucky as hell. Lush too, but mucky. And we had three filthy dogs this size crammed into our Kelty Grand Mesa 6 that night...

Back at camp the dogs passed out and we feasted like never before on a camp. Steaks, brats, hot dogs, chili, potatoes, chips, grilled veggies plus plenty of wine and beer. Killer weekend.

Got to love these 13ers. It was a long approach from the north side and the heat was taking its toll on the dogs below 11,000'. There were two minor snow crossings that were slushy and carved out by mid morning. No biggie, and I suspect they're even less of an issue by now.

 Comments or Questions

Great report....
07/09/2011 21:44
It is not always about getting to the highest peaks, sometimes the smaller peaks hold a lot of awesome scenery and adventure too. Enjoyed the read, may have to give this one a shot someday.


Just did Quail the week before, and Hope yesterday
07/10/2011 15:11
And didnt see another soul the entire day. Its soo nice having some solitude out in nature now and again. Good report!

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