Peak(s):  Pahlone Pk - 12,667 feet
Date Posted:  11/06/2011
Date Climbed:   10/23/2011
Author:  Yikes
 Pahlone Pk - taking a break from the 14ers  

Pahlone Pk (12,667)

Route: Pahlone Pk via Monarch Crest and south ridge
Distance: ~14.7 miles
Vertical: ~2,500 ft
Time: 6.5 hours
Who: Yikes, Annabelle Ferocious
When: Sunday, October 23, 2011
Weather: 25ish at the start, 40ish at the end; blue skies

After cranking through seven 14ers in a 2 week period late August, I took some time off from the mountains. Maybe a little too much time. Gotta' keep the feet moving or the peaks are going to be rough this winter. So should I try to get some decent elevation gain or keep it flatter and crank out some miles? Just didn't feel the motivation to jump on the mountain stair master, so let's get some miles on those dusty boots.

The skyline west of Salida presents a fair share of interesting objectives. At some point in the hopefully not too distant future, I have a goal to get to the top of those taunting peaks. Just to the right of mighty chief Ouray (13,971) lies wife Chipeta (13,472) and daughter Pahlone (12,667). A quick measure on Google Earth shows Chipeta to be 17 miles RT and Pahlone to be about 13 miles RT. 17 miles might be pushing it with the dog, so we settle on Pahlone.

25 quick minutes up to Monarch pass. Sometimes it's nice not having to push the 4wd button and bounce your way up miles of riverbed. Only car in the parking lot; not too many mountain bikers up on the Crest this time of year. A little chilly in the shade, just some practice for the much colder starts coming up this winter. Annie, aka Annabelle Ferocious, aka Dogger Dog was ready to go, pulling at the leash trying to get to some wonderful smell. Wish she would wait until I had my boots on at least. Annie is a small dog but she's pulled me up a few 14ers, including Shavano and Wetterhorn.
Annie - ready to hike

The first 5 miles are on the Monarch Crest single track. Smooth as a baby's bottom; not that I would know.
Monarch Crest trail

The miles go by pretty quickly and quietly with only two trail runners zipping by. We leave the trail at the S. Fooses Creek turnoff and start the bushwhacking. A short side-slope leads to a small grouping of trees. There isn't any sign of trail from this point forward, but the trees are fairly open and don't present any problems. About 6 inches of snow lies on the ground in the trees. We stay on the highpoint of the ridge; navigation difficulties are non-existent.
Ridge to Pahlone

Open ridge

After 10 minutes in the trees, the route reaches a saddle and opens up for the remaining distant to the summit. It's about 1.75 miles and 1,000' elevation gain from the saddle to Pahlone. It doesn't look very far, but with too much time on the couch, it takes a little longer than I would prefer. The ridge drops off to S. Fooses Creek on the left and Green Creek on the right. The slopes are pretty easy travel, not much in the way of talus until the last 100 feet or so. Annie does a decent job in talus, but I carry her the last 100 feet just to make things a little easier on her.
Rocky Summit

At the summit, there was a little surprise - some cliffs off the back side; didn't see those from Salida. Just thought this peak was a gentle bump off the divide. We can see town from the top. Quick call home to give the all clear and 5 minutes later we are heading back down the slopes.
Back to the Crest

The minor elevation gain getting back to the Crest from the saddle feels like more than it really is. Another reminder that I need to keep up the hiking.
Annie asks - Why are we just sitting here?

The last five miles drag on but we eventually reach the car and point downhill towards town. Annabelle is quickly asleep in the passenger seat. Turns out the hike was closer to 15 miles (oops, sorry Annie), but she was a champ and pulled the entire way. I think I was more tired than she was.
So what's next? Chipeta? Mt White? Might have to save those for next summer.

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

 Comments or Questions

11/10/2011 16:36
What a cute dog! Looks like you had a great hike.


That dog is a beast...
11/21/2011 21:42
Short dog legs + long hike = tough dog.


Mark A Steiner

Pahlone in 1971
03/23/2013 01:17
Hello - I was going to geology field camp that year and took off on a Saturday with a flat-landers intent of getting to Mount Ouray from the Crest. Oh, well, not enough time, but the view from Pahlone was great. Turned back to the pass before the sun went down. Didn't get my first 13er till the following year, and first 14er two years later so Pahlone is a personal high point landmark for me. Thanks for Annie too!

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