Peak(s):  Kataka Mountain - 12,441 feet
Date Posted:  11/10/2013
Modified:  12/02/2014
Date Climbed:   11/03/2013
Author:  Jay521
 Kataka - Bushwhack up the west face  

12ers can be fun!

Approach: Abyss Lake Trail (aka Scott-Gomer Trail)
Length: About 9 miles RT
Vertical: About 2900 feet
Ascent party: Solo

I like the Mount Evans Wilderness Area a lot. For being so close to Denver, it doesn't have the crowds that one would expect. And 12ers aren't a big draw. But I find them just as challenging as their larger cousins and just as much fun. The views from the summit can be fantastic and I seldom see anyone else on the summit.

I have been up Kataka several times over the years - a couple times going up the east face (Three Mile Trail) and once up the north face (from Rosalie Pass) and as I snowshoe up the Abyss Lake trail frequently, I had been thinking that going up the west face might be fun. And it was. The little bit of snow added to the challenge of boulder and talus hopping but somehow, a more difficult route to the summit makes it that much better.

The Abyss Lake TH is reached easily off the Guanella Pass Road. From Grant, it is about 5 miles to the parking area on the right hand side of the road just after the "no winter maintenance beyond this point" sign. A word to the wise - if it is hunting season and you see a couple horse trailers parked there, that means there is an outfitter up there. I have met him on a couple occasions and he is a very stand up guy, but it would be prudent to wear a little orange...

The trail follows an old logging road and the start had a little snow on it.

But then it turned north and the sun had melted the snow.

You enter the wilderness area about a half mile in.

You cross a little feeder stream to Scott-Gomer Creek. I hadn't remembered that there was a log bridge here.

The trail stays fairly level with little elevation gain through an open area.

And then you cross Scott-Gomer Creek proper.

There used to be a pretty nice log bridge here but it got wiped out by a tree fall some time ago. People have put various logs back down and this made for a fairly easy crossing.

At this point, you get your first view of the Evans Mastiff.

And the cliffs on the east side of Geneva Mountain.

Just before the second Scott-Gomer Creek Crossing, I headed straight east up Kataka Mountain. This turned out to be a little more difficult than I anticipated because there was just enough snow to make things slippery and disguise ankle-breaker gaps in the rocks but not enough snow to provide any solid footing.

Views on the way up.

I came out of the rocks and trees on the northwest shoulder of Kataka. Looks like an exciting mountain, doesn't it? But that is just the false summit.

And, it's a little steeper than it looks.

And there is the real summit. OK, so it's not exactly Capitol Peak...

Kataka's summit is very broad - reminiscent of Longs without the rocks. Here is a short (and shaky) 360 from the summit. And yes, it was a tad windy on top (isn't it always?)

View west to Squaretop.

Looking southwest.

South to South Park.

East to Denver.

North to the Evans Mastiff

And now the crux - getting back down the slippery boulders and talus without falling on my butt.....

Approximate route.

Thanks for taking the time to read this. Be careful out there!

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

 Comments or Questions

11/10/2013 19:37
Looks like a fun climb with great views from the summit. Well done!


Looks like you had
11/11/2013 03:00
a lovely day

The crux for me would have been that creek crossing. I would have started crapping my pants. Me and creek crossings = nearly always a mishap


Looks like fun.
11/11/2013 03:35
Jay, I've really enjoyed my few snow-season outings to the Bierstadt/Evans area. This 12er looks like fun.

I especially liked the video. And the realism added by the sound effects


Nice Jay!
11/11/2013 20:51
Looks like a great day out! Gotta love them 12ers. I most definitely do as well!


he's back!
11/12/2013 00:20
good to see a TR from you Jay! Kataka was my first 12er I think. nice report.


Thanks, all!
11/12/2013 00:57
Raj - I've been enjoying your reports for some time and thought it was time I did one...

Kay - you crack me up! Something tells me you woulda blown across that creek like it wasn't there...

Jim - Thanks, man. And yeah - I was panting pretty hard when I hit the top but not THAT much.

Brandon - Not exactly the Gores, but all Colorado mountains are pretty cool, eh?

Dillon - This TR is for you! Really... It was you that gave me the impetus to put this up.

Thanks again all - for the nice comments and the likes. MUCHO appreciated!


11/13/2013 16:02
Looks like you had a great outing up on Kataka. I've wanted to get up that point for a while now but as I'm sure you know, it's so easy sometimes to get distracted on other peaks.
I like that you went solo. And SO true about 12ers.


12ers can be extraordinary!
11/13/2013 19:20
One of my favorite peaks is a 12er - Mt Toll.

This is a peak that I'll do eventually for the views, when going higher is too difficult/windy/etc. So thanks for posting!


04/02/2015 19:45
Doesn't Kataka have some really interesting register with all the names of ”usual suspects”? I'd like to check it out sometime. Was on nearby 13ers recently but way too beat to add this gem on. Hopefully, next time. Thanks for the TR!


More thanks
11/13/2013 22:15
@ Kiefer - I honestly like going solo most of the time. Unless it's pushing my danger boundaries.

@ Otina - Yep - I just gotta give Mt. Toll a shot one of these days - beautiful mountain.

@ Natalie - Years ago, I DO remember seeing a who's who of names on a register up there but I looked around the little summit cairn and couldn't find anything.


Nice Hike
11/17/2013 06:47
I hiked Kataka in deep, soft spring snow and lived to regret it. That was probably the only time I ever postholed more than waist deep.


You might be the Gerry Roach of Mt Evans WA
11/29/2013 15:19
As many times as you have been in there, you probably are! It is good to read a TR from you after all these years of looking at your wonderful pictures! Did Kataka from 3 Mile. I bet you have done all the Mt Evans WA peaks more than once by now?


Not quite, Beau...
11/29/2013 23:28
There are a few that I've missed as I never really had a goal of hitting them all. But given time, I'm pretty sure I will make most of them.

   Using your forum id/password. Not registered? Click Here

Caution: The information contained in this report may not be accurate and should not be the only resource used in preparation for your climb. Failure to have the necessary experience, physical conditioning, supplies or equipment can result in injury or death. and the author(s) of this report provide no warranties, either express or implied, that the information provided is accurate or reliable. By using the information provided, you agree to indemnify and hold harmless and the report author(s) with respect to any claims and demands against them, including any attorney fees and expenses. Please read the Safety and Disclaimer pages for more information.

© 2017®, 14ers Inc.