Peak(s):  Hagerman Pk  -  13,841 feet
Date Posted:  01/21/2015
Modified:  04/26/2015
Date Climbed:   01/17/2015
Author:  Dad Mike
 A long way to go to see the Crystal Mill  

Time:17 hours 15 minutes
Distance: 25 miles
Elevation Gain: 7700 feet

1am start from the east end of Marble, elevation 8000'. Took the high road on the way in and was able to stay on an old snowmobile track all the way to summer trailhead.

It started to snow around 3am and was heavy and blowing sideways at times. In the light of my headlamp it looked like endless stings of beads...beautiful and blinding at the same time. This made it hard to stay on track on the way to Geneva Lake. Walk in a straight line for a minute, check GPS, change course, repeat.

Got to the lake just as it started to get light. Didn't get much sleep the night before and wanted to wait for the clouds to clear so decided to take a quick nap. I slept from 6:45 - 7:15, sitting on my pack, leaning against a tree.

My plan was to climb up a gully to Hagerman's SW ridge, ascend the ridge to the summit, traverse over to Snowmass and descend the S-Ridge. At this point I was right on schedule and felt really good. I brought a rope for possible raps of the difficult sections of the H-S traverse. So if I was going to commit to the traverse, I had to start with Hagerman. I knew that I was going to miss out on Snowmass if I started this route and couldn't finish it. I decided I was willing to acccept that possibility.

First light on Snowmass on my way up the gully.

A closer look at Snowmass' stunning south face.

Looking up the gully and some old slide debris...I took a direct path to the lowest point of the ridge in this picture.

Near the top I was finally able to get off the snow and onto some rock

From the top of the gully I got a great view of the SW ridge and south face of Hagerman

Deep snow on the ridge made the climbing physically exhausting. Back and forth between snow and rock...too much rock for snowshoes, too much snow to stay on the rock.

By the time I got to the final slope to the summit, the mental battle was raging. Traverse or not to traverse? The climb from the lake to the summit had taken 2 hours more than expected and I was completely spent. I don't know if I've ever been so tired. I looked at the traverse to see if there were any bailouts on the west side...just in case I got to the low point and couldn't climb any higher. Maybe, but they looked steep and impossible to know what the snow would be like. Not a risk I was willing to take. I also couldn't ignore the 13 miles I had to go to get back to my vehicle. In the end it was a pretty easy decision. I convinced myself that Hagerman was a worthy accomplishment by itself and I would be happy with that. Snowmass will have to wait for another day.

Accepting this made it easier to enjoy the summit of Hagerman. I stayed up there for a while...ate some lunch, left a couple voicemails for Dani and had some fun with the snow


Route overview with labels

Summit ridge cornice with Snowmass Lake below

Hell's Bells


After 30-40 minutes on the summit, I made my way down Hagerman's south face...connecting islands of rock along the way. The views from the bottom of the face were incredible, almost moon-like. This is looking back at the SW ridge...the saddle is the right of the rocky point in the middle of the picture.

Love these traveling snowballs...they kept me company all down the face.

I tried to build my Ben, Shylah and Brooke cairns on the summit, but couldn't find any loose rocks. This was the first place I found some building materials.

After breaking trail all morning, it was a relief to be able to follow my tracks once I got back to the top of the gully.

As soon as I got back to level ground, I started to second guess my decision. Stupid brain.

A few minutes after passing the lake I ran into a group of 4 on their way up. I had heard there might be a group going for Snowmass on Sunday, but was starting to think they changed plans. After being alone for 13 1/2 hours, it was such a relief to see and talk to people. We stopped and talked about conditions, plans, etc. When we parted ways we all introduced ourselves. Homey, Dominic, Ryan and one guy I didn't recognize and don't want to guess his name wrong. Quite the crew. I heard they summited Snowmass via the West face on Sunday. Nice work fellas.

Looking back up at the slopes leading to Geneva Lake...looks a lot different in the light

I really didn't want to re-climb the 1300' up the high road. So when Team Snowmass told me they took the Crystal route in, I was sold. Looking back up from the road above Crystal. Sections like this make this option tricky when snow conditions are bad.

I got to Crystal around 5pm and took a break on some dude's porch. Felt so good to sit on a bench and take my boots and socks off.

And a trip to Lead King wouldn't be complete without a stop at the Crystal Mill.

I got back to my car at 6:15pm, finished the rest of my food, and drove 4 1/2 hours back to Colorado Springs...just in time to kiss my wife and go to bed.

Thanks for reading. Stay tuned for more fun in the Elks....

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27

 Comments or Questions
I Man

FWKA Hagerman
01/22/2015 13:47
Hagerman was indeed a worthy goal. Nice work. I am curious as to how difficult the actual ridge was – pictures look not too bad. Nice decision making. Congrats on making the FKWA of Hagerman, a goal I had talked about. Best of luck with your season bud!


01/22/2015 15:05
That is one long, tough day. Great pics as always.


01/22/2015 15:28
Mike, any chance you have GPS track file you could add to this one? I’d love to see the line

Vicarious Living.
01/22/2015 16:31
Really nice TR and impressive effort, seemingly as always. I imagine Geneva Basin is gorgeous in full on winter. That cornice in picture 14 is almost exactly the same as it was last June, albeit with much more snow over Snowmass Lake. The basin below the south face was very much "moonlike" then, too.


01/22/2015 16:50
of course and per usual tremendous effort. You are the quintessential endurance athlete. I wish I could take naps in the frigid winter mornings. I have so much to learn.

I absolutely love reading your trip reports, keep being awesome!

Kevin Baker

01/22/2015 20:04
Super impressive piece of grit, determination, and endurance. This is a brutal hike in summer that a lot of people couldn’t do! What fitness activites do you do outside of hiking to be able to pull off such huge days? Congrats!


I may egg your house...
01/22/2015 23:08
if I can time it when you get back from 25 mile day trips in the elks. That way at least I’ll have a chance to escape.

Sarah and I are pulling for you. Congrats on the additions to the family. I look forward to our next face to face chat. Later.


01/23/2015 02:19
That looks tiring! Nice work man. Nice seeing you up there. I’ll echo the comment that your summit pics are pretty cool.


"I don’t know if I’ve ever been..
01/23/2015 02:45
so tired". More so than Jagged? geez. Must have been a rough day.



In awe
01/23/2015 02:58
Truly in awe of your effort. Pretty incredible. Congrats.

Dad Mike

Thanks Everyone
01/23/2015 03:45
Bill...Sorry I don’t. I only kept my gps on when I was walking around in the dark. I’ll try to draw my track in on a map when I get a chance.

Kevin...Lots of beer and pizza. And the occasional run pushing a baby stroller with 25 pounds of babies.

Papi...Come egg my house. Then have dinner with me and Dani. We would love that. Seriously. Call me next time you are near the Springs.


Whoa, Mike...
01/26/2015 22:22
You are starting to make us all new dads feel really inadequate. Well done man. Very impressive solo daytrip. That ridge looks really cool in the winter.


image 20 is rad
01/27/2015 04:19
Dude! you did it, you hiked to a lake and slept. This opens so many doors.

Awesome job man! Deep snow on those ridges is a total energy dissipator for sure.


east end of Marble?
01/29/2015 19:01
didn’t you start from the east end of Marble, not Crystal?

Those of you who don’t like winter camping sure put in some long days. That works for you young guns, not for me anymore.

Congrats again, winter Centennials are the new thing to do. This one ended in success anyway, Jagged remains the ultimate challenge perhaps. Rio Grande Pyramid will make a nice day trip as well. Ken Nolan has done it in winter solo, I’ll have to check if he camped or not. edit: he did


I can barely
04/02/2015 19:45
recognize the SW ridge in snow. What a gorgeous area. Glad you were able to pull that one off! Congratulations.

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