Peak(s):  Rogers Pk  -  13,391 feet
Date Posted:  01/19/2017
Date Climbed:   01/18/2017
Author:  Tornadoman
 Solo Snowflake- Mt. Rogers  

One of my goals this winter has been to do some winter hiking (and to summit a 13er/14er in each month). The season was off to a nice start with a summit of easy 13er Mt. Flora with my wife on Christmas Eve (December peak- check). A few days later we attempted Mt. Rogers from Echo Lake but were blasted by high winds and ended up turning around at least 1,000 vertical feet short of the summit. Then the snows came to the high peaks. With some reservation due to how much snow had fallen in the past couple weeks we joined the 14er group ascent of Quandary over the past weekend. It turned out to be a blast and being back in the pack we followed an easy trench all the way (January peak- check). I am almost always free on Wednesdays and the weather forecast looked great, so Tuesday evening I decided to gear up and make my first solo attempt at a winter peak. Since I already knew the route I decided that Mt. Rogers would be a nice goal for the day.

Mt. Rogers- 13,391 Feet
Start time- 7:20 am
Summit- 11:37 am
Back to Car- 2:15 pm

On my Rogers attempt at the end of December there was almost no snow above treeline. As the views opened up on my drive to the trailhead I noticed plentiful snow up high this time (not surprising given the snow the last couple weeks). I was planning on a lot of trailbreaking during the trip. I followed the road for a while and noticed a snowshoe track heading south off the road. Great, I thought to myself, this is going to make for a much easier day than expected.

Following the road to start the trail

Peaks visible

A snowshoe trail- Yes!

After a couple hundred vertical feet the trench reached the Mt. Evans road again, and headed up the road. I needed to cross the road and continue southward and there were no tracks to follow, from here on I was on my own. I headed through the tree, building my own trail. Quite a few times I feel knee deep into the snow with even a couple hip deep plunges. It was tough work and I was very excited to see myself breaking through the trees.

Wait, where is the trench?

Breaking treeline

The views really opened up on this bluebird day above treeline. I headed up the slope to rejoin the Mt. Evans Road. The road had plenty of snow on it and I followed it around to near the saddle between Goliath and the ridge to Rogers. Fortunately, I was only breaking through about 6 inches, keeping the trailbreaking reasonable in this section.

Rejoining the road

Snow covered road

Snowy road with Warren ahead

Just before the Goliath/Rogers saddle I left the road and headed uphill. I decided to stay just right of all the points on the ridge to cut down on the elevation gain. Generally the snow was about 6 inches deep with occasional deeper spots. I decided to just keep the snowshoes on since I didn't know if I would encounter deeper snow.

Skirting points to the right

Looking back

Skirting to the right again

Getting there.

Rocky shelter

Close now

As I ascended I had become a bit annoyed with my snowshoes slipping on rocks hidden beneath the snow. I decided to cache them a couple hundred feet below the summit and from there onward I stuck to the rocks as much as possible, occasionally sinking knee deep into snow between the rocks. I finally arrived at the summit at 11:37 am. I had been considering adding Warren to my day if I arrived on Rogers summit early enough. I didn't really know how long it would take to get there and back and wanted to be on my way down by 1 pm. Given the already lateish time, and this being my first solo winter attempt I decided to stick to one peak and just enjoy the views. Plus I have some other 13er plans in the area and Warren should make a very easy addition from Summit Lake.

Evans & Warren from Summit

More summit views

Distant Pikes

Grey Wolf

The trip down was uneventful and other than a few stops to tighten the straps on the snowshoes everything went as planned. I was a little concerned about the trip down through the deep snow in the trees, but I found plunging downhill on my earlier tracks to be quite easy. Before long I found myself back on the road and just a short distance to the car. It was another great day in the mountains and an enjoyable first solo winter summit!

Heading down

Great views continue

Nearing treeline

Echo Lake Lodge in snow

Happy trails!

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
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 Comments or Questions

01/19/2017 14:26
Love this one! Looks like you had a great day. The MEW is one of my favorite areas. Thanks for posting this.


01/19/2017 14:42
you can always get mt warren and gray wolf together at a later time


Less is more!
01/20/2017 17:51
...wind, that is.

Glad you found an awesome weather window to get back after it!
Looks like you went for the extra credit thigh-master workout, too.

Great TR. Well done. Carry on.


Thanks Guys!
01/23/2017 08:52
Jay- Mt. Evans area is quite beautiful with a nice selection of high peaks, and bonus it's a shortish drive from the Metro! Looks like you have been getting out there this winter. Keep it up!

Trotter- I was already thinking that a Gray Wolf/Spaulding/Warren combo in the summer would be nice.

Nancy- Been lucky that a couple weather windows coincided with off days. Hopefully that continues!

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