Peak(s):  "Hassell Pk"  -  13,215 feet
Pettingell Pk  -  13,553 feet
"Citadel, The"  -  13,294 feet
Hagar Mtn  -  13,220 feet
"Golden Bear Pk"  -  13,010 feet
Date Posted:  09/17/2019
Modified:  06/15/2020
Date Climbed:   09/14/2019
Author:  Stratosfearsome
 Five-of-a-Kind on the Divide   

Hey ladies and gents! Here's a quick and dirty report about doing a sweet scrambling ridge, 45 minutes west of Denver, as an out and back. (No car shuttle.) Map of my approximate route at the end! Cheers.

Stats: 11 hours, ~15 miles, 5500ft +/-, 5 ranked 13ers, 1 bull moose, 1 shoe destroyed.

I took exit 218 off I-70 and started up the trail from Herman Gulch TH at 6:45am.

Hermann Gulch, before a hard-right up the CDT towards Woods basin (and Hassell Peak)

Headed north up grassy slopes from the trail intersection in Herman Gulch, then continued on grassy slopes up to the ridge between Hassell and Pettingell. View is looking back east into Hermann Gulch.

Hassell Peak was a great warm-up. About two hours from TH to summit.

Autopilot engaged! Such a pretty morning that I didn't mind at all.

East Ridge of Pettingell Pk. (13,553ft) Lots of Class 3 or harder scrambling to be had. Generally good rock, some scree in gullies.

Into the money on Pettingell's East ridge! Feels good to be healthy again after some nagging injuries.

Azure nature is my cure.

The crowds on Pettingell! (Looking back on the way to the Citadel. Saw only 7 people all day and none after this.)

Twin Summits of the Citadel (13,294ft) and Hager Pk. (13,220ft) to the right (SW)

Enhance! (Pettingell to Citadel traverse does not exceed class 2+ until the towers) <-- Thanks Marmot72 for that tip.

Approaching the chimney and today's crux wall! Perfect weather.

Crux tower. I climbed ten feet up the chimney, stepped left onto the buttress, and climbed positive holds in the sun. The chimney is polished but dry. I found the step out of the chimney to be the hardest move. It is low class 5 for about 60ft here. (~ 5.4 YDS)

I'm lichen it.

Class three on (mostly) solid rock to the Eastern summit. Scintillating position!

R.I.P my shoe!

Looking back (north) to Pettingell, along traverse ridge.

View south to Hagar (13,220ft) from atop The Citadel

Hagar's sweet summit fortress! Can be climbed Class 2+ to Class 4/5 depending on line. Around to the left (south) is easier.

Too much sun, starting to lose it...

Golden Bear (13,110ft) to the south. Undulating...

View back north of the ridge to Hagar and Co.

Looking East to Mt. Trelease (12,479ft). Aiming for the saddle, then taking a hard-left into Dry Gulch.

At the head of dry gulch, looking East. Forgot my machete!

Actually, the bushwhacking wasn't too bad. Lots of game trails and some skier-tagged trees. After a mile and change, I found the trail on the north side of Dry Gulch.

I followed the trail until it became a dirt road and crossed over Dry Gulch creek. Then, I cut left (NE) and skirted around Mt. Bethel's flanks at around 10,600ft. I could see I70 below me through the trees, but I followed game trails for about a mile until a dead pond near Hermann Gulch forced me down to the level of the freeway. I passed through trees undetected and got back to my vehicle at about 5:45pm.

If you don't have the luxury of a car shuttle for this one, then it may work better to return to the Golden Bear - Hagar saddle and follow the bench at 12,000ft in Dry Gulch (that passes the un-named lake,) then go ~500ft up to drop back into Hermann Gulch. Food for thought. But if you like bushwhacking and stealth missions...

Aside: the entire traverse of these five 13ers, excluding the 60ft of 5.4 climbing on Citadel's north ridge, is Class 3 or easier. Fun, harder rock is often nearby. If you return to Hermann Gulch down low, then don't get too close to I-70. Hiking beside the freeway is stupidly dangerous (and illegal, if you care about that.) I recommend traversing game trails in the forest above. (Just my opinion.)

Overall a great day in the hills! Have fun out there and thanks for reading.


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

Timely report!
09/19/2019 07:23
I am planning the Citadel/Hagar/Golden Bear trio soon and this beta will help! Glad to see you getting some good routes in Rob!


Good scramble!
09/19/2019 07:39
Thanks man! Yes Iâm finally over my Achilles and ankle injuries. Time to train for winter again! Cheers, I think youâll dig this ridge run.


Nice report, Rob!
09/19/2019 17:00
You were really knocking out the peaks on this trip. I feel like such a slacker, as I only did Pettingell and Hassell together.


Thanks Eddie!
09/19/2019 23:03
Ha, it didn't hurt to have such a perfect weather day! Looks like you've been having a productive summit season yourself.


Nice loop!
09/22/2019 14:27
Hey now, us skiers sometimes can't avoid those trees that jump out at us ;)


Thanks, Otina!
09/23/2019 21:15
Yeah, you poor skiers are often attacked by sneaky shrubs, tricky trees, wily willows, and ambushin' bushes.

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