Peak(s):  Rogers Pk  -  13,391 feet
Goliath (12216)
Date Posted:  05/11/2020
Modified:  05/12/2020
Date Climbed:   05/09/2020
Author:  M_Dundee
 Rogers and Goliath from Echo Lake  

Taking advantage of the closure of the Mt Evans Rd my son and I turned what normally would be short peak strolls from the road into a 13 mile / 3,000' hike. The previous Sunday we scouted up to the closed Goliath VC to check on conditions and had found the majority of the route free from snow. We also determined there was a way to drive to the TH without using county roads by taking I-70 to the middle exit in Idaho Springs and then traveling south on Colorado 103 to Echo Lake. The parking lot on the east edge of Colorado 5 (Mt Evans Rd) across from the closed Echo Lake lodge and in front of the closed campground is within the Echo Lake Denver Mountain Park. There is a sign posted on the closure gate that warns about limited rescue service. A snow pile still blocks the road at the entrance gate. The road is melted out enough to hike or bike up to over 12,000' without crossing into snow. By occasionally switching sides of the road one can have a natural surface "trail" most of the way.

Goliath VC garden - view towards Chief Mtn

We arrived at the TH at 9 AM and 30 degrees with 3 other cars in the parking lot, though we only passed one other human all day. The Goliath VC is just under 3 miles from the TH. There were snowboard tracks coming off of Goliath Pk to the VC. We stayed on the road around the north side of Goliath Pk to the NW ridge, just past 11,800'. At this point there was a break in the snow and a cairn on the uphill side of the road. There is no trail to the top but with careful rock hopping one can stay off the tundra for the 400' climb. After taking a break on Goliath Pk and seeing our upcoming route free of snow, except for patches, we headed towards Rogers Pk. By staying west of the two false summits of Goliath's SW ridge we avoided the snow on the other side and connected into the nature trail. We then followed this trail down to the parking lot for the Pesman nature trail TH, near point 12,152'.

Just above 11,800' where we turned left off road to climb Goliath Pk, Chicago Lakes below to right

View from Goliath Pk towards Rogers Pk. Goliath's false summits in foreground. Rogers first false summit above rd on left side

Crossing the road we stayed right (west/north) of the ridge that runs about a mile up to Rogers Pk. We aimed for two "rune stones", about 5' tall with triangular pointed tops, that were on the horizon to the right of the ridge line. My son went on a steeper ascending traverse and passed a few hundred feet above the "rune stones", whereas I went next to the stones. Either way works, his route led to the first saddle after the first false summit, that is directly above the road, and my route took me below the second minor false summit to the second saddle. The pleasant part about using this route is that there is no view of the road, you are looking down into Chicago Lakes and towards Grey Wolf. So this would be a nice walk even if the road was open. Also this part of the hike gave me an opportunity to use my Buff face mask to block out the stiff north wind. From the second saddle there is a series of rolling steps for the final 400' up to Rogers Pk. This area has the most snow, but by scanning ahead one can avoid all of the snow patches. The summit has many vertical blocks where one can find a spot to get out of the wind for lunch.

Grey Wolf Mtn

View from Rogers Pk - Mt Evans on left, Mt Spaulding on right, Mt Warren in foreground

After lunch and taking our summit photos we decided to return by crossing over each of the false summits. Looking south/east off the ridge we noticed that we had chosen the best route up Rogers Pk since south/east side of the ridge was snow covered. Below Rogers Pk the Mt Evans road was snow covered and the road was also snow covered above Summit Lake.

Lincoln Lake from Rogers Pk ridge

Arriving back at the nature trail parking lot we could have returned to the TH via the road and avoided all snow crossings, but instead decided to make first tracks on the Pesman nature trail to the Goliath VC. If anyone goes this way avoid the lower tracks of the first snow crossing from the parking lot. This was where my son had started attempting to find the trail, until I remembered the COTREX app on my phone.

Social distance below Goliath Pk
Just off the nature trail

By carefully following the trail as shown on the app we made our way across the two-dozen or so snow drifts (up to 3' deep) scattered along this trail. This worked fine until under a quarter-mile from the Goliath VC, where a tree had fallen across the trail. We could see the trail descending into another snow drift, but the COTREX app showed the trail continuing along at a level path. We continued following the non-existent trail as shown on the app to get through the remainder of the snow drifts and could tell it was an old trail due to occasional water bars. We dropped out of the willows into the garden area behind the Goliath VC. From there it was under an hour back to the TH, arriving about 5:30 PM. Near the Mt Evans entrance station I found a fully-charged portable phone battery and cord if anyone lost one, there was no dry place to leave it at the TH. Overall a great first of the year above timberline hike for us.

The nature trail passes through a Bristlecone pine forest

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