Peak(s):  The "Incisor" 11,930
"Middle Agnes" 12,011
"Molar Tooth" 11,950
Date Posted:  11/28/2022
Date Climbed:   09/12/2022
Author:  TimoMan
 The Incisor and some of her friends   

Northern Park Range: Mt. Zirkel Wilderness.

The ridge north of Big Agnes is full of interesting soft-ranked peaks with sections of rolling alpine, surprising challenges, and bomber rock. It can be roughly split into two parts, a higher section from the shoulder of Big Agnes to the "Incisor," and an end-cap with the "Castle" and its unnamed neighbor, both of which look like minimum Class 3 scrambling. This report covers a Slavonia start, Micah Basin approach, ascent of "Middle Agnes," and a jaunt north over every high point to the Incisor and a smaller, hidden (but really fun) high point behind it. Then, you loop back to the highest of two unnamed lakes in what I think is the prettiest basin in the region. Pick your line of least resistance to the saddle with Mt. Zirkel, turn south and piece together a connection to the Gilpin Lake Trail. From there, bust on back to the car. What you get: clash of environments, forest, alpine, lots of off-trail hiking, short bouts of Class 3 and 4 scrambling on good rock, a series of high points, two stunning unnamed lakes, lots of off-trail exploration, and, ultimately, a loop back to where you started. I don't think this hike will appeal to too many checklist people when you have Zirkel, Big Agnes, and Flattop Mountain as the area's only official 12ers, and this hike covers none of them. I saw the potential for this route from a previous scramble of the west ridge up Big Agnes and wanted to check it out. I'd consider it more of an exploration-type adventure than a summit bagging or scrambling adventure (even though it has both). This hike made me reexamine the role arbitrary elevation lines have had in limiting mountain discovery because on a map it doesn't look like there's much to love, but when you get back there, it's a whole different ballgame.

-Roundtrip distance: ~13 miles (+4,150 ft.) roughly half of the total distance is off-trail, your pace will slow and orientation skills are a must

Non-negotiable Class 3+. Mandatory Class 4 if you want to touch the top of the Incisor.

Full blog post.

Go Pro video of the ridge/scrambling portions only.

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
1 2 3

Comments or Questions
Zirkel is the new Gore
12/12/2022 04:50
What happens in Zirkel, stays in Zirkel. Stop telling everyone! Zirkel Wilderness is probably the only place in Colorado that isn't mobbed every weekend.

Incorrect but stay bitter
12/12/2022 13:02
You know, for someone with 14 long and detailed trail reports on this website, you're kind of going out of your way to be a hypocrite. On your profile page you say ”top secret weekend warrior,” so, you're mad You're, by your own admission, one of the people mobbing weekend trailheads... In order for this to be fair, you should leave weird possessive comments about public lands on every post and page where someone drops a Zirkel trail report, right? Here, I'll help get you started:

These Summitpost pages must be tough to handle. I mean, boom, right there, Zirkel Wilderness and Big Agnes references.

Uh-oh, coming in hot with some Mt. Zirkel action, nope, can't have that:

The Dome? Get out of town. Actually, the author of this report's name is gore galore, make sure to tell him ”Zirkel is the new Gore,” don't want to miss an opportunity there.

Big Agnes

Sawtooth traverse. An exquisite photo gallery of the area and its scrambling opportunities? Nah, cancel him.

Look you soggy walnut, I know xmas is around the corner, but try to stuff the grinch tendencies, yeah? This is a mountaineering site with 2173 trip reports and you're picking on the guy who wrote a piece about an area that doesn't have direct value for anyone interested in 14ers,13ers, or 95% of 12ers? The northern Park range has been climbed in and on since at least the 1970s, it's not yours. Here's another reference for you:

Make sure to tell Mr. Leaman that he ruined the area for the rest of us, that'll go down well. I'm sure he'd love your expired coupon level feedback specifically.

Here are some facts you need to deal with: The sun will rise again, summer weekends are terrible times to go hiking if you don't like people, and anyone who can read a map can find Zirkel wilderness. Take your copy/paste Las Vegas wisdom and shove it.

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