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:  08/16/2010
Modified:  08/24/2011
Date Climbed:   08/14/2010
Author:  Floyd
Additional Members:   lordhelmut
 5 Summit Day on the Divide & First Class 5 Route   

Partners: Brian (LordHelmut) and David.
Distance: ~13 miles.
Elevation: ~5,300 feet
Hassel Peak - 13,215, rank 471
Pettingel Peak - 13,553, rank 217
The Citadel - 13,214, rank 406
Hagar Peak - 13,220, rank 466
Golden Bear Peak - 13,010, rank 634

Life is starting to fall back into a routine after the birth of our second child so I was itching to get back to the hills after a couple of months hiatus. Brian and I have been e-mailing for probably the better part of 2 years, but never have been able to get a trip together until this one. After weighing our options we decided to give this little ridge scramble a try.

We met at 3:45 at Loveland Ski area. Unfortunately, we were surprised to find that the parking lot was closed until 9 am, so we had to leave the car about 1/4 mile down the road. After picking up David at Dry Gulch where he left his car, we drove to Herman Gulch where we hit the trail at 4:30. Hassel was an easy class 1 trail all the way to the summit. The trail hits Pettingell's East ridge, but, after an enjoyable sunrise over the front range mountains, we decided to stick to the trail that descended a little into Woods Creek but was more direct. The route description we found online was for trail running and they gave a time of 2 hours and 41 minutes to summit. Well, we hit the summit at 7:30, turning in a time of 3 hours. Guess we were moving pretty well.

After hiking down to the saddle, we were greeted with some fun class 3 scrambling on Pettingel's north ridge. Before too long we were enjoying our second summit of the day. It was shaping up to be a perfect day so from this point on, we basically forgot all concept of time. (We would end up with what I am guessing over 2 hours of summit time for the day.) I taped up my ankles since I was starting to feel some burn/rub and then we meandered down Pettingell's gentle south ridge

David and I hiking to Pettingell - Photo by Brian

Scrambling along Pettingel's North Ridge

Soon after we started up from the Pettingell/Hassel saddle we found plenty of scrambling varying from easy Class 2 to even a little Class 4 if you wanted it. Given the magnitude of what we had in front of us, I welcomed the warm up with these fun moves.

Me Hugging the Wall on a Class 4 section of Pettingel's North Ridge - Photo by Brian

Goats along the Pettingel's South Slope with The Citadel in the background

Pettingel's summit with Citadel and Hagar in the Background

Me showing good form on one of the many knife edges

Citadel/Hagar from Pettingell

David on approach to Citadel

Balancing Rocks (Pettingel/Citadel Saddle)

We hit Pettingel's summit (I'm guessing) around 9:00 or so. Now, we could see what we had in front of us and Citadel began looming large. The south slope of Pettingell was very mellow compared to the north, but we came across a couple of goats which added to the day's enjoyment. Also, it broke up a little of the gentle class 1 stuff. But, once over a small bump in the ridge, the real fun began - and we started catching glimpses of the crux chimney.

Approach to Citadel - Summit is middle spire, crux chimney is dark line on right.

David along the Ridge to Citadel - Photo by Brian

We had read of a class 4 bypass and conflicting reports of if the chimney itself or the left wall was easier. As we got closer, I knew I'd have my hands full. Keep in mind, this is my first true class 5 route. I'm sure I've found myself on some Class 5 stuff in the past, but this was my first "established" route of that difficulty.

4th class warmup - crux chimney in right background.

Brian hit the chimney head on while David poked around on the left wall. I stood back and weighed my options. Brian made quick progress but there was one section of an overhang that blocked easy access to anything above about 10 feet up the left wall. Once Brian was up, I took my turn at the chimney. The first 90% of it was tons of fun. Then, about 5-10 feet from the top (I could all but reach out to shake Brian's hand), I hit the crux of the crux. It didn't occur to me until afterwards, but all my pictures of Brian were at the same spot I was stuck. The fact that only a couple of toes were keeping me up with nothing but 50-60 feet of air underneath me was not comforting my nerves. I learned 3 important things at this point in time: 1) I now know what class 5.4 feels like. 2) I now know I can climb class 5.4 3) I have no intention of ever climbing exposed class 5.4 again without some protection. Looking back, I really should have sought out the bypass, but I wasn't about to try and down climb what I came up. So, I grabbed what I could and hoisted myself up the last few feet. Extremely relieved that was over without incident, I found a seat to be a spectator as David quickly followed up behind me.

Weighing our options at the crux tower.

Brian making his way up the 5.4 chimney

More climbing.

A little perspective on the steepness/size of the chimney

Me Climbing the Crux Chimney (and probably saying a few prayers at this point in time.)

David Climbing Crux Chimney

After the big climb, we cleaned the rocks of some rappelling remnants and started back on the class 3 ridge to the summit of the Citadel.

David making his way to Citadel. "Modest" exposure behind him.

Finishing along Citadel's North Ridge

One last scramble to gain the summit.

We met our first people of the day on the Citadel's summit. A young lady and her father had camped by Herman Lake and we had a relaxing conversation while my nerves slowly settled. The summit is a great place to find some "lounge chairs" mixed in the spires. The weather was still absolutely perfect so we didn't have any intention of going anywhere any time soon. David, unfortunately, had to be at work at noon in Dillon so he fled quickly for his car while Brian and I took a well deserved break. We probably spent a good half hour - 45 minutes up there before shoving off to Hagar.

Hagar from Citadel's summit

Citadel from the South (Saddle with Hagar)

The divide between the Citadel and Hagar is pretty gentle for the most part. It's not until you are within a few feet of Hagar's summit that it gets exciting again. There is a fun scramble to the summit block which is accessed by another little knife edge.

Scrambling along Hagar's North Ridge

Hagar's Summit Block

Knife Ridge to Hagar Summit

Nice Scramble to the Summit of Hagar

Once on top of Hagar, we knew our scrambling was over for the day. We saw nothing in front of us but a few false summits on the way to Golden Bear and a couple of miles of tundra.

One more to go... Golden Bear off to the left. (From Hagar's Summit)

A look back on a long day from Golden Bear

My Pretties.... The Gores from Golden Bear

Once over Golden Bear, all we could think about was cold beer and getting some real food in our guts. The hike out was uneventful, but with the day's excitement, I couldn't handle much more. We just talked while we made our way over the Eisenhower tunnel. This was truly one hell of a great day to be in the hills - perfect weather, good company, and a ton of solid rock to play around on. This one truly tested me physically and mentally and is one I'll remember for a very long time. Thanks for reading.

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 28 29 30

Comments or Questions

08/17/2010 15:00
That's a fun set of peaks. Good report.


Strong Day
08/17/2010 15:55
Good write up on a traverse I haven't seen much about. That crux looks interesting. Looking forward to something in October.


08/17/2010 18:44
I think I talked you you guys on Saturday when I reached the Citadel as I came over from Hagar. It looks like you guys had fun all over the moutanins. Thanks for putting up the trip report, I havent decided if I want to write one up for the reverse trip from Dry Creek to Hagar and then The Citadel and down.


Thanks guys
08/17/2010 19:24
Furthermore: Thanks. Goes to show you don't have to wander far from Denver for a great scramble.

Matt: How've you been, Man? Long Time No See.

Brian: Let's tackle another before the white stuff starts falling and you get into the more crazy stuff.

Colin: We need to grab a beer soon. Dry Dock?

Travis, That was us on the summit when you came up. Nice to meet you. There is supposedly a Class 4 bypass around to the west. This way was a lot of fun though.

Chicago Transplant

Good stuff
08/17/2010 20:20
Looks like a nice way to experience all of these peaks, I did them all in various other combos, but unfortunately missed out on the Pettingel-Citadel ridge. Will have to come back for that sometime though, it looks like a fun challenge.


Very nice ...
08/17/2010 20:36
Wow, those peaks look much different than during our winter ascents. Will definitely have to go back up and do those in dry conditions, and heck, we'll do the traverse too now that you've done such a good job of selling it. Thanks for posting. Happy trails!


08/18/2010 00:51
Mike, Definitely go back sometime. If you can only pull yourself from the local 8ers.

Presto, That would be an interesting place in winter. Wouldn't want to try it wet, that's for sure.

Steph, sorry to disappoint, but that pic is taken from atop the chimney. The one in pic 13 goes to the wrong summit. Heard you guys found some fun last weekend too. congrats.


Class 5 move
11/30/2010 17:28
In addition to my last post, I am glad that I didn't do the Pentigell to Citadell route that day as I would have been solo and that probably would have been a bad idea since it appears that you had about the same experience level as I do. That being said, now that you put up some great pics of it, I will probably have to do that route, haha.


Solid day
01/19/2011 03:38
It's great to finally have a detailed TR of this jaunt. The photos of the crux portion alone make me say thanks.
Congrats on your second little one.

Ridge runner

pic 13
02/01/2011 00:24
Is that the chimney that you guys went up in the background? If so, wow! Those chimney pictures are great, and nice work on your first established class 5 route. I bet it you did it again with a rope you'd cruise right up it. It's amazing how much confidence a rope can add.


Nice write up Scott
02/05/2011 00:22
Was a great day, great company and classic scrambling. Nice job doing the climb up to Citadel ”justice”. I'm glad to finally get one on the books, till next time....

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