RT Length – 14.15 miles
Elevation Gain – 4000′
Time – 7 hours
After our misguided attempt at PT 10245 a few weeks ago we really wanted to summit this peak asap, but the weather wasn’t cooperating and my cookie deliveries kept getting in the way. Finally, today seemed like a good day to try it again.
We arrived at the Barr Trail parking lot at 5:30am and were on the trail by 5:45am. The parking situation is the same as last time: $10 via card at the kiosk.
From the beginning microspikes were necessary. We kept them on for the entire hike.
The creek just after the Barr Trail / Incline turnoff was flowing nicely
The ‘cave’ had some snow
Just before the experimental forest, where the path was all ice 2 weeks ago it was now covered in several inches of snow and nicely trenched. This made it much easier to navigate.
We turned left at the experimental forest and continued along the well trenched Barr trail.
Past mile marker 5.5
Here’s where we messed up last time: We had gone all the way to Barr Camp (6.5 miles) and at the advice of the guy staffing Barr Camp took the trail just after Barr Camp, ending up at AdAmAn Peak instead of PT 10245. To be fair, the routes are strikingly similar, and while AdAmAn is unranked, it is taller than 10245 at 10405′. This time we were prepared and looked for trail 671, which is about a mile before Barr Camp. This is where we found it:
I’m sure there’s an actual trail here, but today it was covered in snow and not detectable. We put on our snowshoes and got ready to trench. At the above sign we left the Barr Trail and headed right (north), trenching our own trail, skirting the rock formation to the left
and heading down a small hill, losing about 200 feet of elevation before coming to a creek and turning left (northwest).
Here I was able to pick up the trail again anf followed it around the creek. Please note, this was NOT South Fork French Creek, but a willow filled off shoot.
We followed the ‘trail’ until it seemed to end. We were just about parallel with AdAmAn peak at this point. Here we turned right (northeast) and could see PT 10245
We were going to have to cross an aspen grove to get to the peak. When we were right in the thick of it Steffen said: “This looks like the type of place you’d see a moose” and about 2 steps later we saw evidence a moose had spent the night here. In fact, on our way back we saw moose tracks going over/through our trench, so we must have scared him/her away with our approach.
Once past the aspen grove we were in the willows. I’m pretty sure this is where we crossed French Creek, but it was frozen and covered with snow so all we saw was a marshy area. Trenching here wasn’t fun: I sank up to my thighs several times. Here’s the path we took through the trees to the summit
There were large boulders everywhere, and a band of boulder piles to the right that weren’t climbable. Sticking center left of the mountain seemed to work well.
At several points we wanted to take off our snowshoes, but then we’d encounter snow that made us thankful we hadn’t. The summit was located to the left, at the mountain’s northernmost point. There was a cairn indicating the summit. We sumited at 9:50am
There were beautiful views of Pikes Peak, with AdAmAn Peak below (the pile of rocks in the center of the photo).
We took summit photos
and headed back down, solidifying our trench
back through the willows
and to Barr Trail, where we took off our snowshoes and continued our descent. The trench on the trail was indeed deep in places, and microspikes were still appreciated after the incline cutoff.
We made it back to my truck at 12:45pm, making this a 14.15 mile hike with 4000′ of elevation gain in 7 hours. I got a bunch of pictures on the way back, but unfortunately I’m still learning how to use my camera and it had been stuck on ‘program’ mode for the entire hike down, making my pictures all dark and fuzzy. We gave each other a high-five at the bottom, glad to be able to say we’d actually summited the correct peak this time. Check off another El Paso County Highpoint! Here’s a link to the GPX file, for those interested.