Mt Rosa – 11,499 and Rain Benchmark – 11,310

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RT Length: 6.5 miles
Elevation Gain: 2520’
Thinking this would be an easy hike I got up at 2am and worked out on the treadmill for a while before heading over to Steffens house at 4am. His truck is lifted and we wanted to see how it handled as compared to mine on the 4WD dirt road (pretty similar actually). We started from Frosty Park, the same place we began last week. Rain was predicted by 1pm so we wanted to be on the trail early. We started at 6am when it was just light enough not to need flashlights, crossing a fence and hiking east along a faint trail.

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I was immediately a bit upset, as one of my microspikes had broken. I could still wear the spike, but the chain was loose and it made an irritating clanking sound every time my foot hit the ground. Mental note: get new spikes before my next hike.
We turned right onto trail 672 and began retrenching an old trench, following the mountainside and losing elevation as we went.

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After 1.5 miles of hiking we turned right (south) onto 673 and encountered a lot of snow.

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In some places an old trench was visible so we tried to follow that whenever possible, but at other times we just made a new trench. Snowshoes weren’t needed this early in the morning.

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There was a windswept area

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And then more snow.

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Last time I summited Mt Rosa I summited from the south side (same trail at this point) but this time the trail wasn’t visible, so we just went straight up the north side of the mountain

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The summit was windswept and clear.

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We took a summit shot and stayed for a few minutes, since it was such a nice day

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There was no summit register so we left one, and built up the summit cairn while we were at it.

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Mt Rosa:

Heading back down was a breeze, as we just followed our previous tracks

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Ok, time for the next peak. It takes so long to drive out here and the summits are so short it’s worth it to try to get multiple peaks in in a day. We drove back down 379, noticing there weren’t nearly as many people out as there had been last week. We only passed 1 vehicle, and last time we’d passed dozens.

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Turned right onto Old Stage Road, we then followed the road for a few miles to 376, turned right again, and drove for 1.9 miles before parking on the side of the road.

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We started out by bushwhacking east, following a gully up the mountainside.

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This gully had more snow than we’d anticipated, so we stayed to the left of it. There was a little bit of snow here, and a lot of fallen trees.

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We made it to about 10250’ and decided to cut across the mountain and head southeast towards the saddle. Once again, no trail, and lots of downed trees. We came across another gully that led towards the saddle and decided to mark our exit so we’d know how to make our way back. We found this cool root that looked like a bighorn sheep skull and used that to mark our place.

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We continued east up the gully on what kind of looked like a trail

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Things changed when we hit the saddle: snowshoes became necessary

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We donned our snowshoes (thank you Steffen for fixing mine!) and started up the ridge that led to the summit.

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The snow just seemed to get thicker and thicker the further we went, and several times I thought we’d need to turn back, but we just zig-zagged our tracks and kept pressing forward.

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To the right of the snow is a rocky area. The summit is at the southwest point

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And check this out: there was a summit marker AND two summit registers!

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Unfortunately, the views of Pikes and Almagre were interrupted by trees

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The clouds were forming quickly so we didn’t stay too long on the summit. The snow was helpful on our way back, as we just followed our tracks back to the saddle

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And then we followed our makeshift bighorn sheep cairn across the mountainside and back down the gully. There was less snow here, and we were surprised every so often to find our tracks!

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Following the first gully back down was easy: we just stayed to the right of the snow

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This led us back to the road and Steffen’s truck.

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Here are the topo maps for the hikes
Rosa:

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Rain Benchmark:

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I’m not quite sure on the time for this hike, and to be honest, I wasn’t really paying attention because about halfway back to Old Stage Road we were stopped due to a tow truck blocking the road.

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We parked the truck and got out to see what was going on. Apparently someone was driving too fast on the dirt road last night; his truck launched and hit trees before going over the edge and landing in the creek. Check out how high those tree marks are!!! The driver was alone and miraculously unhurt. He spent the night in his vehicle and climbed for help this morning. We hadn’t come across him because we’d decided to hike Rosa first.

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We sat and watched them try to remove the truck for about half an hour.

Eventually they decided their tow truck wasn’t large enough and they’d need to come back with a bigger vehicle. Stay safe out there driving my friends!

Author: Laura M Clark

Mom, Solo Colorado 14er Finisher, Outdoor Enthusiast, Traveler, and Girl Scout Leader with an MBA in International Business and Marketing. I value adventure, growth, courage, wisdom, integrity, accountability, and family. I enjoy yoga, wine, whiskey, traveling, reading, and the outdoors. I strive to be the person who inspires and motivates myself and others to succeed.

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