RT Length: 9.84 miles
Elevation Gain: 2965’
It took me longer than anticipated to get to the trailhead due to an unexpected semi fire on I70. At first it looked like the entire hillside was on fire, due to all the smoke, but as I got closer I realized it was a semi. West bound wasn’t closed however, so I was able to get past it faster than those travelling east (which was closed).
When I finally made it to Montezuma, I turned left on 285 and followed it towards Webster Pass
This is a moderate 4WD road (which is good, since I still don’t have my new truck). They are serious about ‘no parking’ on private land here, and let you know you’re not allowed to park in any available pullout.
I was able to drive the .7 miles to the gate, but when I got there the gate was closed. Had it been open, I would have been able to drive all the way to 11000’. It was closed to allow for spring runoff (I’d find the next day it’s going to be a while before it opens: Webster Pass is still socked in and the 4WD roads have several feet of snow in some areas).
There were 3 places to park here, but none of them were very level, so I turned to drive my truck to a spot I’d seen on my way in, just about a dozen yards or so back down the road. As I was doing so, I noticed 3 ATVs: The drivers drove them through the woods, around the closed gate sign, and up the road. On my hike the next day it was obvious theirs were the only tracks. I was mad they were breaking the rules, but also hoping maybe they were ‘official’ and checking to see if the trails had melted out? They didn’t look very official. They also looked like they’d had to turn around.
Here’s the camping spot I chose for the night: a legal place to park at 10780’, next to the Snake River.
I got out and explored. There are several fire pits behind the parking area, and what look like good places to put up a tent.
After exploring, I went back to my truck, made dinner, sipped some whiskey, and started reading a book I bought at a used bookstore in Arizona: The Magnificent Mountain Women, Adventures in the Colorado Rockies by Janet Robertson (1990). It’s about all the first women to summit various Colorado Mountains, mostly 14ers. While I only made it about 50 pages in that night, so far it’s a great book, with a lot of good points and tons of background information on the lives of these women and their ascents. Added bonus: it includes pictures.
After a few chapters I decided to make it an early night. I had a lot of dental work done the day before and I was still sore. I had a hummingbird come visit me inside the topper of my truck (that’s 5 times now that’s happened to me), cleaned up, and went to bed.
I know the route I took is not the conventional route to Geneva/Landslide, but I did this on purpose: I’m hiking the loop with a friend next week and I’m trying to keep my streak of summiting peaks solo before going with someone. I hadn’t yet done Geneva, so I wanted to tick it off before we climbed it together next week, so I got a bit creative.
I was on the road at 5am, just before the sun rose. I took a quick short-cut from my camping spot through the trees to the gate (saved me a total of about 5 yards of walking). It’s an obvious and well-travelled side trail.
I passed the gate and continued along 285
I followed this road for .85 miles, until I came to a wide-open gulch. This is probably where I would have parked if the gate had been open. My hike would take me on a loop back to this place.
Here’s an overview of my hike to treeline:
There was a sign indicating a trail that intersected the road at 11045’. It showed there was a trail heading southeast, and indeed, in the dark it looked like there was a trail. I knew I wanted to head this way, so I started following the ‘trail’.
I’m thinking this was a snowshoeing trail. But, in any event, it took me in the right direction. The only problem? It was under spring runout. The entire area was marshy and I was sinking in the slush. Not fun. I found if I stayed higher, more to the left, I was able to miss the brunt of it. The ‘trail’ ended after about 200 feet. One thing I knew: this was not going to be fun on my way back. I decided to take the road down. I continued hugging the trees for three quarters of a mile, doing my best to avoid the willows
Then, at 11180’ I followed a small drainage into the trees, and headed east to treeline.
Once at treeline my route was obvious. I just aimed for the drainage and followed it up. Note: This is the southeast face of Geneva Peak, and it’s pretty much all tundra. I could have just gone up the ridge and ended up in the same spot, or followed the curve of the drainage all of the way right and done Landslide first. Lots of choices here.
I chose to go up the drainage, straight to the small saddle between Geneva and Landslide. This was nice and steady on tundra: nothing unexpected.
Once at the saddle I turned left and headed towards Geneva Peak. There was still a lot of snow here, but it was firm and I didn’t need microspikes. I just followed the ridge northwest to the summit
The summit was covered in a cornice.
I walked a little further north to take my summit photos. I summited Geneva Peak at 7am
Here’s a look at Geneva and Landslide from my picture spot.
Here are some other 13ers in the area:
I re-ascended Geneva, left a summit register on the cornice, and retraced my steps back to the Geneva/Landslide saddle.
This was a quick and simple hike, following the ridge east. The snow was avoidable if I were to dip down to the right, but at this time of day it was still firm and I didn’t even need microspikes to navigate.
There’s a bit of a false summit (if you could call it that) on the way
I summited Landslide Peak at 7:15am. I’m jumping for joy because this is the 250th unique 13er in Colorado I’ve summited solo. Woot!
Here’s looking back at Geneva
Since I didn’t want to drop back down into the basin and go through the marshy areas, I decided to hike the ridge south back to Webster Pass, then take the road back. Here’s the overall route along the ridge.
And some step-by-step pictures up and over this unranked point that is 13180’
This is easy class 2 up and over
Once at the top I made my way down to the 4WD dirt road.
At the road I turned right, and followed it west to Webster Pass. As you can see from this picture, even in June, Webster Pass is impassible due to snow.
Here I had a great view of how I ascended Geneva Peak
At Webster Pass you can follow the 4WD road back, making this a loop
Here you can see the road, on the other side of the Snake River, and the path it leads out
Once on the road, there were varying conditions, from dry, to muddy, and eventually to snow covered. The snow covered portions would have been difficult later in the day, but this early in the morning the snow was still (mostly) firm and I only postholed a couple of times
Just before making this a loop I came to a water crossing where Snake River meets 4WD road 285. It was about 18 inches deep. I took off my boots, rolled up my pants, and waded across, doing my best to avoid the stagnant area
Then I continued following 285 northwest, back to my truck
I made it back to my truck at 9:30am, making this a 9.84 mile hike with 2965’ of elevation gain in 4.5 hours.
Now, off to the airport to pick up one of my Girl Scouts: We’re off to California for the week for their Senior trip to learn how to surf. It’s our last trip before they all head off to college. Maybe I’ll be able to find some good hikes along the beach?