PT 10940 & PT 10770

RT Length:  8.32 miles

Elevation Gain:  2186’

Since the weather hasn’t changed since I was in the area a few days ago, I decided to get in a quick hike before work.  Well, in the middle of work.  I got up super early, worked for a bit, and then drove to the trailhead.  The road in was still icy, and as I drove in the temperature gauge kept fluctuating between 0 degrees and 1 degree.  It was cold!

I was on the trail at 6:45am. The trail starts behind this locked gate.

I travelled on this road (383) for 1.15 miles to the Crags Trailhead. 

This trailhead will take you all the way to Pikes Peak.  Instead, I followed the trail for half a mile, and then left the trail and continued up the ridge.

I was met with about 4 inches of snow, which was awesome!  This meant I’d have an easy time re-tracing my steps back down.  I followed the ridge as it wound northeast

Until I came to a rocky area.  This rocky area kind of surprised me, and got more intense as I went on.  It was all class 3, but with the snow it became a challenge at times to navigate.

Here I went down the chimney, and then skirted the rock formation to the left.  This was the crux of the route.

That was the hardest move.  From here it was a simple (but still rocky) trek to the summit.

There was a little bit of rock scrambling necessary to reach the summit. 

I scrambled on over to the highest rock and sat quietly, looking down at the exposure.

And back on the way I’d hiked in

The sun had not yet risen over Pikes Peak, so it was still cold

I didn’t sit there long.  Instead, I scrambled back down, placed a summit register in the opening between the rocks below the summit, and noticed this place got a lot of bird activity

Time to head back

Here’s that chimney I climbed down.  Here’s how to climb back up

And then I followed the ridge back to the Crags Trail

Back at the Crags trailhead, I continued following the road south, past the Crags Campground (closed for the season)

I followed the road for just over half a mile until I came to a fork in the road and a locked gate to private property.

At the locked gate I turned right and headed west, across a meadow and then up the ridge

This entire hike is below treeline, so it’s difficult to gauge where you’re going.  I just followed the rib/ridge west.

I passed some wiki-ups

And came to a large rock formation, which I skirted to the north to avoid

Once past the rock formation I kept heading west towards the highest point I could see

There wasn’t much of a view

I walked all around, looking for the highest rock, and placed a summit register there

And then followed my tracks back down to the dirt road.

Once on the road it was an easy 1.75 mile walk back to my truck and the trailhead

Along the way I saw a couple snowshoeing with their two dogs, who seemed to be quite enjoying the cold.  It was now 16 degrees outside, which was a vast improvement on the 0 degrees from earlier this morning. I made it back to my truck at 11am, making this an 8.32 mile hike with 2186’ of elevation gain in 4 hours, 15 minutes. 

Since I hadn’t made my 10 mile/4000’ goal for the day I went back home and hopped on the treadmill for a bit before resuming my day.

Raspberry Mountain – 10,605

RT Length:  6.5 miles

Elevation Gain: 1579’

I arrived at the trailhead to find the roads icy but plowed all the way to the winter closure.  I was actually kind of surprised to find the gate closed, and this altered my plans just a little bit:  I’d planned to drive down the road to other peaks after this one.  With the road closed I didn’t have enough time.  I parked my truck and gathered my gear, noticing there was a light on in the vehicle next to me.  No one was inside the vehicle, and the doors were locked, so I couldn’t turn the lights off for them.  I’m guessing they were hiking Pikes Peak today, and would most likely run down their battery.  Luckily this is a popular trailhead, so they should be able to find help nearby.

It was a cold morning (once again, below 12 degrees) so I put on all my gear and set out just as it was beginning to get light.  I love hiking without a flashlight!  I walked past the gate and followed the road for .7 miles

After .7 miles I came to the Raspberry Mountain Trailhead

From here on it was a very simple hike: I just followed the bootpack.  In summer months this would be an easy to follow trail.  I had on microspikes, and didn’t need traction.  From the trailhead it was 2.5 miles of hiking north to the summit, following the Ring the Peak Trail

I passed through a small meadow

And then gained and lost some elevation as I rounded the west side of the mountain.  At the top of this small saddle there’s a trailhead of sorts.  Turn left here

As I followed the trail I could see Raspberry Mountain in the distance.  You actually summit from behind

I curved around the north side of the mountain and came to a rocky outcropping

This was class 3, but without any exposure and easy to navigate.  I just heel-toed it up this ramp

And I’d made it to the summit.  The summit had large rocks, but no exposure

There was also a nice view of the west side of Pikes Peak. This side doesn’t get much attention, I’m afraid.

There wasn’t a commit register, so I left one in an obvious place.  This is a Teller County Highpoint, so I found it odd there wasn’t a register.

My camera stopped working about now.  It froze, and I was told to replace the battery (this is what happens when it gets cold), and then when I tried to clean the lens the water instantly turned to ice.  So I started using my cell phone. Did I mention it was quite windy and cold?  Time to head back, first down the rocky area

Then re-tracing my steps back to the upper ‘trailhead’

And back to the lower trailhead

Following the dirt ‘road’ back to the gate closure

I made it back to my truck at 9:15am, with much of the day still ahead of me.  There were quite a few vehicles parked at the trailhead at this time. Today had been much easier than I’d anticipated, so I drove home and hopped on the treadmill for an hour.  Here’s a topo map of my route