Today's Steamboat adventure took us southeast of town in the Routt National
Forest, where US40 goes over the Continental Divide at Rabbit Ears Pass. Today
was more a driving exercise with little hiking, leaving the Jeep to do the
brunt of the work. Ingrid and Christian where heading to Boulder in the
afternoon and could only join us for a few of the summits in the middle of the
outing. While they were busy packing up their vehicle, Eric and I headed out
to do a few easy summits before they were scheduled to join us at the pass.
Baker Mtn is located on the Continental Divide, south of US40, between Rabbit
Ears and Muddy Passes. It was the only hike of the day with significant hiking,
though still only about an hour and a half for the roundtrip. We started from
Forest Road 307, only a short distance from the highway. The route is
entirely cross-country, hiking to reach Baker's more
open , then up the ridge as begin to open.
is perched on the edge of the vertical , a
dizzying view from above. There was some haze today, but not nearly as much as
the previous day, with decent views to the south, , and east. To
the north could be seen the famous in the distance. A
register dated with four pages of entries. We returned via
substantially , by 8:40a.
This one is a drive-up to the telecom installation found on .
Also found on the south side of the highway, but west of the Continental Divide,
it took us about 45min to make to the 10,559-foot summit.
This was Eric's
second time here, having first visited it a month earlier on foot from nearby
North Walton. The road to Walton is a bit rough, high-clearance recommended.
Elmo lies about a mile northwest of Rabbit Ears, just north of the Continental
Divide. We were a few minutes late meeting Ingrid and Christian at the junction
of FR315 and US40. We left their vehicle there, piling into the Jeep for the
rougher ride. FR311 climbs up the Continental Divide from Rabbit Ears Pass near
Dumont Lake. It climbs to over 10,000ft to reach the Base Camp TH near Fishhook
Creek. We didn't take it to the TH, stopping along the road where it passes
under the south side of Elmo BM. From our , it was a
30min hike up through and to reach
, partially open to . There was a USGS
from 1949 but no register.
Rabbit Ears Peak
This was the most interesting peak of the day, by far. Two peaks, actually,
with the inclusion of East Rabbit Ears. There is a rough 4WD road that drives
to the very base of these volcanic plugs. The road is more popular as a hiking
route, and I felt a little guilty driving numerous parties from the road as we
passed by, a cloud of fine dust following in our wake, despite the low speed. We
were the only vehicle found driving up and down the road on a Monday. We parked
at of the west summit, initially looking for routes to its
top but finding nothing obvious. We continued on over to
the east summit which we knew was slightly higher and a 5.7 rock climb up its
hadn't brought any climbing gear with us, using this as an initial scouting
effort to see if we thought it looked reasonable. We were swooped upon by one
of the falcons that had made a nest 2/3 of the way up the climbing route. It
flew about screeching and making an awful racket to drive us away. We
hung around only long enough to take a few pictures, ascertain the route's
location, and then retreat. Whether we had the skill to do the climb was now
moot, as we certainly weren't going to climb through a nesting site. We returned
to and went about doing a more thorough search for a
scrambling route there. The east, north and west sides were too vertical to
leaving only the south side. I settled on a 20-foot chimney that seemed to offer
the easiest route up. The rock was decently solid and the chimney felt secure,
and in less than a minute I was past the crux. The remaining 30ft or so is all
class 3. climbed up , but when
gave it a try she backed down after a few moves. Not liking the looks of it,
Christian declined to give it a go. Eric and I continued to
where we stayed only a few minutes, ascertaining that it was impossible to tell
was higher without more accurate equipment than our eyeballs.
We without incident, returned to the Jeep, and drove
ourselves back down the road. We left Ingrid and Christian off at their vehicle,
Eric and I continuing on to North Walton.
North Walton Peak
Like Walton Peak, North Walton is also a drive-up, albeit via a different Forest
Road off US40. to reach the area is
both shorter and easier than the road to Walton Peak. A
camper parked at the edge of the summit (a fantastic view spot) is evidence that
almost any vehicle can drive to the top of this one.
Located on the north side of US40 and west of the divide, this unnamed summit
can be most easily access from the east via FR296. The road is rough, suitable
only for high-clearance, but it gets one within half a mile. From
, it's a short cross-country hike through and
to reach in 15min. A cross-country ski route
is marked going through the area by tacked to the trees.
We found a year-old at the summit left by Steamboat resident
Soren Jespersen, with two other entries before our arrival. No views from the
This unnamed summit found outside the forest boundary in a private rural
development. The signs aren't exactly welcoming as you drive the dirt road
that starts at the edge of a condo development on the north side of US40. We
drove up to that occupies the high ground, taking all
of a minute to visit in the trees. We got a laugh,
noting that Brian Kalet
(Mountain Climber on PB) had visited the summit 20 times over the past decade,
a strange bit of stat-padding with this nothing of a summit...