Black Mountain P1K
Yarmony Mountain P1K
Peak 8,260ft P300

Wed, Aug 24, 2022

With: Eric Smith
Ingrid Dockersmith

Etymology
Black Mountain
Story Photos / Slideshow Maps: 1 2 3 GPX

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Today, most of the work was done by the Jeep. We visited a couple of P1Ks in the southern part of Routt County (actually, Yarmony was located in Eagle County) that could be made quite short with some heavy driving. The weather today was very good - blue skies in the morning, puffy clouds by midday, nothing really threatening all day.

Black Mountain

There were two TRs available on LoJ before our visit. John Kirk had visited in 2017, using a route from the east that would be inconvenient for us. Better, jacolc had visited in 2022 only a month before us and left an all-legal route from the south that worked well. We'd likely not have figured it out on our own as the roads are poorly-signed, if at all, and it's not always clear where public and private land boundaries are. The GPX track attached to this report has the driving portion, so it should be easier for future visitors. It would take us well over an hour to drive the series of dirt roads starting from SR131 along the Colorado River just south of McCoy. The first third of the route along County Road 2 is well-graded. We followed lesser BLM roads through two unlocked gates marking an easement through a private ranch along County Road 2. Google will try and take you more directly through the ranch from County Road 2, but that route is not open to the public. We eventually found our way to the start of the horse trail described by jacolc. The trail was as good as described, easy to follow and well-maintained. It took only 20min of walking to find our way to the summit, nothing steep or remotely difficult. There's a benchmark at the top and partial views through forest to the surrounding country. A register we found had been badly chewed by rodents, so we left one of ours that we hoped would avoid the same fate. A very easy outing once all the driving is done.

Yarmony Mountain

Yarmony is about six miles south of Black Mtn, but there is no way to get between the two without driving all the way back out to the highway. It would take us more than two hours of driving, though the mileage wasn't all that great. There had been some heavy rains in the previous week that caused a small washout near the start of the Yarmony access road we used off SR131. We spent about 20min piling rocks into the washed-out section so we could drive over it. It was a fun bit of exercise that went surprisingly quickly with three sets of hands. Theresa Gergen and Brian Kalet had TRs on LoJ that proved useful in showing us the driving route. Theresa parked low on the mountain and hiked most of the road, while Brian managed to drive quite a bit higher, following the road that is very rocky and quite rough (but not bad enough to call it rock-crawling). We were happy to let the Jeep do all the hard work on this one, eventually parking near Kayser Spring where Brian had started. By then, we were driving no faster than we could have walked, so I stopped to give the Jeep a break. A more determined enthusiast can actually drive all the way to the summit. We would spend about 40min hiking the continuing roadway to the top, through forest, meadows and open slopes with some fine views overlooking the Colorado River drainage to the south and east. Like Black Mtn, this is all grazing country, so there is much evidence of cattle everywhere. Yarmony's summit offers views north to Black Mtn and east across three counties and up the Colorado River towards Kremmling. Bob Martin left a register here in 2005. On the way back down, we made a short detour to visit a log cabin we somehow missed on our way up. We were back before 1p, having spent about an hour and a half on the outing.

Peak 8,260ft

We drove back down to SR131 and headed north for our return to Steamboat Springs. Peak 8,260ft is a minor summit just north of Yampa, along the way, and makes for a short outing. Eric had visited it a year earlier, but neither Ingrid nor I had yet done so. Eric was kind enough to say he wouldn't mind waiting in the Jeep while Ingrid and I tagged it. The summit lies on a small square of BLM land. Dirt county road 21 passes by on the east side, just inside the BLM boundary. Leaving Eric and the Jeep along this road, Ingrid and I started up through some heavy brush initially, going over a barbed-wire fence, then up animal trails through more brush before getting onto more open ground higher up. We were moving at a very fast pace because I had told a scoffing Eric that we could climb it in 15min. It was quickly evident that the peak was harder than I had sized it up to be, and we had to move even faster to make the deadline. The going is pretty steep the whole way with no respite until the top. Ingrid stayed right behind me almost the entire way. It was only at the very end that she fell back a bit, and I only got to the summit about 15 seconds ahead of her - she was one tough cookie. Out of breath and breathing heavily, we laughed and surveyed our surroundings. I recorded the ascent time as 14min. Ingrid thought I was being nice in not dropping her more demonstrably, but in truth that was as fast as I could climb the hill. We descended at a more leisurely pace, Eric waiting below on the road to take some pics as we finished up. He was unimpressed with the 14min time I reported - "I thought you meant you could go up and down in 15 minutes..."

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