Parkview Mountain P2K
Haystack Mountain P1K
Peak 11,500ft P300

Mon, Aug 29, 2022

With: Eric Smith
Ingrid Dockersmith

Etymology
Haystack Mountain
Story Photos / Slideshow Map GPX Profiles: 1 2

Continued...

The Rabbit Ears Range is a collection of peaks running east-west for about 30mi along the Continental Divide and the Jackson/Grand County boundary. Willow Creek Pass marks the eastern extent while Muddy Pass marks its western one. On our way back to Steamboat Springs, we decided to pay a visit to the range highpoint at Parkview Mountain, a P2K. Ingrid had visited this a year earlier, but was kind enough to suggest it to allow Eric and I to do the same. Our approach and routes were probably the most efficient in terms of least miles hiked, but hardly the best way to do them. Better would be to combine them all in a single outing since the traverse along the divide here is quite scenic and relatively easy.

Parkview Mountain

With the Jeep for conveyance, we were able to drive to 11,300ft high up the cirque on Parkview's east side. A trail starting from there climbs up to the SE Ridge and onto the summit where a lookout is located atop the talus-strewn summit. The lookout has no tower to sit upon and has long been abandoned, now riddled with graffiti, primarily the names of many visitors over the years. It took us about 40min to reach the top. Ingrid and I climbed onto the roof of the lookout while we waited for Eric to join us. Views stretch out in all directions, with Haystack easily visible about three miles to the west. For the return, I decided to head north off the summit to make a loop of things, Ingrid choosing to join me while Eric decided to take the trail back. The walk along the ridge is quite pleasant, but the descent off the SE side back down to the Jeep was in large part a crummy, loose talus/scree slope that required some care and offered none of the fine boot skiing we were hoping for. The whole descent took less than 25min, easily beating Eric on his leisurely return via the trail.

Haystack Mountain - Peak 11,500ft

Also located on the Continental Divide, these two summit are found west of Parkview, separated by a low saddle. Though slightly lower than Peak 11,500ft, Haystack is a P1K and our primary objective after Parkview. There was much driving to reach these, almost an hour and half's worth. There may have been a better combination of roads we could have used, but we had little prior knowledge of which roads were open and what conditions they were in. Eric and Ingrid were both doing their best to navigate with intermitent cell coverage via their phones and the peakbagger app while I drove. Often they would be in agreement, but when differences arose, Eric would usually suppress his sister's in favor of his own. After a few miscues, I told Eric I'd be taking instructions from Ingrid the rest of the way, as it seemed she was doing a better job at it. And so we eventually reached a wide turn in the road we were following, a short distance below the saddle separating the two peaks.

We started on foot up a trail leading to the saddle, but left it after only a few minutes to pursue a more direct approach to Haystack on our right. This took us up through forest and talus, then more forest and talus again, reaching the summit in about 40min. There are nice views of Parkview to the east and not one, but two Sheep Mtns - one to the southwest and another to the northwest. We found no register, so left one of ours before heading back down. Now noon, Eric decided he'd had enough for the day and headed back to the Jeep to relax and read. Ingrid and I continued down to the saddle where we were happy to pick up a good trail we weren't expecting. Not shown on our topo map, this is the Continental Divide Trail which we could have discovered by checking Google Maps. It would nicely take us to the summit of Peak 11,500ft through a series of switchbacks in about 45min from the saddle. The forest gives way to a broad ridgeline dominated by alpine grasses with easy walking and far views. A CDT trail post is found at Peak 11,500ft which has no obvious summit. It was only here that we realized how nice the hike to Parkview would be up the continuing ridgeline. On the way back down the ridge, we skipped all the switchbacks and then headed cross-country before reaching the saddle in order to make a more direct return to the Jeep. We found Eric lying in the grass with his book, looking as chill as could be imagined.

We tried to visit a few bonus peaks on our way back down to the highway, but the roads depicted on our maps were not all open and it became somewhat confusing. We had hoped for a couple of near drive-ups, but they turned out to be more work than we felt like in the moment. In the end, we never got out of the car and ended up driving back to Steamboat Springs and calling it a day...

Continued...


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This page last updated: Sun Oct 30 11:20:36 2022
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