Peak 9,660ft P750
Hastings Mesa P500
Last Dollar Mountain P300

Tue, Oct 3, 2023

With: Eric Smith

Story Photos / Slideshow Map GPX


It had rained on and off the previous day, and there was an inch of snow on the ground in Telluride when we awoke in the morning. Expecting this, we made plans for a late morning start so that we could avoid wet brush. We picked a couple of low-elevation summits, because above about 11,000ft, the snow was not likely to melt today.

Peak 9,660ft

This summit lies to the north, above SR145 and the San Miguel River, about half an hour's drive west from Telluride. We turned off SR145 at Sawpit, taking the well-graded 58P Rd about a mile and half up to the 8,600-foot level where we parked. The outing would be all cross-country, covering about 3.5mi roundtrip, with a little over 1,000ft of gain. Our route would roughly follow John Kirk's track from LoJ, skirting south of private homes that occupy various locations of the mesa east of our summit. We found the route quite decent with none of the brushy conditions Whiley had found on a more westerly track. After crossing a drainage adjacent to the roadway, we climbed more steeply up through oak woodlands to reach the edge of the mesa and the start of the SE Ridge. We skirted south around a large home, passing by the edge of the property before climbing the remaining 600ft to the summit. The upper elevations passed through some lovely mature aspens, alight with the changing fall colors. We spent about two hours in reaching the summit, finding no register, and apparently not interesting enough for me to take any pictures from the top. Our return route was much the same way, with some shortcutting of our more circuitous ascent route out of the initial drainage.

Hasting Mesa

We drove further up 58P Rd, stopping a little short of its junction with Last Dollar Rd around the 9,100-foot level. This would leave us less than a mile southeast of Hastings Mesa's summit, clearly visible to the northwest. This is an easy hike, initially through open meadow with low scrub. Grazing has taken place here, but all the cattle we saw today were in the lower meadow on the other side of the roadway. The upper part is steeper and brushier, but no real bushwhacking. Near the top is a barbed-wire fence to go over. After cresting on the summit ridge, there's a final 300ft of easy rambling over to the grassy highpoint. No register at this one, either. There are nice views southeast into the Mt. Sneffles Wilderness, and south to the Wilson Group and the Lizard Head Wilderness. On the way back, we followed a decent use trail east along the fenceline, saving us the brushier portions of the ascent route.

Last Dollar Mountain

We decided to take the scenic Last Dollar Rd back to Telluride, a much longer, but more scenic alternative. Portions of this road can be sketchy in wet conditions, but it was mostly dry today. The road tops out at 10,663ft when it goes over a saddle between Last Dollar Mtn and Peak S 10. Eric was itching to get a last outing to Last Dollar Mtn, a summit I had done a few years earlier. I was happy to wait in the Jeep while he went up to do it, but in the end I decided I might as well join him since, "it's only half a mile." The first third follows a spur Jeep road we could have driven, but the last two thirds is steeper, all cross-country, following the NW Ridge. I made the summit in 25min, Eric arriving 5min later. We had a short rest overlooking the San Miguel River drainage and across to the Lizard Head Wilderness. The snow on the highest peaks and the fall colors at the mid-levels made for a picturesque scene. We would finish up before 3:30p, but it would take us another hour to make the windy drive back to Telluride. No wet boots today, much better than I had expected...


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