Sand Mountain P300
McFaddin Peak P2K
Meaden Peak P500
Peak 9,218ft P500

Jul 24, 2021

With: Eric Smith
Ingrid Dockersmith
Christian Giardina

Story Photos / Slideshow Maps: 1 2 GPX Profile


Sand - McFaddin - Meaden

I was in Steamboat Springs, CO, visiting for 10 days with my pal Eric from New Mexico. He owned the condo where we were staying near the ski area, a very nice unit that would be a lot more cushy than the car camping I'd been doing for the past week. His sister Ingrid also owned a condo in the same complex, and she was in town with her husband Christian, on their first vacation in well over a year since the covid era began. Eric and I had last seen them at their home in Hawaii in the beginning of 2020. We had been on the Big Island for some peakbagging that Ingrid had enjoyed at least as much as Eric and I. We had planned this reunion in Colorado for some time now, meanwhile Ingrid had gotten her husband on the PB app, trying to encourage him up to a similar of peakbagging obsession that the other three of us had already obtained. Though I was the most unfamiliar with the Steamboat area, they more or less left it to me to concoct an agenda each day, a task I was happy to assume. Today's outing was about an hour to the north to visit a P2K and a few surrounding summits. There is some confusion on the naming of these peaks. The officially unnamed P2K is called "McFaddin Peak" on LoJ, "Sand Mtn North" on PB. The USGS topo map has it labeled as "Meaden Peak" but this is a mistake - that should have gone to the peak about a mile to the west. Sand Mtn is the other bonus peak about 2/3mi southeast of McFaddin. Kirk Mallory had posted a GPX track on LoJ for these three summits, and we downloaded and used this for a very similar outing.

The crux of the outing is probably the drive to reach our starting point. There are two Forest road, FR42 and FR480 that can be used, but both are rough going, and others have reported starting their hike from much lower on the mountain to the east. The Jeep had no trouble carrying the four of us up FR42, parking at a junction between Meaden and McFaddin Peaks. Starting off around 7:40a, we hiked FR480 clockwise around McFaddin Peak for about a mile to the Sand Mtn TH at the end of a spur Forest road. From the TH, it's another mile and change through forest and meadow on a good trail to the summit of Sand Mtn. There is a telecom installation, several very large cairns and open views, though it was very smoky today. In addition to the benchmark, a second, solar-powered antenna occupied the highest point.

We next turned northeast, descending the trail back to a saddle and then heading cross-country up and over intermediate Pt. 10,714ft on our way to McFaddin. Getting to Pt. 10,714ft is almost trivial, up open, grassy slopes, but the descent to the saddle with McFaddin was a huge talus field, not dangerous, but quite tedious. The grass slopes returned for the climb from the saddle up to McFaddin. It took us about an hour to get between Sand and McFaddin. There was a register left by John and Alyson Kirk in 2015, with about a half dozen other entries until our arrival.

Meaden Peak in another hour to the WNW, all cross-country from McFaddin. We headed west off McFadden, then northwest to reach the saddle between the two peaks, then west up to Meaden. No huge talus slopes on this one, but the descent off McFaddin was fairly steep, mostly through forest, then some talus at the bottom. Christian decided he'd had enough for the day and stopped at the saddle to relax while the other three of us continued to Meaden. There was lots of downfall in the lower half to slow us down. The summit is open to views looking west and north, with a steep cliff dropping off to the west. The views might normally be pretty good here, but the smoke washed everything out. The register was fairly old, left by Mike Garratt and dating back to 1989. The peak isn't nearly as popular as McFaddin, but there were plenty of entries over the past 32 years. We returned to the saddle where we picked up the road and Christian, then walked the remaining few minutes back to the Jeep, finishing up before noon.

Peak 9,218ft

We drove back down to Hahns Peak Lake and stopped for this last bonus peak before reaching the highway. Ingrid had picked it out from the PB app on the drive back down. We stopped along FR486 and climbed the peak from the southwest, much as John Kirk had done a year earlier. The route is steep to start, brushy in the middle, then steep, open slopes for the final push. It took us barely 15min to make our way to the top where we had open views, though still smoky. Hahns Peak was the most prominent peak to be seen to the north - we would visit that one later in the week. We were back to the Jeep before 2p and called it a day. Less than 7mi and 3,000ft of gain on the day - that's pretty much how our Steamboat peakbagging would go, leaving us more time for socializing in the rest of the day...


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For more information see these SummitPost pages: Sand Mountain - McFaddin Peak - Meaden Peak

This page last updated: Sat Aug 28 16:26:39 2021
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