Hike around the south side of Mount Rosa

Hi Secular Hikers,

There will be a hike on Monday, May 12th starting on St. Mary’s Falls Trail, going around the south side of Mount Rosa and if snow does not prevent us from making a large loop, we will be returning on Seven Bridges Trail.  The starting elevation is about 7500 ft., the max elevation is about of 10300 ft.  We will be completing the hike by late afternoon, probably after 5:00 PM.

Some of us will be carpooling from the Woodmen Valley park-n-ride. To get there from Interstate 25 and Woodmen Road, go west to the first stop light, turn left (south) on Corporate Drive, turn right (west) at the first intersection onto Mark Dabling Blvd, take an immediate right turn into the parking lot.  We will be leaving this parking lot at 8:15 AM.

For those who want to meet the rest of us at the trailhead parking lot, it is located at the upper end of North Cheyenne Road at the intersection of High Drive and Gold Camp Road.  We will be arriving there somewhere around 8:45 AM.

There is a good chance that there will be snow and ice on the trail.  Even though we have not needed them in the last two Monday hikes, I highly recommend that everyone on the hike have micro spikes (available at REI).

Please bring enough water and snacks for the hike.

Please let me know if you plan on attending the hike and where you will meet us. If you change your mind, please let me know that also.

Rich [masked])

p.s. It costs me $72 twice a year to be a meetup organizer.  Would you please consider helping by sharing this expense?  If I receive about $0.50 per person (including guests) per hike or (to avoid a bunch of quarters) $1.00 per person about every other hike you attend, I would come out roughly even.

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  • Sean

    Wow, you guys are hard core going in the snow!!! I've done this loop twice with a Mt. Rosa summit included (with no snow!) and I've clocked about 15 miles with 4000 ft. gain.

    May 15, 2014

  • Gene O.

    Everyone, I've one last comment before I stop posting to this particular MeetUp.

    I checked the "Pikes Peak Atlas." As close as I can tell, based on Rich's list of the trails traversed, we actually hiked 13 or 14 miles. My pedometer said 18.3 miles, but it's calibrated for my standard gait length. With all the snow, rocks, and scree, most of my steps were somewhat shorter than average, hence the overestimated mileage.

    It was still a helluva long hike in challenging conditions. I'm glad and proud to have completed it!


    May 14, 2014

  • Gene O.

    I added photos to the photos section. Some of the photos are accompanied with tags and comments.

    Will and Rich: Nice pix.


    1 · May 14, 2014

  • John and Kym S.

    As I was donning layers, my spouse said is was crazy to consider this hike . . .
    We began our walk through a lovely Winter Wonderland with 3 inches of fluffy snow on the path and more gently falling. Above St Mary's Falls, we hiked in 4-6 inches. At even higher altitudes and nearly 12 hours later, during the descent, we were trudging through 8-10 inches of the wretched stuff. Winter Wonderland became a place to make this one wonder why she had put on hiking boots in the AM.
    Still, I thank Rich for discerning the path. He knows these mountains! I thank some lovely alpaca for the world's warmest socks. I thank HOTHANDS (warmers). I thank the full moon for lighting the distance traveled after sunset.
    This was a 5 stars hike for me - the longest and most grueling I've done. What a sense of accomplishment -we made it to Frosty's Park! However, this hike also makes my bucket list - been there, done that, and I may heed advice and have no compunction about bailing on future snowy days.

    2 · May 13, 2014

  • Rich B.

    This hike was quite a challenge. The 6 to 10 inches of fresh snow made the hike much more difficult. It takes a lot of energy hiking through snow for over 18 miles. The hike took far longer than expected because of the snow. We started up St. Mary's Falls Trail 624 going all the way to FR 381. We took Trail 626 around the south side of Mt. Rosa, then FR 379 to Frostys Park. We came down Pipeline Trail 668 then Seven Bridges Trail 662 back to the trailhead parking lot. We were hiking just short of 12 hours. This is the most difficult hike I have done in about a year and the most difficult hike ever for everyone else in the group.

    2 · May 13, 2014

  • Gene O.

    I was becoming rather exhausted by mid-afternoon. When I realized my situation, I ate the extra protein bar I brought along for this hike, and I dumped the water out of the reservoir with the frozen drinking tube, which lightened my load by a couple of pounds. Both of these actions helped give me a badly needed second wind. Because I had more energy, I could move faster and generate more body heat, so I warmed up.

    I neglected to bring sunglasses or fliptops on this hike. I got away with this mistake, but may have had an issue with snow blindness had the Sun broken through the clouds.

    My take-aways for doing very cold and snowy hikes:

    #1: Wear mittens, not gloves.
    #2: Wear gaiters and sock liners.
    #3: Insulate any reservoirs or other water containers.
    #4: Bring eye protection to protect against snow blindness.
    #5: Bring extra food.

    Hats off to Rich for breaking snow on the trail most of the day.

    1 · May 13, 2014

  • Gene O.

    18.3 miles traversed over twelve hours (yes, 12 hours), per my pedometer. Definitely a four-aspirin hike!

    I post photos and comments after I've gotten some rest.

    1 · May 12, 2014

    • Gene O.

      "will post."

      May 12, 2014

    • Gene O.

      Conditions. Cold! We saw a brief patch of blue sky while enroute to the trailhead. From that point forward, it was overcast and very cold, with light to moderate snowfall, and windy conditions on and near Mount Rosa.

      The Hike. It was too cold for gloves. Gloves with glove liners were barely adequate and my fingers were cool or cold all day.

      As we were continuously trudging through six to twelve inches of snow, my toes got very cold. Rich loaned me his gaiters, which trapped in some heat and may have kept me from getting frost nip or frost bite. Thanks to Rich for loaning me his gaiters, and thanks to Kym for putting the gaiters on my boots.

      The cold temperatures affected my Camelbak reservoirs. One reservoir's drinking tube was not insulated; it froze up by mid-afternoon. The other reservoir's drinking tube was insulated; it partially froze, but remained useable all day.

      May 13, 2014

  • Gene O.

    Rich, I'll meet the group at the park-n-ride.

    I will call you around 7 AM on the morning of the hike if the roads are rendered impassable by the predicted snowstorm.


    May 9, 2014

  • Gene O.

    Rich, I won't be traveling out of town this weekend. Separately, the National Weather Service is calling for six to twelve inches of snow for the north end of the county from Sunday into early Monday. My intent is to do this hike, provided the roads are passable on Monday morning.

    May 9, 2014

  • Gene O.

    Rich, for now, I'm accepting the RSVP. If I have to go out of town over the weekend for an interview, I'll rescind my RSVP no later than Friday evening.

    May 7, 2014

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