Peak:  Gold Dust Peak (13er)
 Route:  Pika to Gold
 Range:  Sawatch
 Posted By:  blazintoes
 Date of Info:  07/10/2022
 Date Posted:  07/15/2022
Details

From the Fulford TH we hiked 5 miles up the Lake Charles trail with mosquitoes in full force. They followed us all the way up Pika. This trail reminded me of hiking up to Crater Lake but less people and moose. It would have been nice to hang out at the lakes sans skeeters but there were a couple brave tents up there.
We went up some blocky slabs and then Pika's west flank with endless talus that moved underfoot occasionally but overall was tolerable. We enjoyed the summit then scooted toward Gold Dust along the ridge. The centennial junkies went down and left and I went right around the first tower. Then some fun scrambling followed by a second tower where half went right and the other half left. The right variation seemed more fun. The left was hard to stay high on the tower with class 5 moves on loose rock. So we descended all the way to the base of the tower then clawed up scree back to the ridge. Really this was the worst part but the other climbers had fun on the right sunny side. Go right.

After the last tower is some spectacular ridge scrambling all the way to the summit of Gold Dust and it reminded me of the Music to Tijeras scramble in the Sangre de Cristos but a little better and I'm starting to think that the Sawatch are underrated. I hiked down Gold Dusts north ridge to look for the A10 wreckage and to study the route to Finnegan. It looks time consuming and probably best as a solo mission from New York TH to the north but there is a route from Finnegan to Gold Dust and it seems easier to go the opposite direction to up climb the difficulties but you will need a shuttle and also have to climb back up New York mountain.

An entire sweep from Fools all the way to Gold Dust also looks worthy. You could call this run Fools Gold.

I didn't find any airplane wreckage and we came down Gold Dusts big talus west face then down into Negro Basin and chose to beeline down the small creek between the two peaks which isn't always a good idea but it worked. We bisected the main trail and cruised back to the TH.

Then I solo hiked up to the Fulford Cave and I'll caution that if you're claustrophobic don't go because you hike down a narrow metal tube into the mineralized bat cave that is a cool 55 degrees. There weren't any bats unfortunately. Bring a headlamp.



Photos (click for slideshow):
#1#2#3#4) Pika#5#6#7) Holy Cross#8#9#10#11) Pika behind#12) Gold dust ahead#13#14#15) Bat cave


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