Peak(s):  Pt. 12214
Date Posted:  06/12/2014
Modified:  09/17/2016
Date Climbed:   06/05/2014
Author:  huffy13
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 You have to start somewhere...Adventure for Ohio newbies!   

This report may seem pretty boring for most of the folks on this site. Heck, after hiking Mt. Sheridan just a couple of days before, this hike was kind of an easy one...even for me. But for my wife's cousin, her kids and my son's girlfriend this was an introduction to hiking, Colorado style, and it meant a lot to them to get some kind of summit during their first ever visit to Colorado. Plus, I want to do a trip report that they can look back on and reminisce about.

My original plan was to take the entire crew on Thursday to Fairplay to the Beaver Creek trailhead for a hike to the summit of Mt. Silverheels...it looked pretty doable according to a few reports here that described it...a little longer than I had desired, but most of the hikes in the Breck area that we were staying were too snowy for newbies and for us folks that are ill-equipped for snowy ascents. The south ridge of Silverheels looked pretty clear but a couple of folks in Breck on Tuesday and Wednesday mentioned that the creeks and rivers were all running very high. I know from seeing it myself that Blue River was flowing higher and faster than I have ever seen it and the South Platte stuff around Fairplay and Alma was really flowing high too...I started to think that Beaver Creek would also be running really high due to the quick melting snow and decided that maybe the standard trail or even the West ridge route might have to be looked at as an alternative.
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My hiking companions at the "trailhead" for the Mt. Silverheels west ridge route.

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and another group shot (but with me in it this time)

I ended up deciding that the West ridge route would be worth a shot due to being a shorter hike....bad idea. The trail was hard to follow, a lot of it was just finding your way up a pretty steep slope to avoid a private road. This did not bother me, my brother or my son and daughter too terribly much, but I knew this was going to be too hard for several first-timers. We decided to turn back after about an hour into the hike from the pull off on Highway 9, about 2 miles South of Hoosier Pass...it was about 8 AM or so by the time we got back to the car. We decided that we would try a hike that I had seen on the Summit County Explorers website, and that hike was the Hoosier Pass Loop. It was described SCE's site that it was a good hike for beginners and didn't have any exposure but still had a rewarding view of the surroundings. I have to say that the SCE site is quite a good tool if you want to find an easy hike for younger ones or newbies. My wife and I also took my niece and one of my nephews on the Lily Pad Lakes hike near Silverthorne...one of the easy hikes described on the site.

Anyways, we took off from Hoosier Pass up the "trail" at about 8ish. The trail is really an old 4WD road that slowly ascends toward Northstar Mountain. There was quite a bit of snow as soon as we started but it was never so bad that we felt the need to turn around and where there wasn't snow it tended to be pretty muddy.
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Lots of snow right from the start....

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Even when there wasn't snow the trail was pretty sloppy, but not so bad that we ever felt like calling it quits

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More snow drifted across the road that you follow for this hike.

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Hard packed snow on the road

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and more snow.....


Since it was early enough, and because the snow near the road was packed pretty well we never really had to posthole on the ascent.
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Crossing the snow was actually pretty fun since we were not postholing!
very quickly


Since it was only about 400-500 ft elevation gain from the pass until treeline the views started to really get impressive early in the hike.
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The views really started to get good just about 30 mins into the hike

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I believe it is Platte Gulch just to the North of Mt. Lincoln?


We even had a winged supporter follow us for a while until we hit treeline...if anyone can identify this particular bird I would like to know what it is.......
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Our winged buddy....


We continued up the road until we can to a spot on the road that had a large snowfield that completely blocked the road. The road was starting to turn SW from Pt. 12214 and hug the SE side of the slope up to the east end of Northstar. My brother went and scouted it out and let me know that the snow was very solid and without crampons or microspikes it would be risky to cross it without one of the members of our group slipping and ending up with an uncontrolled glissade down into the gulch....we opted to start up the grassy south slope of Pt. 12214 and find a more direct line to the summit.
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The view South from just below treeline

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Our route up the grassy slope began close to the patch of snow on the far right edge of picture

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Almost there.....


Once I was on the summit I realized that our cabin should have been visible!
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The group of houses and cabins that we were staying at was at the northern end of Hoosier Ridge's base

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Our cabin is down there somewhere.


The summit had really good views and after just a few minutes over an hour and a half, our entire crew was safely on the summit of PT 12214!!!! Very proud of our crew, especially our crew from Ohio (who had never even been to Colorado before this trip) and my son's girlfriend, Bryn, who was also new to hiking at this elevation.
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Looking back at the rest of our crew making their ascent.

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It's not a 13er or 14er, but I still loved it!

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Way to go, Chrissy!!!

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Our entire group posing on the summit of PT. 12214

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Travis Jr. and Bryn enjoying the summit and a well deserved break.


Several of our crew decided this was a great place to catch a nap....
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Nap time!


I got my summit selfie and was able to spot a couple that had passed us just before the big snowfield on their way up Northstar to ski down the Butterknife (at least I think that is what they said it was).
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A couple of folks getting to hike up for some skiing.

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Another summit selfie


Here are some pics of the views from the summit.
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The view of Grays and Torreys was quite impressive.

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There's the cabin! Our family that stayed behind did try to spot us while we were on the summit

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Great views down into the area around Montgomery Reservoir.

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Quandary, impressive as always still loomed far above us

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The View of Bross and Lincoln...been there!

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Lots of snow on Northstar and Quandary

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The view to the north

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Hoosier Ridge and Silverheels look very tempting.


We spent about an hour on the summit and decided to descend on an obvious trail that ran along the ridge towards the pass...I assume that this path is what makes this the "loop" that is described on the SCE website. The descent was uneventful except that we did end up postholing a lot once we got to about 12,000 ft all the way back and it took a lot of path alterations to avoid much of the snow.
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Heading back down.

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More of the path down before we hit the deep snow drifts.

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One more shot during the descent.


We got a good shot of the group at the pass marker....
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Our group...ready for a rest at the cabin


And a parting shot of Quandary from the Blue Lakes Road turnoff on our way back to the cabin.
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One more shot of Quandary...I am always amazed at how cool this mountain looks and that I have been to it's summit.




Now....my thoughts on this hike:

First off, without the snow, this is a hike I would have taken my 7 year old niece and my 10 year old and 6 year old nephews on. It is a wide, 4WD road almost the entire time....early June just surprised me with a lot of snow, but it worked out great as an introduction for our newbies. The views are great and if you are still feeling froggy after bagging 12214 you can always continue on to Northstar Mountain. This is a great hike for little ones later in the Summer...it gives them great views and lets them experience summitting a mountain. I did enjoy it also, but any day in the mountains...whether it be on a summit of a 14er or looking at the mountains from a cool mountain town....is a good day. Like I said at the start of the report, look into the Summit County Explorers website. It has really good suggestions for hikes other than summit hikes.



Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
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Comments or Questions
requist4
Bird
06/12/2014 23:38
Hi huffy13,
I believe the bird is a grey jay --- often called a camp robber.
They like to invite themselves to picnics (hint the name)!


huffy13
User
Thanks for the info......
06/13/2014 00:43
That makes a lot of sense...we had several that would show up around our deck at the cabin when we would try to eat a meal outside. They weren't scared at all to walk along the railing until they were just a couple of feet away from us. Even when we would shoo them away they would just flew a few yards away and slowly make their way back to the food.



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