Peak(s):  Hayden Peak A  -  13,561 feet
"Electric Pass Peak"  -  13,635 feet
Date Posted:  09/10/2016
Date Climbed:   09/06/2016
Author:  Cool Hand Luke
 Bike 'n' Run of Hayden and Electric Pass Peak   

Looking out from the summit of Aspen Mountain ski area Hayden Peak always seems to garner my full attention, whether covered in snow with ski lines looking ripe, or in the peak of summer with it's summit jutting above tree line.

I tried climbing Hayden Peak before from Electric Pass, but was turned around due to a building storm and uncertainty of the terrain that lay ahead. Browsing this site I found no trip reports for the route to Hayden from Electric Pass, I hope this report helps others with the route and difficulties.

After waking up late, I made a rushed breakfast and gathered all my gear and cycling kit. At 10:30 AM I was heading out the door of my apartment and began the 14.5 mile ride to the Cathedral Lake trailhead.

At the trailhead I changed from cycling attire to trail running gear and locked up my bike. The first 3 miles clicked away fast, and before I knew it I was turning right to Electric Pass. The pass gradually grew steeper then began long switchbacks and in 1:16 I was standing on top of Electric Pass. I was a little hypoxic running to 13,400' altitude and began to turn to run up Electric Pass Peak when I thought I heard my name. "Hmmm, that is weird" I thought, but I turned around to see my friend Susan at the pass giving me the "were you seriously just going to run by me" look. I chatted with Suz and her friend, Chris for a few minutes and they joined me to Electric Pass Peak.

Looking towards Hayden from Electric Pass Peak

Susan and me on Electric Pass

Looking back towards Electric Pass and Leahy

From the peak Hayden can be seen in the distance, but it is about .8 miles away on mostly unknown territory. I made it to roughly the crux downclimb last year, but turned around due to weather. This year, I came prepared and had enough Rage Against the Machine on my MP3 player to get me through any weather.

The traverse is pretty mellow for the first 1/4 mile, but then there is 20 ft downclimb that must be negotiated. The holds on the downclimb are not great and leave a person placing much more trust in Elk Range rock than one ever should. I remembered from last year getting stuck on the same downclimb and that there is an easier way down around the corner to the right. I found the correct passage and was soon back in business.

Next I came to a ridgeline that fell off sharply towards the Conundrum Valley side. I tried to stay on the ridgeline, but soon realized I would have to descend a little bit below ridge proper on the Castle Creek side. The downclimb was really loose 3rd class on a narrow Elk ledge system and every handhold had to be tested. Soon enough I was able to continue traversing to Hayden and enjoyed a 3rd class downclimb on solid rock before some talus hopping.

The next part of the climb was tedious and involved sidehilling on rotten Elk talus, but it was cool to see how much the geology changed on the ridgeline. Soon I was back to a jogging pace and was nearing the summit of Hayden.

After the crux, now time for some talus

Looking back from the summit I could see a few climbers on Electric Pass Peak. I was getting pretty hungry at this point, so took a gel and soaked in the view for a few minutes. The traverse back was a lot of fun and was so much easier upclimbing the difficulties. After about 45 minutes I was back on top of Electric Pass Peak and proceeded to charge down to Cathedral Lake.

On Hayden, looking back towards Electric Pass, Cathedral and Castle. Crux is on the sawtooth section

Near the lake I ran into Susan and Chris again and we chatted a few minutes before I took off. About 1/2 a mile from my bike I looked up and realized the aspen trees were glowing yellow above me. Best time of year, and I took a bit to savor my favorite season.

Aspen grove on the way down

Soon I was at my bike and throwing on my bibs, helmet and shoes. My 1997 Eddy Merckx Ti road bike took the Catherdral Lake road like a champ, not as a surprise though, as it has made it down Capitol Creek Road 4 times! From the pavement it took me 25 minutes back to Aspen, soaring around corners and flying on the downhills.

Great day in the mountains, sometimes when there is not a trip report on a route you just have to go out and make one yourself.

The 1997 Merckx that passes carbon bikes like it's going out of style

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
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Comments or Questions
09/10/2016 08:38
Nice looking Merckx!

09/12/2016 11:50
when in doubt, crank the rage...

when you bringin the Merckx down to the bubble?

Cool Hand Luke
Crankin the Rage
09/12/2016 14:19
Definitely due for a Boulder trip, we have talked about Kieners by bike way too long!

Moving apartments and working 6-day weeks right now, may be November before I get a chance to head that way.

09/14/2016 09:55
I've heard of you through the proper channels of buddies and you have inspired me to perhaps check some stuff out this weekend. Thank you and I sure do like your purdy bike!

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