Peak(s):  Square Top Mountain A  -  13,794 feet
Date Posted:  06/01/2018
Modified:  06/04/2018
Date Climbed:   06/01/2018
Author:  overthe59hill
 SE Ridge 13er Square Top Mountain   

I soloed Square Top Mountain - June 1, 2018. I only encountered four others who were climbing the mountain while I was there.

Start time: 7:40 am; Arrive at the summit: 10:40 am - Round trip miles about 6.76 (my app said I went 3.38 to the summit, after which my phone died, so I doubled that for a RT distance).

ADDED JUNE 2: It's not a hard hike as far as the terrain. There's not the scree and vast boulder fields you encounter on most of the high peaks. The difficulty is the steepness, requiring OXYGEN, which is hard to get enough of at this altitude. So you have to go slow and turn into the wind to catch your breath. I was deceived by my calculation of the elevation gain. It's a 2,400' elevation gain in 6.5 miles round-trip. When I crunched the numbers I arrived at 783' elevation gain per ascending mile (2,400÷3.25). It's actually pretty level for the first two miles. The climb is mostly the last 1.25 or 1.38 miles. So when I recalculate, I think the gain was over 1,700' per mile! It took longer to hike than I thought it would.

Me at the trail head

It took me three hours to go up and two hours to get down.

The summit, with my gear. There is no elevation marker, but you know you're there when you can't get any higher! The pile of rocks helps too. :)

It was windy. I wore 4 layers (tank, tee, light flannel, windbreaker). That was plenty. I peeled off the windbreaker after reaching the lakes area on the way down.

Destination ahead - Square Top Mountain

It's a steep one, and the trail fades out a lot, but I could easily enough get a ballpark idea of where to go, and every so often lucked out in finding a little section of the trail. There are not very many cairns to assist with direction.

A little stream to cross

Almost to the lakes, there was a little stream to get across, with no nicely planted rocks to step on. I took a leap but dipped my right boot a little into the drink. I found a narrower, easier place to cross just a few feet to the east of this on my way back, without getting wet.

After crossing the stream I soon arrived at the sign to the Square Top Lakes, and turned left to climb the mountain.


There was only one snowfield to cross, shortly after turning left from the sign. It had been tracked through enough by the time I got there to make it easy for me to step in the tracks of others. The climb begins after getting through that patch of snow.

One small snowfield

From my hike I took a sit break at about 2.25 miles up and saw a gorgeous sight, with Mt. Bierstadt, Guanella Pass Road, and the lower Square Top Lake.

14er Mt. Bierstadt, Guanella Pass Road, and the lower Square Top Lake.

I knew there would be a false summit.

I see a couple others chatting on the false summit. I still need to keep climbing a few hundred more yards from there.

I arrived at the summit, 10:42 am.

The summit rock pile

I saw a frozen lake below, which I think is the upper Square Top Lake.

The upper Square Top Lake seen from the summit

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
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Comments or Questions
06/06/2018 16:41
Is this Gale? if so what's up it's Grant. Looks like super weather.

06/11/2018 13:20
I'm Gail.

Oh! Tina's husband? Howdy! Yeah, I'm Bob's wife.

06/11/2018 14:13
Yepers€¦.Sorry for spelling your name wrong......

rob runkle
06/12/2018 05:12
Anything over 1000ft per mile is tough. Yikes on the steepness in the last miles.

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