Monday, January 7, 2013

Chief Mountain

Pikes Peak
Apartment fever was starting to set in.  The last mountain I climbed was Patterson Peak in Idaho during Thanksgiving.  I came down with bronchitis and was out of the game for almost a month.  Since I have not been too active other than a few local hikes I knew I should start small so I decided to go with Chief Mountain.  Last March I was planning to add Chief when I hiked Squaw and Papoose Mountains, but the fluffy powder kept me from attempting Chief then. 
Chief Mountain is about 12miles away (by road) from Evergreen, CO.  The road is windy and today was covered in packed snow.  From what I found online the TH was not the easiest thing to find, as I found out today when I drove right by it.  I had my GPS so I marked a waypoint to help others in their future hikes.  The Chief Mountain TH is at: N 39°40.948' W 105°31.265'
I arrived at the TH around 9:45am and was off a few minutes later.  The morning was a little chilly, but I knew I would warm up quickly once the hiking started.  All the online trip reports I found said this was a steep trail and around two miles long.  I found both of these to be false.  I thought the switchbacks were cut very well and never thought it got very steep and my GPS tracked me at 1.47miles from TH to summit.  I loved the snow covered trail it was easy to follow; I did take a few pictures of the trail and the markers along the way.  For those of you that don’t hike much in the winter the route is often marked with two notches cut from trees along the trail, they do this every 50-100ft usually. 
Grays and Torreys
As I crossed another trail that goes around the mountain I saw how close I came to finding the true trail last March.  After a long traverse you arrive at the saddle between Papoose and Chief, from here the trees will begin to thin out and the views of the surrounding mountains start coming into view.  Once I got into an open space I took a few shots towards Grays and Torreys then noticed I could finally see Chief’s summit.  The sun glare was really bad so I took more of a mental picture than a physical one.  The upper part of the mountain started to lose the trees and the beautiful geology started to open up.    My pace started slowing but not because I’m out of shape for once, the rocks and the mountains were keeping my mind busy.
Me on the Summit
The sky was clear blue so I was antsy to get to the summit to hopefully capture a few good photos.  This was probably one of the best viewing days I have had yet.  From Longs Peak to Pikes Peak all was clear.  I didn’t check the time, but I imagine it was about a 45 minute hike up from the car.  I kept looking for mica in the rock and desperately wished I had a rock hammer, but I left all as it was.  After a snickers bar I took all the pictures that are in the attached photo album.  My new camera has a 42x zoom so I was able to get some far away shots for once.  Longs looks tempting….if I was in shape!
I took my time walking down, enjoying the clear sky as much as I could.  About a half mile down I ran into a couple on their way up.  Other than that it was a solo day in the mountains which is something I always enjoy.  This will be a good one for Kristi, so I look forward to coming back up here soon.

GPS Track
Date: 1/7/2013
Starting Elevation: 10,714ft
Chief Mountain Summit: 11,699ft
Total Gained Elevation: 985ft
Distance: 3.02 miles
Time: 1:34 moving, 1:07 stopped. 
Climbing Partner: Solo

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