Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Hagar Mountain

Hagar Mountain
A few weeks have passed since this climb took place. Kristi and I were expecting our daughter to arrive on November 20th, so in my mind I had time to get out for a short climb that was local to the Denver area. As it turned out a day after this climb (November 13th), Kristi and I were at the hospital with a baby on the way, so I was cutting it a lot closer that I thought. Since then life has changed in many ways and time has become hard to manage. I did not want to forget about the details of this trip, so I thought it was important to get this TR out before too much more time has passed.
Morning Light on Snictau
Cole and I decided on Hagar Mountain, this is close to the Denver area and we would be in cell service for the majority of the route; these were requirements due to the due date of the baby. We met at Cole’s place around 6am and were up to the TH by 7am. This route heads up Dry Gulch near Loveland Ski Area. To get to the TH take exit 216 off of I70. Coming from the east, take the exit and take the immediate hairpin turn onto a dirt road access road that heads to the east along the freeway. Follow this road till reaching the gate, maybe about a mile down the road. Park here and this is considered the TH for this route up Hagar. We were the first car to arrive and were off on the trail by around 7am with a hint of darkness. We both had headlamps, but only used them for maybe 15 minutes.
The first part of this route follows a dirt access road, after about a mile the road turns into a trail. I have attached my GPX track that may be useful with finding the route. As you make your way the trail will start to fade, at around the 11,000ft contour, take one of the may trails heading up the steep south face of the draw making your way above the trees. Gain about 600ft vertical and then you will be above tree line and can start a traverse to the base of the mountain. This traverse can go pretty quickly, if you are following my GPX track stick to the lower track, you will make much better time. The upper track we used for our ascent and scrambled around on some rocks, but we had to lose and regain some considerable elevation in the process.
Hagar's Summit
The traverse will bring you south around a rib that heads up towards the Citadel, there is draw that holds a body of water around the 12,200ft mark, from here the traverse will end and the climb up the gulley will commence. We chose a line that made its way to the middle point of the mountain, it is easy to make out from the near the 12,000ft contour. Some of the rock was loose and sandy like kitty litter, making our way a bit to the West we could stay on more firm ground and made good time on the ascent. The route is steep and gets rockier the further up you get. Just above the 13,000ft contour we came onto the ridge via a small saddle between a couple mounds of rock defining the summit block. The USGS map shows the summit block being to the west of the saddle we ascended, but the block to the east was much higher.
From the saddle to the summit is mostly class 3 climbing. The exposure wasn’t bad and the foot and hand holds were plentiful. This scramble isn’t long and takes only 5-10 minutes to complete. It was a fun ending to the ascent. The wind was howling on the summit so we took just a few minutes before making our way back down to the saddle to have lunch.
Me and Cole at the Saddle
Today we were lucky and got a clear blue sky day with comfortable temps. I knew this would be my last climb for quite a while with a baby due in another week, and it turns out that it is Cole’s birthday on Sunday….so it’s a good thing we brought two summit beers to take it all in. We took a long hour break taking in the view and shooting the shit while we drank our beers. It was a good time, and possibly one of the best mornings in the mountains this year.
It was time for us to get on our way, so we started making our way back to the TH. We made good time getting back to the car and didn’t see anyone till we were almost back to the TH. That is always a good sign that you chose the correct mountain in Colorado. Happy climbing everyone!

Date: November 12, 2016
TH Elevation: 10,585 feet
Hagar Mountain Summit: 13,220 feet
Total Elevation Gain: 2,772 feet
Class: 3
Distance: 7.0 miles
Moving Time: 4hr 0min
Stopped Time: 2hr 20min

Climbing Partner: Cole