July 25th 2015
Rosalie Peak – Park County, CO – 13,575 ft (4,138 m)
Pug Ryan’s Peacemaker Pilsner – Czech Pilsner – 5.8% ABV
The weekend was shaping up to give me an early morning window to go hiking one day. Wonderful! Had to be back early, and still don’t have my fitness back to where it was before the surgery and kids. I figured an easy bet would be to try at hit Rosalie Peak finally.
You see, I have seen this peak many times – it is climbers left as you get to the saddle on Tanglewood Trail. Beyond that even, two years ago a buddy and I went out with it being a soft target for the day. It wasn’t in the cards then, but hopefully it will be now.
I set my alarm for 3:30, about the earliest I can recall unless I was headed for the Sawatch Range. My goal was to be on the trail and moving by 5 am. I missed that mark by a whopping four minutes. Off to a good start.
Having done this trail enough times, I felt like I didn’t really even need my headlamp for the first 20 minutes or so before the sun started illuminating the way. Its a great hike, but you can read about that in the previous link. And much to my liking, they have reworked the upper trail after you clear the forest so that instead of slogging straight up the mountain, it has some nice wide switch backs. Not only does this make it a tad easier on the legs, but the erosion on the old trail was getting horrendous.
I reached the saddle just about the time the sun was finally making an appearance. We left the trail and headed up the ridge to the peak. The terrain is beautiful, a lot of alpine flowers and small rock outcroppings. There is no trail here, but it’s easy enough to just keep going up. With nothing to obstruct your view, it seems like every step you take leads to better and better views around. After 20 minutes or so of this the steepness starts to pick up, with the last 1,000 ft or so of gain being a pretty solid push for me.
After one false summit, the pitch lets up a ton and you are a few hundred yards from the summit. Once there, we were treated with great views of the standard front range: Mt Evans (and its road that cuts the landscape), Bierstadt, Sawtooth, Grays, Torreys, Longs, and Pikes. What’s more is just how far we could see that morning with the clear skies. Mount of the Holy Cross stood out like a sore thumb, and we could see all the way into Denver as well. It felt like a great gateway viewpoint.