Friday, July 24, 2020

Silver Creek to Point 12505

Silver Creek TH, Colorado Trail to Pass then unmarked trail to Point 12505
Trailhead Elevation: 9,446 ft.
High Elevation: 12,505 ft.
Distance: 8.85 mi. (my Forerunner 235)
Elevation Gain: 4,088 ft. (my Forerunner 235)
Start Time: 8:44am
End Time: 12:13pm

Trip Report:
This hike came about on a whim. Our initial intentions for this morning were to hit a 14er summit but the weather reports were pretty poor for above treeline. Couple this with a bit of a later start and a big summit was sailing out the door. Nonetheless we didn't want to lose a good day out in Colorado. We left the house, my brother and I, with the intentions of heading up the North Cottonwood trail to Kroenke Lake. As we headed up the road my brother mentioned trying a different trail today as we had ended up yesterday's hike on Mt. Harvard in the same spot here. So I mentioned the Silver Creek trailhead and the nice hike it offered. We opted for this and changed course.

This would be my third hike up the Colorado Trail from Silver Creek. My father and I hiked it in 2015 to explore it. I hiked it again in 2018 to gain Yale's East ridge and traverse over the mountain. So I knew enough of it to give my brother some head's up on the highs and lows of the hike. I warned him of the steep climb along the ridge from 9900 feet upward. That's a part of this route you just don't forget. But I also told him about the beautiful meadows just over 11,000 ft.

When I hiked this solo in 2018 it took me 1:35 to gain the saddle. My brother and I really pushed the pace today and made it in 1:20. My calves were really feeling it from the heavy pace. At the saddle we didn't have any immediate plans beyond enjoying the hike. We had briefly talked of whether Yale's East ridge would be a possibility but weather and time didn't make that a good look.

We decided to hike up to the first point on the east ridge just to have a look at the scenery, and then we'd likely turn around to head down. The weather over Yale didn't look great but we weren't in any imminent threat.

The weather over Mt. Yale at the beginning of the east ridge

Looking down to the valley

As we stood on that first point on the east ridge we looked across the saddle to the slope above the saddle and were intrigued to see a clear trail heading up. Recognizing this new opportunity it didn't take us too long to decide it was worth checking out.

Looking across at Point 12505

From the saddle, a quick few steps east through a couple trees revealed a very easy to follow trail.

There are two initial bumps on the ridge. The trail ascends up and to the right around the first bump with a notable cairn on the top. The trail thins out and nearly disappears on approach to the 2nd hump. The 2nd hump is a talus pile. We chose a route ascending right and around and this worked well.

The true summit of 12505 is just behind the point right of center

On a flat area around 12,250 on the ascent

From the flat at 12,250 if you look carefully there will be a trail leaving the flats which will take you to the summit area. This made for almost no route-finding necessary on the entire ascent to Point 12,505 from the saddle. We kept watching the weather the whole way. While there were some questionable clouds over Yale they really weren't moving and remained at a distance from us.

The final approach to the summit area

On Point 12505 looking over the Arkansas River Valley

Looking over to the weather over Mt. Yale

A look at the descent route. After spending a few minutes atop Pt 12505 we made for the easy descent back to the Silver Creek trailhead. Route-finding back to the saddle was fairly easy with the route visible from above and of course, there really isn't any way to get too lost on terrain like this.

I have a track and waypoints from the hike all contained in the embedded Google Map. Check it out and use at your own risk.

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