Ascent of Greenhorn Mountain on 2002-05-31

Climber: Scott Surgent

Date:Friday, May 31, 2002
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Greenhorn Mountain
    Elevation:12347 ft / 3763 m

Ascent Trip Report

I left Interstate-25 in Colorado City and followed state route CO-165 west into the mountains for 24 miles to the Forest Road 360 junction. From here it was another 22 curvy mountain miles to the trailhead. The road is mostly good, but it had long sections of washboard.

I arrived at the trailhead at 2 p.m. in cloudy weather. A good trail switchbacks up the side of the main summit ridge and put me at about 11,800 feet. From here it was a matter of hiking up and down three false summits and other small ridgeline bumps. Also, my map blew away! Fortunately I could see the summit and didn't miss the map, although I felt bad about littering.

Truthfully, tired after West Spanish Peak which I hiked earlier today, I wasn't too thrilled about these false summits, each having about 200 feet of drop and gain, sometimes steeply. I arrived to the real summit about 3 p.m. and stopped for a quick break, snapped a photo and visited with the ladybugs. I was kind of concerned about the clouds. Although not very heavy, they were puffy and localized on the summit, so a quick lightning bolt was not out of the question. I signed into the register and started down.

Coming back to the next main hump on the ridge, I saw a good trail that contoured around to the east side and saved me the hassle of climbing up and down that extra elevation. At the saddle below the final bump back to the main trail, I decided to go my own way cross-country down the talus fields to the west. Soon, I came to a trail that led down the 300 feet or so to the base of the talus. From the base of the talus slope, I made my own way down the grassy slopes to an old road, which I followed for a mile out back to my truck.

I relaxed at my truck, the other people having left already. I eventually got on the road and back to Colorado City and Interstate-25, where I headed to the city of Pueblo. While driving, a passing motorist flagged me and shouted "flat!" ... my right rear had a slow leak and had lost about half its air. I didn't notice any handling problems, but I am happy they pointed it out to me. I had to exit and change my tire. This is the third trip in a row where I've had to change a tire. I stayed in Pueblo that night at a Motel-6, and got the flat patched the next morning at a local Big-O.
Summary Total Data
    Elevation Gain:1500 ft / 457 m
    Distance:4 mi / 6.4 km
    Trailhead:10847 ft / 3306 m
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Unmaintained Trail, Open Country

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