Ascent of Hardscrabble Mountain on 2008-08-28

Climber: Edward Earl

Date:Thursday, August 28, 2008
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Hardscrabble Mountain
    Elevation:10402 ft / 3170 m

Ascent Trip Report

On CO-96, just 0.2 mile eastbound from the junction with CO-165, the highway enters the San Isabel NF. I parked at the wide pullout by the sign. Just a short distance eastbound, on the "north" side of the highway, from here is an obscure side road with a wire gate and a For Sale sign. I unhooked the wire loop holding the gate in place and continued my hike up the road.

After just 2 minutes of hiking, the road switches back to the right and immediately ends. I continued up the steep hillside in the open forest until reaching the crest of the ridge immediately N of the highway junction. (The sheer face of the roadcut precludes climbing directly from the junction.) From here the going gets easier as I headed NW up the crest of the ridge amid scattered pines. After a while I gained point 9513 and took a brief rest.

Starting around 9700', the slope up to point 10146 becomes steep and bouldery. I made one class 3 move, only to find soon thereafter that it wasn't necessary. When in doubt, go right where it is slightly less steep. I gained the plateau just SE of point 10146, then passed E of point 10146 about 50 feet below it. The terrain is open pine forest with occasional scattered deadfall which, with a little advance planning, does not ultimately impede travel. I headed mostly N to the junction of sections 26, 27, 34, and 35, then turned NW and skirted the NE side of the 10360+ summit that lies 0.3 mile SE of the true summit of Hardscrabble.

The topo map shows an open area on the S side of the true summit, but this is now is now occupied by a thicket of immature cottonwood. The trees are occasionally so close together that I sometimes had to bend them apart to pass through. The summit is bouldery, with small cottonwood trees growing out from between the boulders. There is a summit register placed in 2001, with just one additional signature from 2007. I didn't recognize any of the names in the register.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:2502 ft / 761 m
    Extra Gain:200 ft / 60 m
    Round-Trip Distance:4 mi / 6.4 km
    Route:S ridge
    Trailhead:CO-96 @ San Isabel NF boundary  8300 ft / 2529 m
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Open Country
Ascent Statistics
    Time:2 Hours 30 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Time:2 Hours 

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